As I sit and prepare to write this I am filled with so much love and joy! I'm so very grateful for my little Anneliese and for the joy I feel as I think about her! I feel so very grateful for Jake and all he truly went through that night for us! I'm so very blessed to have such an amazing husband! I'm also so very grateful for Jillian and our parents and the love that encompassed us all that day!! Heaven has never felt closer!
I had gone to bed on January 22, my stomach felt tight and uncomfortable, but this was not an uncommon thing so I definitely didn't plan on her arriving the next morning! At about 3:40a.m. on January 23, I woke up feeling very uncomfortable and wondered if I had slept wrong. I got up to check on Jillsie, and as I got back into bed I realized that the discomfort I woke up with was increasing in intensity. I tried to fall back asleep for about 5 minutes but ended up waking Jake feeling very nervous that the pain wasn't going away. I had convinced myself that it wasn't contractions while my very wise husband started monitoring the "pain" I was feeling. We spent the next 20-30 minutes trying multiple different things to hopefully stop the pain, while Jake continued to monitor my contractions which were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting anywhere from 30-60 seconds. Jake gave me a quick blessing, in between contractions, and I felt that everything would be OK. It was around 4:40am. that we noticed I was spotting and decided it was time to call the doctor. The doctor on call said he wanted me to come in. Honestly, I was still thinking that we would go in and they would say it was a false alarm and we'd come back home. Yup, complete denial on my part.
Jake quickly got together things for us all and got Jill's in her coat and shoes while I sat in a panicked and dazed pain, and accomplished walking to the car! :). We had to deliver at a hospital about 50 minute away because it was a high risk pregnancy. So, as we pulled out of our neighborhood behind a state trooper and pulled up alongside him at the stoplight, Jake rolled down the window to get his attention and said, "My wife is in labor and we have to deliver an hour away at the hospital, do you provide escorts?" The trooper said, "We don't provide escorts…just drive safe." Jake drove faster than he should have to get us to the hospital in record time! 28 minutes!! (Of which I am very grateful for at the time:) I'm sure that Anneliese rounded up ridiculous amounts of angels to get us to the hospital safely! :)
We pulled up to the Emergency Room valet, which was closed, unloaded, left the car running and had the quick check-in at 5:36a.m. We were quickly wheeled up to our room in labor and delivery. My Doctor happened to be there for another delivery and so she helped us through most of this process which was such a blessing. I feel like the next 40 minutes were a bit of a blur. I know that I was feeling intense contractions and KNEW I was in labor. I also knew that I was trying to hold it together, at one point, because Jillsie was sitting on the couch right next to me. I was also aware, soon after that moment, Jake took Jill's out to 'play' with some other nurses until my mom arrived. As Jake left, I remember thinking I just wanted it to all be over and cried to one of the nurses that I couldn't do 'this' anymore. A feeling that I have felt guilty about countless times since, because I feel like Anneliese arrived and passed away before I had processed that she was actually coming.
After this moment, it felt like everything sped up. Asking for an epidural again, getting my IV in and meds to help with pain, breathing through contractions, wishing it was over, and finally my water actually broke. At that moment it was like instant relief. Pain subsided and the anesthesiologist was brought in to finally do the epidural. My doctor left while I was getting ready for my epidural, we all thought things would slow down now. Anneliese, on the other hand, had her own plan. As I was getting prepped for the epidural my contractions came back immediately and were in full force. My back had been numbed and the epidural was about to be threaded and I knew we didn't have time. I told the anesthesiologist that we were done and I needed to push. It was the most intense pain I had ever experienced. I was terrified, tired emotionally and physically, and knew that we might have a lifeless little girl in our arms to say goodbye to soon. Every fear, crazy emotion and dread for that moment seemed to overwhelm me and I wondered if I could be strong enough to keep this up. And then, as if in an instant, she was here. The second she took a breath and was in my arms, all fear was replaced with the most intense peace and love. She was perfect! Just 62 minutes after being admitted to labor and delivery, we were holding her in our arms. At only 2lbs 2oz and 13 inches long, she was perfect. She was just like her big sister in the fact that she couldn't keep her tongue in her mouth, for being 9 weeks premature, she still had chubby little cheeks on her which we were so grateful for.
While the nurses finished up with me, Jake held Anneliese and sent one of the nurses out to get Jillian and my mom who were still in the waiting area. Just a few minutes later, Anneliese got to meet her big sister and grandma. We were perfectly calm, as Anneliese, 9 weeks premature, fought for every breath to spend 45 incredible minutes with us. It was so peaceful and calm. I don't know how else to describe it…it was everything the labor and delivery HADN'T been:) Suddenly, the pain was gone, and all that mattered in that moment was us being together as a family. I just wanted Jillian, Jake and Anneliese close to me, all together, celebrating this miracle together.
My dad arrived in time to see and hold Anneliese just as she took her final breath, just 45 minutes after taking her first.
Jake's parents arrived about 10 minutes later and were able to hold her little body, and still feel of the sweet peace she left with us.
This entire experience has strengthened our testimonies of Heavenly Father's love for us and his great plan of happiness of which we are all a part. We are so grateful, and humbled, by all of our family and friends who prayed diligently with us that we might be able to meet our Anneliese. Heavenly Father and Anneliese answered those prayers, and we felt Anneliese wanted us to feel of her love and gratitude. This little angel managed to not only survive a natural, breech delivery, but was strong enough to be with us as a family for 45 wonderful minutes!