Monday, January 05, 2009

The Birth

Getting the pictures posted from the birth was all that I could do last time because it brings back all of the emotions that Noah and I felt that day, but I realized that I never shared what happened once we arrived at the hospital. Stephen and Lori did a great job at posting updates for all of you who were praying for Magdalena. Not only did they work the blog, but they sent and answered emails for us. They kept us from having to separate our attention from Magdalena.

I prayed that God would give me a girl, but knowing his sense of humor I thought that I might just end up with a boy. My middle sister, Jennifer, had the first boy in the family in April 2008, so I knew NOTHING about boys. Also, I had what I believed to be the perfect girl name, Magdalena Grace. Noah and I didn't have to think or discuss names. I learned of the name years before I met Noah, and when I mentioned it to him we both knew that is what we would name our daughter.

I feel very strongly about abortion, and I never wanted there to be an emergency in the delivery room where there would be any doubt of my wishes. Although Noah would know it would be my desire, I didn't want him to have any weight put on his shoulders. I don't mean it morbid to think of these things, but I wanted to be prepared. On the day I found out our baby was a girl, Dr. C told me that I would need to see a lawyer about our wishes, which Noah and I would soon be doing. After the sonogram is when Dr. C told us of "marks" that he saw, and he referred us to see a high risk doctor.

The next visit would be when Dr. C, knowing my strong feelings about my baby, would have to say that the doctors would focus more on my health than my baby's. He would not encourage us to seek out a lawyer because of Magdalena's Trisomy 18. He said this is in a way for both Noah and me to know that he cared for the baby, but we had to view this pregnancy differently. He did not push us to end the pregnancy like so many doctors do to mothers of T18 babies.

Over the months we discussed every possibility, and when our last check-up before Magdalena's arrival came I was obviously nervous. As usual I cried because Magdalena was still breach which meant that a C-section would be necessary. It wasn't the operation that made me nervous, but that I would not be able to hold my daughter immediately. I had read that most of these babies live for such a short time...what if I was too sedated to remember her?...would I ever be able to hold her?...etc. Dr. Crews assured me that if the situation looked grim he would let me meet her and touch her. (You don't normally do this in a C-section because of infection possibilities and to keep everything sterile.)

The morning of August 6th came and after showering, Noah handed me a box that contained a necklace that had Magdalena's name on it. We cried together. We were so scared. As you can tell by so many of my posts, my family is very close, so they arrived at the hospital at 6am just like I did. They hooked me up to an IV, had me sign all of the papers, introduced me to Magdalena's nurse (it would only be later that I would really realize how incredible Dianne is), and had me prepped for surgery. Dr. C came in one last time to do a sonogram to see if Magdalena was breach, and she no longer was! It was a prayer answered! Then, we had to make a decision. An induction could be futile because I wasn't even slightly dilated. I could go home and wait, but in the mean time she could flip around again. She had been constantly moving around because there was a lot of fluid and she weighed so little. Or we could go ahead with the C-Section. Of course, I was crying not knowing what would be the best decision for Magdalena. I thought waiting would give her more time to grow, but I was already prepped for surgery, and I couldn't imagine the stress of returning home after trying to be ready for this day. Of course I was crying, and Noah began talking with Dr. C to see what he would do. He said that he had been afraid we would ask this question, but he told us what he would tell his wife if she was in this exact situation. He prayed with us and left for Noah and me to say "goodbyes".

My heart was racing, I heard the nurse saying this, but I asked for no more sedation. I don't know who it was but she rubbed my head and spoke soothingly to calm me. I needed to calm down. I just knew that I wanted to remember this moment. When they showed Magdalena to me for the first time I barely touched her foot. I thought she was dead, and that they just hadn't told me yet. I really began to cry. They took her to give her oxygen, and I could finally hear her crying. Andrea kept assuring me "Julie, her color looks good" "She is crying" while trying to take pictures at the same time. I had wanted Noah to remain with Magdalena the entire time. Then, they brought her swaddled to me to meet for the first time. Oh, my heart was in love. I succumbed to the sedation shortly after that while Noah took Magdalena to meet the rest of her family and all those waiting to meet her.

I would later learn that she hadn't been breathing well when I had met her that first time. Noah and I had decided early on that we didn't want any drastic life saving measures done for her. We only wanted comfort measures taken so that she could enjoy whatever time she had on earth. We knew the statistics and the problems she would likely have. Oxygen is one of those comforts. I didn't want a machine to do the work for her. Every family must make the decision that is best for them, but for us that was it. I knew that if we did everything in our power to fight knowing her syndrome it would be for selfish reasons to keep her with us, not for her comfort.

Gradually she would be taken off of the oxygen, and today she breathes on her own. She is a little fighter. A fighter that has lived 159 days when she is "incompatible with life". She has done more in those days than I have done with mine. She has changed more hearts, and has pointed more to Jesus than I have in mine. She is not an accident. She is fulfilling her life's purpose, which is not things that we as people put emphasis on, but what God ordains as important.


  1. Thank you for sharing that day with us. I continue to pray for you and your sweet little girl.

  2. 159 Days!! I just love reading that and seeing what a miracle she is today. I have been following her story since before she was born and I just love your little girl. May 2009 be filled with more incredible days and weeks and months with this precious baby. She is a blessing to so many. Me included.

    Love and Hugs, Laurie

  3. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Thank you for sharing with us. I have been reading for a long time. Your baby girl is just so precious. I love reading about her.

    159 Days what a testament...

  4. Julie I can only imagine what you and Noah were going through on the day Magdalena was born. I was praying for you then, and I have prayed for you, Noah & sweet little Magdalena daily. You are such a blessing to me and such an encouragement through the words in your blogs. I love seeing each picture you post and I especially love the one of her sleeping and holding her little chubby arm above her head. HOW PRECIOUS SHE IS! Tomorrow will be her 6 month birthday! What a blessing she is! Give her a little kiss for me! Love and prayers always!

  5. Anonymous3:29 PM

    It's amazing that tomorrow she will be 5 months old! She is such a miracle and blessing - I know you're so proud. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. What an amazing story. She is a miracle and God picked the PERFECT parents. You are doing awesome.

  7. I follow your blog regularly. Jennifer Rutledge is my daughter and she has a link to your blog on hers. Jenna Claire and Magdalena have the same birthday, Magdalena being born 16 minutes after Jenna. God Bless your family. Ours was blessed twice on Aug. 6th 2008, Jennifer survived her scarey delivery, and Jenna was healthy.

  8. Thank you for letting the world see the gift of your daughter. You can see God's grace through her.

  9. Anonymous11:50 PM

    Thank You!

  10. Catching up on the blog today. It amazes me how even walking with the Lord, He has shown me things I did not know about him in this situation. I will never forget gathering with Cheryl (who would be there at the birth), Rachel and Anna the night before. We sat in Cheryl's car in the parking lot of the restaurant and just prayed for safe delivery, that Magdalena would breathe and cry, and that she would turn. I dont know why God caused her to turn. But I do know that we were all amazed when we found out that she did -- even though y'all chose the section. How wonderful for y'all to have a choice and a say in the matter. God is gracious and good and has answered so many prayers along the way. I'm reminded of that every time I see or think of sweet Magdalena...

  11. Thank you for sharing the story of the birth of your amazing Magadalena. I celebrate with you and continue to pray for your beautiful family. Thanks again for sharing your perfect gift with all of us.

    She is so beautiful and getting so big! I praise God for each of her 159 days and ask Him for more than we can think or imagine.



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