We are planners. We like to sit down with our calendars and maps and schedules, thinking through how to make it all fit and get it all done. When we plan a trip to the USA, Nathan and I spend days making lists of who we need to see, where we need to go, and what we need to do in the time we have. Then we map it out. We carefully plan our route through each city and state to maximize our limited time and resources. On occasion, we may look at eachother and say “if we hit a glitch, we’re up a creek. It’s packed in so tight.” But in the end, we keep it tight… otherwise we miss events or people that we just don’t want to miss!
This trip was no different. Slightly longer (we generally only leave the field for about 6 weeks… not 10), but that was because we felt it was REALLY important to spend some time in California visiting Nathan’s family. We haven’t done that in 6 yrs… it had to be priority this trip! I’m glad we took the time for a CA adventure… it was truly wonderful to spend time with Nathan’s family.
On our way back to Colorado is when we hit the glitch. We drove on Sunday (April 29) from LA to Kingman, AZ. We stopped at an RV park there, hooked up, made dinner, looked at the plans for the next few days and went to bed! Normal day, normal ending, just another dot on the calendar between two places.
4:40 am, April 30, I wake up feeling something strange, and needing to use the restroom. That is when I saw the blood. My heart was pounding and I rushed back to bed, woke Nathan up, and flipped on the light trying to assess how bad it was. Thankfully, it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of blood, but I was on my second contraction in less than 4 minutes. We laid there for a minute, debating what to do. Unhook everything, wake the girls, and try to find the hospital ourselves? We had no idea where we were. Unhooking takes a while. The contractions kept coming… 3 minutes from one to the next. By now I was back under blankets and trying to be still and calm, but I was shaking uncontrolably. We decided to call an ambulance. One of us wondered aloud “how much will that cost? We have no insurance.” and the other one of us said “It doesn’t matter. We have to do what we can to protect the baby.” I can’t remember who said what.
Within a few minutes there were flashing lights outside, and I got up and walked to the gurney waiting outside the trailer door. Nathan grabbed a clean hand-towel for me, in case there was more bleeding. Once in the ambulance they covered me with a heating blanket to stop the shaking, started an IV, and off we went… leaving Nathan and the girls behind us. Even driving at ambulance speeds, it took a solid 20 min to reach the hospital… I am so glad we called for help.
Between the ambulance and the hospital room, I felt a large gush a fluid… there went the amniotic fluid. My heart sank lower as I tried to recal what day it was and exactly how far along I was. Only 23 weeks and 2 days. The nurse checked me in, hooked up 2 or 3 more bags to my IV, and warned me that I was about to feel horrid but we had to stop the contractions. I remember thinking “I don’t care what you have to do… just make this nightmare stop and keep my baby safe.” The next thing I know, I can’t open my eyes and my skin feels like it’s on fire. People are coming in, asking me to sign papers, and I can’t lift my arm or grip a pen. They said it doesn’t matter… just make a mark. So I do, with my eyes half-shut. When I tell the nurse I feel really nauseous she says “I know. That’s the magnesium. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” I zone out for a few minutes, just trying to breathe, and then I hear a Dr’s name. I open one eye and he waves. I close my eye again and try to focus on what he’s saying… something about active labor but not far progressed… something else about not having the facilities to handle me and they have to get me out of there… the last thing was about a helicopter. It’s on it’s way.
I think I called Nathan as they wheeled me to the helipad. Told him we were going to Phoenix (a three hr drive for him) and I’ll call him later. A moment later, we were on the helicopter, shooting straight up into the air and flying over the AZ desert. I was strapped to a gurney, on my side, right next to the window. The view was beautiful and I tried to enjoy my first-ever helicopter ride. I remember telling God multiple times on that hour flight “I don’t know what’s going on. But I can’t do this without You. Just be close to me and I can handle this.” He had never felt closer.
(Original post and comments can be found here.)