The Birth Story of Eliana Ruth Swiney

6/26/01 - This has been an AWESOME Day!!!!! This morning around 1:30 A.M. Jennifer woke me up and said "Something happened!" She had leaked about a tablespoon of pinkish watery fluid. I got up and looked some information up on the Internet about this type of thing and could not find anything exactly like it. Also it seemed like there was to little fluid to be a broken water. We called Margie Spence our WONDERFUL midwife. We first apologized for waking her but needed to ask her about the discharge. She said it could be a broken water but since Jennifer was not having contractions or cramping she said we should just go back to bed, monitor the situation and call her if anything else happened. Jennifer continued to leak so we prayed and were able to finally get to sleep about 4:00AM although Jennifer was complaining of cramping before we were able to fall asleep. 

    Jennifer woke up at around 6:30AM to some painful cramping so we called Margie again and explained the situation. Margie said it seemed like Jennifer was going into Labor and since it was so early, only 35 weeks, it was not safe to have a home birth so she suggested we go into the hospital to have it checked out. She also said that the Hospital may give her something to stop the labor. We got dressed, prayed some more and then took off. We had no idea what hospital to go to so we asked the Lord to guide us. We ended up at The Medical Center of Arlington in Arlington, Texas off of Matlock and Mayfield around 9:30AM. We went straight to the Labor & Delivery area of the hospital and a nurse grabbed Jennifer up, got her changed into a hospital gown and put her up in a nice room. The nurse checked Jennifer and said she was dilated to 1 or 1.5cm she also checked to make sure the water had broken and it had. She also hooked Jennifer to a machine that kept track of Her heart rate, Her Blood Pressure, Her Respiration, and the strength of the contractions. It also monitored the baby's heart rate.  She was set up with an IV and put on antibiotics to guard against any infections the but the antibiotics also made Jennifer a little sleepy. A few minutes later our friend Debbie Roberts from out Church showed up. 

   I had to go get Jennifer registered at the hospital then I returned while Jennifer was getting a sonogram to check the baby's position. The nurse told us that the doctor said that he was not going to stop the labor but was going to let it progress naturally since the water had already broken. It was not long and the doctor came in to explain things. The Doctor was great! Since we wanted a home birth with our Midwife both the nurse and doctor wanted us to have a good experience so they tried to accommodate us to the best of their ability. The Doctor was very thorough in explaining things to us. Some of things he said were that babies are born at 35 weeks quite often and there was a less that 10% of any complications. He also explained that Jennifer may need something to help the labor along. I asked the Doctor exactly what needed to happen for her to have as natural as possible a childbirth. He told us that she needed to have progressively stronger contractions to dilate her cervix and that infection could be a problem even though he had her on antibiotics. So we prayed for her contractions, dilation and against infection. 

   At around 3:00PM or so Jennifer had started to contract pretty strongly and they remained 5 minutes apart. Debbie remembered that Margie had some other women walk around to help labor along so I asked the nurse if we could go for a small walk around the L&D area. She said that the Doctor has very strict rules and probably would not but she agreed to ask anyway. Before she left she checked Jennifer again and said she was dilated to 3 or 4, her cervix was paper thin and the baby's head was right there. We prayed for God's will to be done and asked for favor with the Doctor and hospital. The nurse came back in and said we could go walking for 30 minutes but she had to beg the doctor. (This was the first in a long string of very tangible answers to prayer!) We went walking around the area all the while Jennifer was having contractions (Yes people stared but Who Cares!!!!) After 30 minutes we went back in our room and got Jennifer back in bed. 

   Jennifer then started to have some very strong and obviously painful contractions so Debbie and I prayed for her and tried to encourage her. Jennifer was having a hard time and struggling to keep it together. The nurse asked her if she wanted anything for the pain. Jennifer said possibly but we needed to talk about it and pray about it. I went out of the room and told the nurse that Jennifer had told me she wanted natural childbirth and that she did not want drugs. I also told her that we did not want something that was going to make the baby groggy after her birth. I told her that I would not stop her from giving Jennifer drugs if she asked for them, but please do not encourage her to use them anymore. She reluctantly agreed and told me that I could not possibly know what she is going through. I knew she was right but I stood firm. I tried to ask Jennifer to help make a decision but it was to late, the sleepiness and the contractions had overtaken her and she was not able to pay attention long enough to answer me. 

   A little while later the doctor came in and noticed that the baby's heartbeat was getting higher almost to 200 beats per minute (the normal is 130 to 150) and Jennifer was also now dilated to 7cm. He said that he may need to give Jennifer something to help the contractions because the baby was in distress. He also said that it could be caused by a low grade infection that could not be detected. I asked him if we could have 15 minutes to pray for this as long as it was not life threatening and he agreed. (Does that sound like a normal Doctor? Or could God be influencing the situation?) About that time Margie showed up and helped us to pray and encourage Jennifer. A couple of our other friends Luther and Monica were visiting at the time as well. We all gathered around Jennifer to Pray and before we even started I laid my hand on Jennifer's shoulder and I felt something like electricity hit me in the back of the neck and shoot through my body and into the arm that was laid on Jennifer. I immediately looked up at the monitor and the baby's heartbeat dropped to 150 beats per minute! We prayed against infection once again and that Jennifer would be able to endure and be strong. The doctor returned 30 minutes later and was surprised to see the baby's heartbeat had returned to normal. He also checked Jennifer and she was now dilated to 9cm. He said that she did not need anything to help with contractions and that everything was moving right along faster and better than he'd expected. He ordered that the room be prepared for delivery and that a neonatal transport cart be brought into the room. 

   Jennifer's contractions started to get stronger than ever. Margie looked deep into Jennifer's eyes and told her that she know exactly what she was feeling and experiencing. She assured Jennifer that she was going to be able to do it and that she would be fine. Jennifer focused right at Margie's eyes and started to contract again. I'll never forget the transition that took place here. I'll never be able to put out of my mind that expression on Jennifer's face or the way that Margie had calmed her down and was able to give her such confidence amidst such a painful place. Jennifer began to struggle with this contraction and Margie was able to get her to relax through it by breathing in through her nose slowly and out through her mouth slowly "blowing away the pain". It was Awesome! Jennifer had been able to endure it without losing focus at all. From then on Margie spoke blessings and Grace over Jennifer and we all prayed between the contractions. Margie was the glue that held Jennifer together. She is so gifted in this area, it had to be the Holy Spirit working directly through her to have such a powerful effect on Jennifer. After about 1.5 hours of this the room was ready and the Neonatalogist and her nurses were standing by. 

   Margie asked if it was ok to start pushing and the doctor said yes! She told Jennifer that during the next contraction she was going to sit up and push as hard as she could! Here it came and there went Jennifer I helped to support her by pressing on her back and she pushed very hard for a count of 10. Then she relaxed took one deep breath and pushed again. The doctor said he could see the baby's head. Jennifer rested for what seemed like a minute or so then started to contract again. Margie said ok Push!. The nurse told Jennifer to grab her legs by the back of her knees and pull as hard as she could while she pushed so she did. Margie and I had Jennifer's hands and were holding her up by her back until she was done pushing for another count of 10. Then again she rested for just one breath and pushed hard again. This time the Doctor said the baby was crowning! Jennifer rested for what seemed to be only a few moments then started again. This time the baby's Head came out and the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. The Doctor quickly cut it and told Jennifer she could relax for a moment then immediately I felt a squeeze on my hand and Jennifer sat up and pushed again and out came the rest of Eliana! She immediately started to cry and was whisked over to the warming neonatal bed and the team of three Neonatalogists were working on her. I ran over and watched at they were using tubes and aspirators to suck out fluid from her lugs, nose and mouth. They needed to take her to the N.I.C.U. (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I gave Jennifer a kiss on the forehead and told her I loved her and she did a great job then I went with Eliana. Margie and Debbie stayed with Jennifer. 

    The Neonatalogist told me that Eliana was having a little trouble breathing and may have immature lung disease which is common in pre-term babies. She said that she may have to have a breathing tube inserted to help her breath and that she may need a dose of a substance that will coat her lungs that she may be lacking. Other than that she looked fine. I was asked to leave at this point because they were going to insert a line into her abdomen. I went back to the room and explained the situation and asked everyone to pray for Eliana. We all prayed for her little lungs to function perfectly and that no infection would set in either Jennifer or her. The Neonatalogist came in later and told us that  a few minutes after I left they pumped some fluids into Eliana and she gained all of her color, started to become very active and was breathing perfectly without any supplemental oxygen. She also explained that she may have some trouble eating because she was so preemie. We asked how long she may have to stay and she said it's hard to tell so early but it could be as short as 5 days or as long as 5 weeks! We began to pray for the 5 days! 

    I called my parents to tell them the good news and was unable to get in touch with them at home in Durango, Colorado so I called them on their cell phone. They said they were 60 miles out of Fort Worth driving in! I thought how in the world did they know? Well it turns out they left earlier that day to go visit my Step-Grandpa who was falling very ill and may die soon so they were driving to Marshall, Texas to see him. They were able to stop in at the hospital and see Eliana about 2 hours after she was born. (Can you start to see God's Hand in all of this?) That night I went with my parents to our home and got some much needed sleep while Jennifer slept at the hospital. The next morning My parents took off to Marshall and I took off to the hospital.

6/27/01 - We were able to visit Eliana and hold her for the first time in the morning. She was so small and precious! We immediately fell deeply in love and these parental instincts started to kick in much more strongly than either of us had anticipated. It really has changed our lives. I wish there was some profound statement that I could use to express how we feel but every time I try I find myself struggling for the words.  The only thing I can say is WOW!

    We returned to the hospital room, prayed for each other and for our new baby. I prayed that Jennifer would have a speedy recovery since it was obvious the next few weeks or days were going to be difficult. The doctor released Jennifer after just 24 hours from the delivery. We were both able to go home and get some sleep but we were back at the hospital to see out Daughter at the crack of dawn. Each day since than has been about the same.. We get to the hospital at about 7:30AM feed Eliana, Return at 10:30AM to feed, try to get some lunch and rest, then return again at 2:00PM to feed. We then try to go home and take a nap then eat. We then return to the hospital at 8:00PM for another feeding. We have found this to work well but we do remain tired. We have found ourselves staying up late to do things that we normally would have done during the day. Jennifer is recovering great and is able to keep up with this demanding schedule. Please pray that Eliana will develop quickly so we can bring her home! 

6/29/01 -  Eliana is doing just great and still in the N.I.C.U. Please pray that her suckling muscles will develop so she can eat on her own and start to gain weight without the use of a feeding tube. Jennifer and I have been running ourselves ragged trying to keep up with her every 3 hour feedings at the hospital. It would be much easier on us if she could get enough strength to be released to us so we could have her home. Not only for our convenience but it is so hard to have her there. It's like our hearts are torn from us and left there at the hospital and we keep on feeling like there is someone missing in our family! We miss her terribly and it's hard to tear away from her at least 5 times a day.... Well we need to get to bed so we can get started on the visits tomorrow. Thank you all for your support and prayers...

6/30/01 - Today was very encouraging! Jennifer and I went to the hospital at 7:30 am for her first feeding. Eliana did pretty good and latched on ok but she was a little tired. She did eat from the bottle just fine and got the amount the nurses wanted. When we got back from eating lunch they had taken out the feeding tube. Eliana was just herself (with the ECG and other wires) and looked closer to a "real baby" Ha! Anyway, She ate great the rest of the day! We asked if we could take her to a private room and feed her and they let us! It was great...just Jen, Eliana and I for the first time! She suckled really good from this point forward for the rest of the day. Jen and I needed some rest so we went home after the 2:00 pm feeding and planned to stay and not come back until in the morning. When we got home and were hanging out, eating a great meal some friends brought over and getting into a movie on TV  it hit us ! It's 7:00 and Eliana is going to eat in 45 minutes so we looked at each other and said let's go! We couldn't stand it so we took off 5 minutes later and were able to feed her one last time today. It's been hard to be away from her because we miss her soooooooo bad!!! I think once we get her home all we'll do is sit there and watch her for days on end! To get to the point - The nurse told us that we may be able to do a sleep over with Eliana at the hospital tomorrow night and if that goes well then we can take her home on Monday! Yippee!!!!!

7/1/01 - We were disappointed this morning when the doctor told us he wanted to keep Eliana for a couple more days. We thought maybe we might be allowed to "room in" with her (stay the night in a room provided by the hospital) tonight, but he said not yet. He wants to see that she is feeding enthusiastically before he releases her. When he is satisfied with her progress will stay overnight in the hospital and care for her all night by ourselves.  The nurses will routinely check up on us to make sure things are going well.  We are most anxious for that day to come!!  As for today's feedings...she did great, taking more than she ever has at one feeding!  Her weight was down a little.  Please pray that she will continue to eat vigorously (she loves when Daddy feeds her!) and gain weight.  Please also pray for a clogged milk duct as Jennifer learns to breastfeed.  Thanks you for your prayers and love for our family and stay tuned for more updates.

7/2/01 - This morning the doctor approved our "room in". We were able to borrow a car seat and stroller from a friend. We also stopped by Old Navy to get some T-Shirts for $2.49! We all got new shirts and Eliana got the smallest one available but it still engulfed her. We went home to gather up an overnight bag and headed to the hospital after that. We stayed the night and finally got a taste of what it's like to wake up every three hours to feed Eliana who was eating fairly good but still needed a little supplemental bottle feeding to get her fill before she fell back to sleep. The next day the doctor came by and took her for a final examination and then were were released to go! We got home and we needed to change her poopy diaper so I laid her on a changing pad on the couch (We did not have enough time to prepare her room so there were no proper changing locations available) As soon as I got her diaper off she squirted poop right at me and it got all over my leg. I could not believe that a baby could produce that much force! I mean it FLEW like 2 feet!!! I know it's kind of gross but WOW!!!! Anyway I got cleaned up and Jennifer finished the job. We looked at each other several times that day and in utter bewildered amazement said "we're parents now".....

7/18/01 - My (Clint) mom came to stay with us for about a week and it was.... well not easy..... On July 11th my Step grandfather passed away so I drove my Mom to Marshall to help out. I stayed and Jennifer came the next day with my step cousin. Jen and Eliana stayed the night. The funeral was the next day at 10:00 AM. We started to realize all of these firsts... This was her first trip, Her first Funeral, Her first time to see a dead person etc... It may be morbid but it really was a neat experience to see what goes into planning a funeral. It was neat to have Eliana and my Step Cousins Daughter there to show how the cycle of life goes. The minister even mentioned that at the Funeral. Anyway, We have been receiving medical bills for the past few days totaling almost $30,000. (I know it not good etiquette to discuss numbers but I need to to show how GOD provides for HIS Children) We started to get a little overwhelmed and honestly started to worry. We did pray and asked for several friends to pray as well and I believed that GOD would provide according to HIS riches and glory... Well today at 3:30 I got a call from the Financial aid office at the Hospital and was told that we qualified for Medicaid and it would cover everything for the Baby and Jennifer %100! PRAISE GOD!!!!! He is sooooo Faithful!!!! We really think that God has something special for Eliana because he has been right there the whole way from the conception until now. I hope that whoever reads this can see that God is Good and He is Real and waiting to bless his children. We are not a special family and believe me we DO not deserve any of this but GOD has given us the grace and wisdom by his spirit to overcome tremendous odds by placing our faith in him alone! If you don't know Jesus I encourage you to find him, Open your heart and ask him to forgive your sins and give you the free gift of Eternal life! Then continue to live for him and you WILL see his hand in your life!!!!

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Sunday, February 13, 2005 11:09 PM