The Hardest Night of my Life

October 22, 2009 my first born, a daughter, entered this world.  Alaise Noelle Vanderwater was greeted by her parents and grand parents (on both sides).  She's a big baby, 20 inches, with a 14+ inch head, 8 lbs 13 ounces.  Ju's labor went pretty well.  The epidural did wonders for her.  The delivery, on the other hand, was quite difficult, and the size of the baby required the doctor to make a bit of room for her to come down the canal via an episiotomy.


From dad's perspective, I'm actually doing pretty good at this point.  I knew all of this was likely... did I mention the vacuum to get her out? no? well there was that too.  But all seemed to go pretty well.  Baby was healthy, I cut the cord, the doctors began the work of sewing Ju back up.  I flitted back and forth from Alaise to Ju and back again, checking on both of my girls.  Once she was sewn all back up, mom and daughter were introduced, grandparents came to join the fray and meet their new grand daughter.  After a while of this we shooed everyone away, so that mom and baby could get some feeding in.  It was at this point that my world started to shift yet again.

When you go to witness a child being born, you walk in expecting to see a miracle, what you don't expect is to find yourself in a situation asking for more miracles in that same night...

It was about twenty minutes into feeding when we noticed there was blood seeping through the blankets that covered her.  I called a nurse in, she checked things out, got real serious and went to get our OB again.  As we began to talk, it became clear that we were in dangerous territory.  Typically the uterus will contract back down after delivery.  Nursing actually helps this process along, but Ju's uterus didn't seem to want to cooperate any more.  Had her labor been longer that would have been less surprising, but we were just about 12-13 hours since starting, and that's pretty typical.  Add to that the fever that Ju got late in the labor and we had a problem.  Since her uterus wouldn't contract like it should, her bleeding wasn't stopping, and if she kept bleeding like this, there was a chance they'd have to do a hysterectomy just to stop it.  Now, the ramifications of a hysterectomy aside, Ju and I would like more children, so this was a hugely frightening possibility for us, though admittedly, not as frightening as loosing my wife.

To start they decided they would take her back and do a DNC.  This would hopefully let them get a look at what might be wrong, see if there was any left over placenta, and move from there.  I was told that it should be a short procedure, so when we passed the hour mark... I was understandably frightened.  When we passed the hour and a half mark I was terrified.  As we crept up on the 2 hour mark, I noticed one of the nurses had come out, and I asked how it had gone, I was directed to speak with our OB, which I then went and did.

Our OB has been fantastic.  Let me just start with that.  Ju spent a bit of time early in her pregnancy being picky about our OB, and while I respected that, I wasn't horribly concerned about who she picked at the time.  We knew we wanted to have our baby at Deaconis Hospital, so after a bit of searching, Ju settled on Dr Robin Eisenhauer.


She saved my wife, both from death and from the need for a hysterectomy, and for that I will be eternally grateful.  The two hours she spent (as she relayed this to me) was largely spent sewing up small areas that could be problematic, and scraping the interior of my wife's uterus for anything that shouldn't be there.  Unfortunately there were no obvious problems, Ju was just bleeding.  But after all the work she felt like Ju was bleeding minimally enough to call her safe, at least for the moment.  Tearfully, she told me she would only have resorted to a hysterectomy if it was to save Ju's life, and luckily we didn't have to do that, but we weren't out of the woods completely yet.  We needed to watch and see how much she bled the next few hours, and if it was too much, we were still considering life saving measures.

Needless to say, those next 2+ hours were spent in the most desperate prayer of my life.  As I said before, when you go to witness a birth, you expect to see a miracle.  But when they wheeled my wife away, I asked for another, that God would bring my wife back to me, whole and healthy, and He did.  And then I asked that He keep her that way, and He has.  God is good, and I am grateful for all he does, both the miraculous, and those things he does through the hands of others.

Ju and I had discussed the possibility of doing a home birth through a mid wife, or perhaps a water birth.  We discussed many of these different possibilities, but at the end of the day, we really wanted the first child to come into the world in a little more controlled of an environment.  Women do it outside the hospital all the time, and I think that's really wonderful.  Honestly the appeal of doing something like this in your own home is HUGE, but for us, I am very glad we chose to do it within the hospital, as the chances are very high that I would be a single father right now had we not chosen to do that.

Now, with all of that said, my beautiful wife, and equally beautiful daughter are cuddled up together sleeping in her hospital bed. I'm the luckiest and happiest guy on the planet right now, and I know it.

We'll post some photos of Alaise here shortly.  I didn't bring the cable to connect the camera so... I guess it will have to wait.

24 October 2009

Wow, Kris! Quite a harrowing experience. We're grateful she came through alright and that you had a top notch doctor on your side. We'll be praying for Ju's continued recovery and the health of your little darling!

24 October 2009

I am glad you are all safe and well. I hope Ju recovers quickly. I know I wondered what was up when you tweeted that things were moving quickly, and then there was nothing more from you for many hours. I hoped you were just busy and overwhelmed.

All three of you will be in my thoughts.

Esther (not verified)

24 October 2009

What a story. Thank you for sharing those intimate details. Will continuing praying for your wonderful family! Can't wait for the pictures!

Un So (not verified)

24 October 2009

I don't know what else to say... just letting out a big sigh of relief and wiping tears from my eyes. God is good!

Rick (not verified)

25 October 2009

Wow...that sounds like one crazy intense night. I am so glad things worked out well ;) You can definitely see where God directed you to make the decisions you did. It is such a testament to God's graciousness ;) Thanks for sharing.

Kenichi (not verified)

25 October 2009

Hey Kris,

Thanks for sharing this story. It's great to hear the details and how God was so good in everything. I pray that Ju is healing well and you guys are resting and recovering!


Aunt Margie (not verified)

25 October 2009


Thanks for sharing your heart. It is amazing the things God brings us through as He draws us ever closer to Him. His grace never ends. We continue to pray for all 3 of you and rejoice at the outcome of all 3 of you getting to go home together. We love you!

25 October 2009

We are all back home, and settling in.  I will hopefully write up another blog tomorrow or the next day and pull together the details of our last couple days in the hospital.  Thanks to everyone for their kind words and prayers.


27 October 2009

It's impossible to see myself handling this situation any better than you. I'd probably be much worse. Was probably also tough sharing that with the rest of us.

Congratulations and I (and the rest of the community) am very, very glad that you, the wife, and Alaise are all doing well.

Hopefully you and/or Ju can get some well-needed rest. And hopefully you're playing the 'Drupal song' to Alaise whenever you can!

28 October 2009

Kris and Ju,

I'm crying as I read this post. Wow. Praises to God that Ju is safe. Thanks for sharing your story. Another testimony to God's goodness.


Virginia (not verified)

2 November 2009

I am so thankful that God is with you. I am so thankful that Ju is doing so well now! I find myself bragging about my beautiful new cousin (though I think of her more as a niece) at work and still can't believe we have such a dear little addition to the family. You all are still in my prayers and I thank God for you.

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