On February 3, 2004:
I went to my normal OB appointment. I was hooked up to the Fetal Heart Monitor (in Germany they do this at every visit beginning at 30 weeks) and everything seemed normal. Next came the ultrasound, which is also common at every visit in Germany. During the ultrasound, the doctor found something that wasn’t normal. The only information I received was that there was an unusual blood flow to the brain and that I would need to see a specialist the next morning. I tried not to stress about it. When Phillip and I had our “chat” time that evening, I told him what the doctor said and he said we shouldn’t worry about it. He felt we should pray and wait to find out what the specialist said the next day. I went to the Women’s Bible Study and tried not to think about it.
I went to the appointment with the specialist and was given another ultrasound. First there were two doctors present. Eventually I had four doctors standing over me speaking to each other in German and looking very concerned. Finally, one of them told me that there was a malformation in the baby’s brain and that I would have to deliver via a cesarean section. I was also told that I would have to be admitted to the hospital immediately to have close monitoring of the baby’s heart rate. I explained that my husband (Phillip) was deployed to Iraq and that I had four other children at home that I would have to make arrangements for. The doctors decided that I should go and make arrangements but I would need to return that day to be admitted. I went home and explained to Nathan and Cortnie that I would have to be admitted to the hospital because something was wrong with the baby. I spoke to my neighbors who offered to watch the children until Phillip could come home. I also called the Wiesbaden Army Airfield Patient Liaisons to get a Red Cross message sent out to Phillip’s unit in Iraq. At 1:00pm, Phillip was able to call and I tearfully told him what the doctors had said. I also called my family in the states to inform them. The next day was my birthday and I didn’t want anyone to be alarmed if they called. At 4:30, my neighbor came to drive me to the hospital. I was officially admitted about 5:30 pm and was put on a fetal heart monitor. A doctor came in and went over the consent for the c-section then did another ultrasound. The baby’s heart rate was not good so I was transferred to a room on the delivery ward to be closely monitored. I was also given the first of two injections of steroids to mature the baby’s lungs. Throughout the night, Dr Mueller and the midwife monitored me with the fetal heart monitor. I began having contractions that were causing the baby to go into heart failure. I was given Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions and given another injection of the steroid through my IV just in case they had to deliver the baby that night. Thankfully we made it through the night and her heart rate began to improve. We later learned that the malformation could not be treated until the baby was at least 32 weeks gestation. At this time, I was 30 weeks, 3 days. Praise God for sustaining us.