By: Jennifer Murray

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 2

As I said in Part 1 of Hudson’s Birth Story, it still feels a bit surreal to write this story even though we are starting the 4th week of Hudson’s little life. This week was supposed to be his due date, but God had other plans…

So the middle of the night drive to St.Vincent Women’s was very uncomfortable. I felt like I was constantly contracting and couldn’t feel when they ended or started, which made me think the contractions weren’t “real” and I was just experiencing a very irritable uterus.

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They sent me straight to triage and began some of the check-in process bedside. I was hooked up to the monitors as they tried to track my super active little guy. The resident came in to access me, and gave us the news that I was “already in active labor”. I was shocked because my pain level was not high, and I just didn’t expect going into spontaneous labor after making it 32 weeks (and measuring into the 50’s) with our quad pregnancy. However, as we looked at the monitor my contractions were in a very predictable pattern, sometimes as frequent as every 2 1/2 minutes!

They began IV fluids to try hydration as a means to try to slow the contractions and put off delivery. At around 5am my on-call doctor (My doctor happened to be on vacation out of the country) moved me to a labor and delivery room so that I could try and get some rest and hold me off until at least later that morning when there would be all hands on deck staff-wise.

Things seemed to calm down significantly once I was in my room. Have you ever tried to REST on a gurney? Impossible!  We had more space, quiet, and comfort. Brad was able to doze off for an hour or so, and my discomfort improved. By 6:30am my contractions had slowed to every 5 minutes, decreased in intensity, and there was even talk of going home.

At 8:45am two of the doctors on staff as well as 2 residents came in the door. I was expecting an either “let’s watch you until this afternoon” or “go home, take it easy, and come back if anything changes” message. Instead, Dr. Bivens, simply came in and said “9:30”. It took us both a few moments to realize he meant a c-section at 9:30 – in less than 45 minutes! He didn’t want to risk my uterus rupturing due to my transabdominal cerclage, and he felt strongly that my contractions were not going away. (He was right, they started right back in and increased intensity immediately after he made his rounds.)

Everything went into fast forward mode of surgery prep and calling/texting family (who had no idea we were even in the hospital). We really had no time to process it at all. There was no alone time between Brad and I to talk or emotionally prepare. (I’m sure many of you have felt similarly with an emergent c-section situation.)

I remember telling Brad that I just didn’t want to do it (have the surgery). I was dreading the anticipation of the preparation, the surgery itself, and the recovery to follow. I was scared about going early, even though we should have been in the clear at 36 weeks.

I remember walking down the OR hallway in our blue surgery attire, and stopping to pray with our God-send of a nurse before I went in to be prepped. Sadly, I don’t remember one word of Brad’s prayer, but I remember holding his hand, hugging and kissing him goodbye, and feeling peace that God was with us. I knew we were in incredible hands, and I resided to trusting God’s timing.

All of the doctors and nurses in my delivery room were phenomenal.  Everyone was in great spirits and full of encouragement. Brad was escorted in just as they started. I was so extremely thankful to be able to have him in the room with me.

Although Hudson had been head down at our last appointment, he had moved all over the place since then, and they had a little bit of difficulty getting him out. He was (and is) SUCH a mover! It was so good to hear his cry and know he was outside me.

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Brad went over to check him out and was able to hold him next to me. I could not contain my emotions.

Instant love. Relief. Joy. Healing. Intense Thankfulness.

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I got to look at him and take him in, unlike the boys’ delivery where they were rushed off to a resuscitation room. It was over 48 hours before I was able to meet them, due to my own health being so critical. So needless to say, I couldn’t have been happier to have him in the room with me, as they completed my surgery, and continued to look him over.

And when they had me all put back together, there was this moment.

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All 6 lbs and 15 ounces of him in my arms, where I wanted him to stay forever, but where he would be taken from shortly…

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By: Jennifer Murray

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 1

I’m still a bit in shock that I have this story to write, with all of its uncertainties and unexpected turns, but God’s faithfulness is woven into all the details. He knew. He wasn’t surprised or shaken. He had us in His hands the entire time.

So let’s rewind just a bit to the week before the birth day. We had just celebrated a great 35 week appointment. Hudson looked great on the ultrasound (although his size was starting to be a bit daunting when I thought about how big he might be at full term). My health checked out great as well and we scheduled a c-section date for Tuesday, July 12th. It was a super exciting day! We had an end goal, and no reason to believe we wouldn’t get there. After all, my uterus had already endured a quad pregnancy stretch, I had a transabdominal cerclage still in place, and everything was still going “vanilla”.

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We celebrated as a family with a lunch out at Bub’s Burgers. Overall, I was doing well for the third trimester. I was definitely feeling it, but reminded myself often that even the tough days were nothing in comparison to my 3rd trimester when I spent hospitalized for 4 weeks with the boys.

The night of turning 36 weeks pregnant Brad and I had a kid-free night, thanks to some super thoughtful friends. We spent a night at a hotel nearby and relaxed. (We even joked that it was within walking distance of two hospitals if I went into labor!)

The boys had a great time with their best friend, Henry, while Brad and I had some great conversation and time off together. We exchanged silly face photos between the boys. (Little did I know that I would be needing that crazy expression in about 24 hours.) 

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I was able to float in the pool both days, which felt so great on my body. I went home feeling the best I had felt in weeks! I even commented on the way home to Brad about how relaxed my body felt.

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That afternoon I rested in our quiet house, while Brad put together a Rock’n Play that we had picked up the day before. That evening Brad and I went to pick up the boys. On the way home I felt a lot of discomfort, which I chalked up to being in the car too long and the bumpy country roads. When I got home I took a warm bath and laid down, while Brad put the boys to bed.

At around 10pm as I laid on the couch, I knew I was having several contractions, but didn’t track them or realize there was any pattern. I assumed they were Braxton Hicks that would come and go as they had been daily. My stomach had been upset that afternoon/evening so I felt like that had triggered them.

As we went to bed around 11pm, I decided to track them on my app since they hadn’t calmed down. I couldn’t really decipher when they were starting or ending, if they were truly contractions or just irritability, or if they had a predictable pattern. However, I counted around 12 in the hour I monitored. As much as I wanted to deny them, I knew we needed to call into my on-call doc to get his input.

We called in, and there was absolutely no hesitation to have us come in. I had a hospital bag started and a list made, so I had Brad throw some things together purely “just in case” they decided to keep me overnight for observation.  I was reluctant to head to triage, because I wasn’t really in any pain, just discomfort, and I hated to go in just to be monitored for a couple of hours. However, I knew better than to stay home and take any risk.

By now it was around 12:30am, and we had to find someone who would answer their phone and come over to sit with the boys while they slept. Thankfully our friend Karen got the message and headed over right away.

I left the house uncomfortable, a little nervous, and more worried about missing a night of sleep than truly being in labor…

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By: Jennifer Murray

Thoughts From The Bedside of the NICU

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Hudson Bradley Murray came unexpectedly and eventfully on June 22 at 10:01 am. It’s been a complete whirlwind ever since, and we are just now trying to find a rhythm after his arrival. Hudson gave us a very scary and uncertain first 72 hours, and I’m still processing all that transpired in those first few days. I want to record it while it’s still fresh, and plan on doing so over the next week or so.

The good news is, after a 10 day Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stay, Hudson is home and doing very well. We were overjoyed to take this boy off the monitors and into the carseat for his ride home. The picture above is from his discharge day July 1st! 

His beginning of life put so much into perspective for us, and continues to teach us. God has been so faithful as the Giver, Healer, and Sustainer of life! We give Him the glory for preserving Hudson’s life and choosing to allow us to bring him home.

Here’s some of Brad’s thoughts written a few days into Hudson’s life, written from his bedside in the NICU.  I’ll be sharing more of his birth story in upcoming posts. 

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Thoughts from the NICU at 11pm (Tuesday, June 28, 2016): 

I’m watching my 6 day old son’s chest rise and fall in the midst of beeps, dings, and tones mingled with preemie baby cries from all around the room.  Just three days ago I was forced to recognize the reality that Hudson Bradley Murray’s future was far from certain.  Would he come home with us?  Would the ever mounting list of problems finally stop? Would he ever turn the corner? 

As Jen and I were dealing with the surprise delivery and even greater surprise of intensive care, we were again reminded that all of our lives are not far from the edge of death.  We are foolish to think that we’re in control.  As many amazing doctors, nurses, and miraculous medical technologies as we have been blessed with, they are mere tools to slow or stop the progression of disease, prematurity, and any other health issues.  Ultimately, as Hudson progressively got worse, they began using these tools, but sometimes it’s not enough.  These nurses and doctors will be the first to tell you that they are limited, and sometimes nothing they try works.  Sometimes very simple problems become huge unexpected issues, other times seemingly insurmountable problems are overcome through these interventions.  The bottom line seems to be the fact that our God continues to decide matters of life and death, even in the 21st century when technology gives us other illusions.

While this truth can at first be disarming because it reveals our lack of power, we have also found great comfort in it.  There is no small detail or mistake that is going to take the life of our child before God intends.  There is peace in knowing that while God makes no promises about the length of any of our lives, we can trust Hudson to his care.

As we now with hope, look forward to Hudson’s joyful homecoming, I’ll take with me the knowledge that our lives here are temporary and and brief.  I think this fresh reminder of truth will truly shape how our family lives as the 7 of us move forward. 

As we will continue to seek wisdom, we will live life without fear.  Fear of injuries to our kids.  Fear of illness and death.  Fear of financial future.  These things are all in the hands of our Sovereign Creator.  And for those of us committed to his kingdom, this is truly not our home.

~ Brad Murray

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