Dearest Friends and Family,
Sara and are beside ourselves with happiness to announce the birth of Elizabeth Joy Harms! She came at 4:02 PM on October 14th, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 19 inches in length. We had hoped to call many of you and announce our news, but the days since her birth have been somewhat consumed.
Late Thursday night, just as Sara was chastising me for not having made enough progress in our birthing workbook, she started having very faint contractions. Within 3 hours, they were growing in strength and happening every TWO minutes. We hurried to the hospital and even though we were in earlier labor, Elizabeth's heart rate wasn't acting "optimally" and they admitted us for observation. Six hours, a few contractions and an epidural later, Elizabeth's heart rate suddenly plummeted and before we could react our room filled with people in scrubs preparing to wheel us into the operating room for a crash C-section. Just as the "wheeling" began, her heart rate popped back into the normal range and surgery was averted! We (i.e. Sara) labored another six hours and then it was time to push. The bed was being set up for that purpose when Elizabeth's heart rate suddenly plummeted again. This time it didn't come back up.
Within seconds, the room filled with scrubs a second time, and eight minutes after the trouble started, Elizabeth was delivered by a very dramatic forceps procedure. A very skilled team of pediatricians whisked her away immediately and did something that got her heart goingagain and got her to take her first breaths. She perked up enough that Sara got to hold her for a few brief minutes before they took her off to the Neonatal ICU for the testing her heart and aorta needed. Since then, Elizabeth has remained in the ICU under very close observation. The tests on her heart confirmed that surgery to fix her aorta is needed, and they plan to perform the repairs this Wednesday. In the meantime, she'll remain in the ICU for observation and medications to keep her heart working properly until fixed. But overall, the doctors are very happy with how she's doing otherwise. The ICU has unlimited visiting hours and we've been making great use of them. Naturally, it's very hard for us to see our daughter attached to lines and tubes when we desperately want her home with us.Some major praises!1. Elizabeth survived not one, but two, very scary moments before delivery.2. Aside from the aorta issues soon to be fixed, she's doing very well.3. We live two blocks away and will be able to visit more frequently than typical.4. Great family and nearby friends who have already proved a tremendous blessing.5. A mother-in-law willing to stay with us and to help me care for Sara.
Some things to pray specifically about:
1. Rest and a quick recovery for Sara (and me), so that we have energy for surgery.
2. Rest and a quick recovery for Elizabeth so that she's ready for surgery.
3. Rest and good judgment for the surgeons who will be involved in her surgery.
Of course, there's much more to share that will have to wait until we have time. For now, we're hunkering down, getting as much sleep between ICU trips as we can and preparing for the big surgery on Wednesday. Our phones (home and cells) are technically on, but the ringers are mostly off. So feel free to try calling. We'll only answer if a) we're here and b) we've got the emotional and physical energy to chat.We love you all immensely and thank you for your concerns and prayers. If you're just dying for more information and can't reach us, feel free to call our tremendous point person, Abby Haynes.
Off to hold the baby.
Matt, Sara, and Elizabeth