Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    True Determination

    Sometimes you know someone that lives through something that redefines for you what a word means. I had one of those experiences this week.

    A friend of mine, Nerissa, had to have a c-section with her first child. Her son was breach and wasn't budging. Nerissa had been completely prepared to do natural childbirth, having gone through classes to help her and her husband, Anthony, get ready. They were very disappointed when things didn't work out as planned.

    After their son was born, there were some nursing complications. Namely, their son could not latch on. Nerissa was determined, though, to do what was best for her child. She decided to syringe feed her son. She syringe fed him for 4 weeks while she attempted to teach him how to latch on. After 4 weeks of nursing failure, she shifted to sometimes bottle feeding her son pumped milk and sometimes syringing him. All the while she went about the painful process of trying to teach her son how to latch on. After 12 weeks of this, her son finally overcame his complications and was able to latch on.

    Fast forward the clock 2 years and Nerissa is pregnant again. Once again, she and Anthony are preparing to have a natural child birth, though this time Nerissa is categorized as higher risk VBAC. They had been preparing with the same material as last time and had literally been studying up. They were ready.

    Nerissa entered pre-labor on Friday (8-21-09). Due to the discomfort of labor, she was not able to sleep as her labor progressed. She went into active labor on Sunday, when she was admitted to the hospital. All this time she had very little rest.

    Upon entering the hospital, she was not allowed to eat and could only drink in sips. At this point, Nerissa was exhausted form all of the work that she had been doing, but she was only 3.5 cm dilated (where a woman needs to be close to 10 to deliver). She decided to continue on, however, in order to do what was best for her baby. She was so exhausted that she agreed to take some medicine for pain, in order to help her get some rest.

    She continued on, finally receiving a low-grade epidural so that she could sleep again on Monday night. Come Tuesday morning they broke her water in order to help her progress further, faster.

    By Tuesday afternoon the decision to deliver vaginally was taken from her hands, however, when she spiked a fever. Alas, Nerissa was wheeled into an operating room for her second c-section.

    My family and I were intimately involved with Nerissa's latest attempt to deliver, with Dalynn helping Nerissa and Anthony in the delivery room. I even got a chance to contribute by keeping their oldest son one night so the whole family could be at the hospital. They tried and tried, striving to continue where many others would have given up.

    Nerissa's latest attempt to deliver, combined with her struggles to nurse her first son, have really re-defined for me what the word determination means. In my mind determination was a thing of short time. It was OK to give up once you had said you tried.

    I don't believe I'll be able to take that stance anymore. Now, determination will forever be a thing of striving til there is no option left, til you either succeed or the opportunity is completely closed in your face. That kind of determination boggles my mind, and I feel truly blessed to have my perspective changed by Nerissa.

    I am happy to report that the c-section went well and that both baby and mother are recovering nicely. Their latest son is as healthy as can be and momma is already up and about. I do wish that Nerissa could have succeeded in her goal of delivering naturally, but I am so impressed that she persisted as long as she did. That's true determination.


    Ezekiel James said...

    This post is awesome.

    Michael.Rollins said...

    I'm glad you think so, Zeke! I'll let Nerissa know. She's definitely something else.