I would like to tell you about the extraordinary care we received at the hospital when I delivered Elliott. My Doctor (Dr. K) was not on call that early morning, but....another of her associates (Dr. M) was there to meet us in Labor and Delivery Triage. He was kind, informative and sensitive to our situation. We needed that. I asked a lot of questions.....can I have an epidural? I've never delivered a baby...what would this be like?? He explained that I was dilated to almost three and Elliott's little foot was already coming down. We knew from our appointment at the University of Washington just two days earlier that our little Elliott was not viable. They would not be able to use life-saving measures for him after he was delivered...we would have needed to wait until he was at least 23 ideally 24 weeks gestation....he was only 19 weeks. For health reasons this was not an option for us. Keeping my cervix open for four, possibly five weeks was just not going to happen.....the risk of infection was too great and with E's little foot coming down that would also cause many problems. I think it was at the moment that I truly chose to cling to my Jesus. A sense of calm came over me. I knew that without my Jesus I could not do this. When I asked Dr. M how long this would take he thought I would deliver on Friday. That was a FULL day away from where we were. I didn't like that idea too much. Waiting to deliver a baby who is full term that you will bring home with you is one thing...knowing you'll be waiting that long to deliver your baby that is moving on to heaven is another.
We got all checked into our room and I had all the standard care....IV inserted, blood pressure taken -- let's talk about this. Can I tell you how much I don't like those automatic blood pressure taker things?? I'm sure there's a technical term for them. But, let me tell you when you are in the midst of labor and this thing is taking your blood pressure automatically every 15 minutes...it's not too fun. It literally squeezes your arm so very tight and you have to remember to straighten your arm just so they can take it. Crazy! Anyhoo...My guess is at this time I was probably having contractions....just not feeling them. The Dr.'s explained that when your uterus is this small you can't feel them and they don't register on their monitor. HMMM. Aaron literally fell onto the extra "Daddy" sleeping bed and began lightly snoring. I could not for the life of me sleep. I know it was adrenaline and everything else going through my mind. I prayed....laid still and felt Elliott still moving in me....I was thanking Jesus for Elliott and his life....I was praying for my husband. He is such a sensitive, loving big Teddy Bear. I knew this would crush him.
This is where I will tell you about our nurses...Catharine & Lauren. Oh.my.word. Such sweet, caring, kind women. They were with me for the entire day. They have 12 hour shifts so from 7am-7pm these two cared for me. They answered more questions for me and explained what it would really be like to deliver our sweet Elliott. I signed a consent form for an epidural...so everything would be ready when the time came. They encouraged us to celebrate Elliott's life, to hold him, take pictures and rejoice that we had a little boy. They told us about "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep". An organization that volunteers to come in and take pictures of babies that go on to live with our Jesus in heaven. We didn't want to take pictures ourselves...that would have been just too hard. But, to have someone else come in and professionally take pictures of our Elliott would be so special. We would cherish those FOREVER. Catharine & Lauren also explained that an organization called "Mary Madeline Project" makes gowns for babies from donated wedding dresses.....not only do they make gowns, but...blankets as well. When Elliott is born, they would bathe him and put him in one of these gowns. Precious.Perfect.Special WOW! What an amazing gift.
At 4:50pm on Thursday, October 13, 2011 I gave birth to our son Elliott Aamodt Benner. He weighed 10.4 oz and was 9 1/2" long. He was perfect. He had all his fingers and toes, long legs and big feet....and the thing that will stick with me forever...his sweet button nose. Even now I can picture it! I'm so glad. From day one this little guy was a huge surprise and he certainly didn't disappoint with his delivery. Dr. K was in another room and Catharine knew I was getting close....she had run out to get my Dr. as I was bleeding a bit too much for their liking. It was then that Elliott decided to make his appearance. Catharine delivered Elliott. Daddy and I cried and cried. What a tremendous journey this had been. It was at this point that I knew I could weep and rest in Jesus' loving arms with my husband. I had done my job as a Mommy. I had delivered my sweet boy. Catharine, Lauren & Dr. K looked over Elliott, wrapped him up and presented him to me. Aaron and I marveled at this little guy created by our Jesus. Elliott was bathed and put in a gown with a sweet yellow and cream blanket wrapped around him. The photographer came to take pictures of our sweet boy. I can't wait to see those. Amy Van, came to spend some time with me as Aaron took a breather and went to get us some real food. Amy, thank you for loving on my sweet boy. For not being afraid to help place that sweet hat upon his head. That blessed me so much as Elliott's Mommy.
I would be forgetting something if I did not also thank, Alisa my night nurse & Michelle who was with me the next day. Incredible. Thank you Pastor Kurt for coming to see us on this extraordinary day. And our dear friend Sean Taylor for coming to support my husband. We love you both so much...it is sometimes not comfortable to be in a situation like this with people you love. Kurt & Sean we will never forget what you did for us that day!
Phew...this is a marathon post. If you are still with me....bless you!! The video above tells just one story of a family touched by "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep". As I watched this I can so identify with the photographer, Jessica. Elliott was here. I will never forget him.