We were admitted into Room 11 at St. Paul's Hospital's Maternity Ward where we would spend the next few days labouring, delivering, and recovering. We were assigned a nurse for labour; Nurse Cornelia (whom we later found out is a Christian) was a God send. Her calm demeanor and supportive attitude gave me [Jonathan] a whole new perspective on the importance of nurses in the health care system.
At 10:30am, Karen's doctor ordered that Karen's contractions be augmented with artificial induction - by introducing more oxytoxin into her bloodstream via an intravenous tube. Although this was great for speeding up Karen's labour, the downside was that Karen needed to be hooked up to the fetal heart rate monitor full time.
Doctors are super-obsessed with the fetal monitor heart rate during delivery as we soon found out. Perhaps the funniest story that I can recall was when Karen needed to go to the bathroom. Because her fetal monitoring probes were wireless, she was able to make it to the bathroom despite being attached to the monitor. However, while she was taking care of business, one of the probes slipped and began measuring mother's heartrate instead! (The mother's heartrate is usually much slower than that of an unborn baby.) It was quite the scene to watch as nurses, doctors, and residents rushed into the room wondering what had happened to the baby's heart.
On the same token, I felt extremely blessed to have a team of medical professionals that were so caring for their patients. Later that evening, the baby's heartrate did decelerate at one point, and though there were quite a few tense moments, I had complete confidence in the doctors.
Karen's labour continued until about 10:30pm that night with mild success. She was only able to maintain approximately 5 cm of dilation (at one point peaking to 6-7cm). Finally, after approximately 24 hours of labour, the doctors determined that a C-Section delivery would be best. So, at 12:22am on Wed. Dec 21, 2005, Karen gave birth to Erich, a healthy 8 lbs, 12oz baby boy! Thanks be to God for a healthy and safe delivery. Thanks to all the doctors, nurses, and surgeons who were able to deliver our baby with such steady hands despite the late hour.
Although a C-section at the end of a hard and arduous labour seemed like the ultimate "unwanted outcome", we soon learned this was a bit of a blessing in disguise. Because Karen had been labouring for so long, her body considered the birth much more "normal" than a scheduled C-section and thus her breastmilk came a lot easier than expected.
We, however were exhausted! It is quite difficult to express in words both the joy, elation and exhaustion we felt after this experience. While waiting for Karen to recover from her surgery, I sat there with little Erich wondering how our lives were going to change now forever. Moments of inadequacy and uncertainty mixed in with emotions of feeling priveleged to be able to raise this new human being to know His Heavenly Father. Uneasy thoughts.
But, I rest assured in God's faithfulness and His promise that
"...in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8:28b-30 NIV)