By Tonya Stevenson
As I had watched 2017’s big eclipse it seemed the Holy Spirit whispered comfort into my soul for the days ahead…sometimes close up trials block the light and, in our anguish, we are blinded to His eternal grace and purpose.
Within a few minutes, Tasha, our daughter, called informing us she was having contractions every minute with fifty-five miles to the hospital on eclipse jammed roads with no cell service. The baby is only 28 weeks and in the 24% weight wise. Arriving at the hospital, Tasha was flown to Denver.
In Denver on medications and bed rest they kept Tasha’s contractions at bay.
Relieved they are at this facility specializing in high risk pregnancies, we waited while thanking God for each additional day before delivery. Tasha’s one allowed activity was to soak in the pool, there she found the maternal fellowship and friendship she had missed having her child so prolonged from her peers; plus, these women knew the roller-coaster of high-risk pregnancy.
One doctor explained, “It appears that your baby’s head slipped into place shutting off the loss of amniotic fluid, which has kept your fluid in the low normal range. Furthermore, you appear to have closed back-up. That is very rare, but it does happen in maybe 2% of all pregnancies.”
The pool soakings brought Tasha’s amniotic fluid back to normal. The Doctors were amazed, and greatly encouraged. Tasha was still having a few seizures which seemed to be trigged by contractions, leading the Doctors to conclude there was no chance for a natural delivery. Tasha kept praying – she wanted to be there to welcome her only child.
When the doctors ordered medicines to stop the seizures, Tasha warned them, “The medicines only increase my seizures.” They insisted as the seizures could harm the baby. The drugs put Tasha into a near constant seizure pattern, it also caused her liver enzymes to spike dangerously. Tasha was already borderline preeclampsia. However, Tasha had now reached the thirty-three-week mark, no longer considered in need of the critical care at Denver – she was released to go home.
Tasha called her clinic to set up appointments for her prescribed weekly preeclampsia test and the baby’s ultrasounds. The receptionist said, “That is only for high-risk pregnancies. You aren’t high-risk, are you?”
Frustration was an understatement! Tasha was in no place to keep the appointments let alone fight for them. Phone calls, lights, noise all set off or kept her in seizures. “Joey knows best how to take care of my seizures,” Tasha assured. Which was true, she never had seizures growing up. We prayed and waited for those days when she could call, anguished by
her suffering and reminded ourselves that God was good no matter how this ended. Everyday increased the baby’s chances, but what about Tasha’s?
Two weeks later Tasha’s seizures tapered enough to let her friends throw her a long-awaited baby shower, which I attended. Tasha loved it, she looked better, but joked about needing help up the stairs.
Three days later Tasha was found to have severe preeclampsia, rushed to the hospital, put on a magnesium IV, and induced. The nurse, a friend of Tasha’s sympathized, “O Tasha, I am so sorry this is going to make it such a long hard delivery. It may take three days.”
“I am going to have this baby on your shift, have been praying I would.”
“Well, I will be on tomorrow night,” the nurse responded.
The magnesium relaxed an exhausted Tasha enough she slept over two hours, woke up with hard contractions, pushed about fifteen minutes and delivered her cherished boy just ten days before his due date. Harris James weighted 5lbs 11oz. For two hours his parents marveled over their perfect little miracle. Too soon… their celebration was shattered by pain so intense the max of morphine would not touch it. The nurse immediately called the Rapid Response Team, “This woman just delivered her baby without any pain meds, her pain tolerance is very high, something is really wrong.”
They were prepping for emergency surgery, until Tasha began to hemorrhage out of her nose and mouth, to slip in and out of consciousness, waking to mouthfuls of blood clots, unable to speak. The Doctors pumped in platelet transfusions explaining, “Her liver is about to rupture. If it does there is
nothing we can do.” Tasha not only had preeclampsia, but also one of the worst cases of HELLP Syndrome: H-hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), EL-elevated liver enzymes, LP-low platelets count. It would be seven days with no visitors before she was stabilized.
When finally we saw our daughter, Tasha told us, “I am glad I did not know how bad it was going to be, but with the way it has ended – it was worth it all.” She nestles Harris close – close as her omniscient Heavenly Father has brought Tasha to Himself.