Thursday, May 19, 2011

Presenting Mila Christy Gunnell

Mila Christy Gunnell's story for those who may not have heard it yet...
May 17, 2011, is a day that we will not soon forget, nor will the nurses at Orem Community Hospital. We arrived at 5:00 a.m. for our induction. By 7:45 a.m. I had Petocin going, my epidural placed, and my doctor broke my water. For the next two hours I stayed at dilated to a 2, but between 9:45 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. I progressed until I was complete. At that point our doctor was notified and we started what he calls "rest and descend." Our doctor has the philosophy with first-time mothers to rest and allow the baby to descend for 1-2 hours before the mother starts to push. Little did he realize, Mila would need no pushing.

By 12:45 p.m. I was feeling lots of pressure and a little pain, so we boosted my epidural. Mila's heart rate kept decreasing during contractions so the nurse had me roll to the opposite side that I was on, in a hope to keep Mila's heart rate constant during contractions. After rolling over I felt liquid on my leg. I told the nurse and we decided to change the pad on my bed. During this conversation with my nurse, Chase, who was sitting on the couch, said he heard a baby cry. Both my nurse and I looked at Chase and told him we hadn't heard it. I then told Chase to not joke about these things. I continued conversing with my nurse and a couple seconds later, I heard, Chase heard, and Chase's sister heard (who was in the room talking on the phone with Chase's parents who had just arrived from Beijing) what sounded like a baby's cry. Chase got adamant that he was hearing a baby. The nurse told him that a baby was being born in the room next to us and that she thought Chase was hearing the cries of that baby. Chase got more adamant and, to appease Chase, the nurse looked under the sheets and saw something she will never forget: Mila's head sticking out to her shoulders. The nurse immediately pushed the "Code Red" button and within 10 seconds we had 10 people in the room helping Mila. The nurse asked me to give a push to help deliver the rest of Mila. Chase and I were shocked. We didn't know what was happening. All I remember is Chase was half frustrated, half scared, saying, "I told you I heard a baby cry!" I started bawling. I wasn't hearing anything from Mila. She wasn't crying. The nurses had taken her to the warming station to get her all cleaned up. They persisted in reassuring Chase and me that Mila was fine, but we were still nervous. They conducted all of the necessary tests and found out that she was perfect.

It was about this time that my doctor showed up and it didn't take long before I realized he was upset. While he was getting ready to sow me back up (I had a second degree tear), the nurse leaned over and said to me, "He isn't mad at you, he is mad at us nurses." After he stitched me up I was able to hold Mila for the first time. No words can describe the emotions that overcame me at that moment. I have never loved someone so completely, so purely, and so immediately as I did Mila the first time I saw her. It was a spiritual feeling that I will never forget.

The miracle about it all is that afterwards the nurse that ended up delivering Mila came to our room and told us about a conversation she had with the doctors that were at the hospital. She asked the doctors if it was possible for a baby to cry when only her head is out and they all unanimously said that it was impossible for a baby to make a noise until they are completely out of the mother's body. So, I don't know what Chase heard, but what I do know is it was a miracle either way you look at it. Either Mila made a noise that the doctors believe is impossible for a baby to make with just their head sticking out of the mother's body or someone from the other side of the veil made a noise so that we would know Mila was out. The later option is plausible because the night before I gave birth to Mila, Chase gave me a blessing and stated that there would be many of our relatives that have passed on that would be in the room during the birth of Mila. We feel so blessed to have many looking out for us in this life and in the next.

So, now, I would like to give a brief description of the name and how we chose it. Mila (pronounced Mee-la) is a popular Russian name that Chase has loved since his mission. It doesn't have a direct translation, but the closest things are cute, precious, sweet, and cuddly. To give you an example, the word "mila" would be used when a Grandma comes up to an infant that she finds cute and says, "Oh, she is is mila." It is for that reason that we decided to name our daughter Mila. The first attribute I noticed on our little girl was that she had big cheeks, perfect for a grandma to pinch and say, "Mila." Since that time, Mila has just grown into her name in meaning. She is definitely cute, precious, sweet, and cuddly.

So that's her story. Here are some pictures from her delivery and stay at the hospital...
Me at my largest
Just chillin while enjoying my epidural and a bit of oxygen
One proud, relieved daddy
My first chance to hold my sweet daughter
The doctor Mila just couldn't wait for
Bringing her home in the same blanket I left the hospital in when I was a baby

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Updating and Reflections

So, here we are just 13 days from our due date. I know I haven't posted a belly shot in awhile...I'll make sure to take one here in the next few days because it has definitely grown.

I'm excited to report that we had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday where I was told I am totally effaced! The doctor estimates that this little girl will come in the next week on her own (heck yeah for shaving a week off!). However, our doctor leaves town near the end of next week so we are meeting with him on Monday to set a day and time for me to be induced. Chase and I have already agreed on the 18th. See, the 15th is Chase's birthday, the 16th is my nephew Jonathan's birthday, and the 17th is my brother Kurt's birthday. We Smiths like to jam pack the birthdays apparently.

It's pretty crazy to think that in less than a week I will officially be a mother. It's been a whirlwind the past two days after finding this information out because this causes my last day of work to be tomorrow. It's surreal to think that after 5 years of teaching, this chapter is coming to a close so suddenly. Cue reflections...

It just so happens that today and tomorrow I am finishing off my seminary career by teaching The Family: A Proclamation to the World, a proclamation our church published back in 1995. Already in preparing my lesson this morning I have had to choke back tears, and I don't think I can blame it entirely on the pregnancy hormones. I felt like I needed to take a moment and write my testimony and my thoughts this morning so that I won't forget these feelings.

This life and the Plan of our Father in Heaven is centered on the family. Sister Julie B. Beck did a beautiful job explaining this here. I am so grateful for the Plan and for the opportunity I have to be a family with Chase and to fulfill my divine destiny here on earth to be a mother. I know having the opportunity to become a mother is a privilege that many are earnestly, righteously seeking after. I feel very blessed that the Lord is allowing me this privilege. My heart is also full this morning because I know how hard the adversary is attacking families, and I wish I could just protect my students, my family, and my daughter from these attacks.

My family faced a heavy blow from the adversary just over 4 years ago, back when I first taught this lesson in the seminary classroom. I remember what a wreck I was trying to teach this lesson. Although the trial we face is a difficult one, it has made my testimony all the stronger. I hope my students will sense and feel that today.

I hope my family knows how much I love them.

I hope Chase knows how excited I am to officially start our family.

I hope each of us realizes the love our Father in Heaven has for us and how blessed we are to experience glimpses of His love by being in families here on earth. How grateful I am for the Great Plan of Happiness!