The past couple of weeks have consisted of me attempting to coerce Leslie into thinking that trying to move her scheduled C-section up a few days wouldn’t be that big of a deal but that it would be awesome from a tax break and health insurance perspective (considering that Leslie has already had two hospital visits this year). Of course all of this was in jest, but it was hilarious when one of Leslie’s friends made a comment on her Facebook page about how the tax break is nice for a December baby.
Wednesday all of that changed. Christmas Eve started out as a fairly normal day for us, we didn’t have any big plans, we weren’t going to do anything special since we had already had a Christmas party the previous Saturday; shoot, we didn’t even have a meal planned, we were still debating on whether or not to have leftovers… again. This, in itself, was a bit unusual for me since we have traditionally celebrated Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve. Nevertheless, it was a typical day for us that involved me working out in the garage (building a workbench) while Jack napped. Our big meal occurred at lunch time and consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone.
That evening I was giving Leslie a hard time about making a new tradition where we don’t open gifts until the day after Christmas. I found this hilarious since Leslie had been very impatient to open the gifts we received in the mail as they came. Finally I relented and told her we could open a few of them that evening. As Leslie walked across the room to get a gift she stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me and said, “My water just broke.” Incredulously I just looked at her and watched as her face turned to horror as she realized it wasn’t water, rather it was blood. Now, I’ll try to spare you the gory details but it is important to understand just exactly what we were dealing with. I cannot claim to be an unbiased observer, but same quantity of blood coming out of any other person is usually indicative that a major artery has been cut and would be cause for great concern; the fact that it was coming from my pregnant wife rocketed my concern into the stratosphere.
I called Leslie’s doctor’s office and described what was happening where I was then told to come into the hospital. At this point we had a decision to make, go to the public hospital about 4 blocks down the road or go to the hospital Leslie was supposed to deliver in, about a 30 minute drive away. I explained my dilemma to the doctor and he proved to be most unhelpful as he vacillated back and forth weighing to pros and cons of each. Finally, I half made the decision for him by once again going into graphic detail about the amount of blood streaming from my wife, a quantity that had only worsened while we were on the phone. The local hospital it was. I threw Jack in the car and then went back into the house to get Leslie and we headed to the ER. By the time they got her onto the bed and found the fetal heartbeat Leslie has somewhat stabilized and had mostly stopped bleeding. Within 30 minutes the ER doctor decided that Leslie was stable enough to be able to make the ambulance ride over to St. Peter’s, the hospital we were supposed to be at.
I kissed Leslie on the forehead and told her that I would meet her there; I needed to go back to the house, grab a few items for Jack, and then drop him off at a friend’s house (thank you, Christmas party connections). Within 20 minutes I had dropped Jack off and was on my way to St. Peter’s. I got to the hospital, parked the car, and walked through four different departments before I finally found someone who could tell me where my wife was. As I walked into her room I overheard the nurse tell her that they were prepping the operating room now and she would be having her C-section within the half hour. Wait, what? We went from opening gifts to having a daughter five weeks before we originally expected her within three and a half hours. Ayla Jordan Filippo was born at 2120 on December 24th, 2014. She was five weeks early and weighed 5lbs 14oz. If she had gone full term she probably would have beaten out her older brother in terms of size. She really does not look like a premature baby, while she doesn’t have the fat rolls Jack did when he was born, she definitely does not have that skeletal appearance premature babies often do. Apparently Leslie and I breed them big.
After they stapled Leslie back up and let us look at Ayla in the NICU for a few minutes, they took us to Leslie’s recovery room where we were able to get settled for a longer stay. Knowing that there were still some things I needed to get from the house (phone chargers being the biggest one), I decided to make the trek back; at this point it was well after midnight. I got back to the house and got everything packed up and did my best to soak up the water in the basement (yep, it’s still raining and my French drains still aren’t functioning properly). By the time I was ready to head back to the hospital it was after 0200 and I was starving; I decided to hit a 24-hour McDonald’s on the way. It didn’t dawn on me until after I drove up to my second McDonald’s why they were closed, despite the fact that they had these huge signs saying “24-hour drive thru.” With all that happened I had completely forgotten that it was 0200 on Christmas Day. I couldn’t even find a gas station open… sheesh, what’s wrong with these people?
Both Leslie and Ayla are doing very well, although Ayla is in the NICU that is simply the standard process with an infant born that early. This early delivery has presented its own set of problems, because while we had someone who was willing to watch Jack overnight we don’t simply want to leave him with someone for extended period of time… for their sake, not ours. The trouble is compounded by the fact that it is flu season and the hospital has implemented a policy of no visitors younger than 12 beyond the waiting room. This means Jack cannot go into Leslie’s recovery room, if she wants to see him she has to come out into the waiting room. Nevertheless we’re working through it and we’ve had enough local support that I’ve been able to address the issue in the basement (I think) and still make a couple of trips to the hospital to visit Les.
To everyone who has kept my family in your thoughts and prayers, thank you. Despite the craziness surrounding everything that has happened the past couple of days it is clear that God’s providence has reigned. The lesson that has been at the front of my mind and the challenge throughout this whole ordeal has been, whatever my circumstances can I still say that it is well with my soul? Even as I drove to the hospital I fell back to those words. Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.