On Her Terms by Laura Miller

Grace entered this world on her own terms. It seemed she was already showing us what determination and strong will she had even in her meager 3lbs 9oz frame. She decided to wait until the OBGYN had gone into surgery for another expecting mother to make her arrival. The medical staff had tried countless procedures to encourage her delivery without surgical intervention. Most of them seemed like medieval torture than modern medicine to this first-time mother. Dr. Fettingger, the next doctor to start his shift, had planted the seed. As he left my room he said, “this baby is going to be delivered today one way or another!”

Yep, we were anticipating the C-section talk after he performed one upstairs for another mom and baby duo. As if on cue, Grace seemed to know when he was elbow deep in another uterus. That’s when she decided to finally do what we had been encouraging her to for the last 4 days. Make her entrance into our world.

I had been on home bedrest for too many reasons to count when pre-eclampsia started to manifest. The doctors decided was too early for delivery because of the high risks for a baby in that stage of prematurity. The medical team put me on hospital bedrest, or better known as Mother’s in Waiting at Covenant Harrison Campus. This way they could keep better observation of both me and baby’s health status.  I sat in that bed with limited privileges from the end of March to May 11th. My increasing urine protein counts, the severe migraine, poor liver panel and baby showing very limited to no growth made the decision to deliver her at 34 weeks gestation.  My health risks of staying pregnant now were greater than the baby’s prematurity complications.

Grace was born on May 15th. She weighed 3lbs 9oz 16 inches long. My scrawny baby arrived upside down into Dr. Wagner’s hands. He was in the parking lot after finishing his shift, when he said something told him to go back in and check on the Millers one more time. The doctor walked into my room in his street clothes, to see a panicked nurse yelling not to push and me saying, “I’m not doing anything!” Someone threw a gown over his polo shirt and he gloved up to finish the partially delivered baby.

I remember the relief and joy the doctor felt too. He was the one that had worked with me for the last 24 plus hours trying to have a natural delivery. Things were so chaotic with the speedy delivery that the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) wasn’t there waiting for her to be delivered with medical support. I had to ask if it was a boy or a girl.  Dr. Wagner held her up so I could see her, just as the NICU team arrived, “Congratulations! It’s a girl!” Grace Ann Miller arrived at 1:05 in the afternoon, on her terms.

From this day forward my life was changed. I began my journey as a parent, a parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum. Grace Ann Miller arrived at 1:05 in the afternoon, on her terms.