A baby and a brain tumor at the same time was NOT what we had bargained for but there were blessings to buoy us up. When our son Adam (who turned 17 yesterday) was born, his father Chris Olsen had just had a devastating brain surgery which left him like a stroke victim. However, Chris was able to attend the delivery of his baby boy (with the rehab nurse helping him). The miracle occurred when our tiny newborn son was placed in his father’s one good arm. Their spirits communicated eye to eye what their bodies could not. All there witnessed this tender mercy. Here’s a link to read more about this “so good, incredible, sad, but happy day,” as written in my book, Encircled in Love, in the Midst of Loss, that will be released IN A FEW WEEKS!! If this excerpt speaks to your heart and you would like to pre-order the book or share, see the link at the end.
CHAPTER 15 A CHILD IS BORN (an excerpt from Encircled in Love in the Midst of Loss by JoLyn Holladay)
It had been only 2 weeks since the devastating surgery, and I was about 2 weeks from my delivery date. I had been on my feet way too long as I prepared my husband’s favorite foods for his day trip home with us. I sent the kids to church, but I stayed home with my husband. He would have to return to in-patient rehab later that day. I had been hurting all morning, feeling the baby low in my abdomen. With the kids at church and the dinner over, I tuned in to my own body. Realizing I could very well be starting labor and that it would be better to have the baby now with my husband home, I determined that it was time. I asked our 16-year old neighbor friend to drive us to the hospital. He was so nervous. Poor kid. Can you imagine?
After the teen dropped us off at the hospital, I wheeled my husband into labor and delivery. The nurse gave me the strangest look and didn’t know what to think for a second. She looked at me—obviously in pain and with a big pregnant belly, then she looked at my handicapped husband in the wheelchair. I know she was thinking: “Which one is the patient here?” At least she could tell which one was the pregnant lady!
I had previously arranged for a nurse from our church congregation to be with and care for my husband during my labor and delivery. She was a rehab nurse at the hospital where my husband was staying, so aside from being a friend, she was also very aware of the situation. She came as quickly as possible. Sadly, before she arrived, we experienced some unkind prejudice by the labor and delivery nurse who refused to help me until the rehab nurse was with my husband. The delivery nurse was more concerned with liability than compassion or even my pain. I wanted to scream! “Please, can’t you see how difficult this situation is? Won’t you help us? Please!” But she didn’t know. She couldn’t know, and she made her decision based on her head and not her heart and what Heavenly Father would want her to do. She had a chance to be one of God’s earthly angels, and she blew it.
Believe it or not, I’m not angry with her. In fact, it stands as a lesson to me because I know there’ve been times when I’ve blown it too; times when I’ve had the chance to extend compassion and I’ve looked the other way or even walked away. My husband Chris never did that; he ALWAYS stopped to help; to lift, love, appreciate, and serve. He was always the Good Samaritan.
My contractions weren’t progressing well, and my husband was exhausted and needed to return to his hospital. The nurse communicated with the doctor over the phone. He ordered Pitocin to speed up the labor. After it was given, the contractions started coming faster and harder, but my husband could not help me. He slept through most of it, not even aware of what was going on. I had to rely on God, the nurses, and myself.
I asked for an epidural, but I was denied until I got to the required dilation. What my doctor and I had forgotten was that when I hit a certain point, my labor starts progressing very quickly. When I finally got to the required dilation, I was in extreme pain. They told me to sit up so that they could give me the epidural. I tried to tell them that I could NOT sit up because the pressure of the baby was so great.
Our rehab nurse who had come to help my husband tried to help by having me put my arms on her shoulders for support. I kept saying, “Can’t sit, can’t sit!” As they forced me to do it, the pressure caused my water to burst, and the baby’s head crowned. Because our friend was supporting me, the amniotic water burst onto her dress and completely soaked her shoes. I screamed, “Baby is coming! Baby is coming!” Not believing me because she had just checked a few minutes earlier, the nurse laid me down, at which point she saw the baby’s head. The doctor had only been communicating by phone and had not arrived yet, so the nurse had to deliver the baby. Shortly after, the doctor rushed into the room in his Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt to finish the job. I remember saying, “Well there’s the doctor I’m not going to pay!”
During most of the labor, my husband had been asleep, but he was able to wake up for the delivery. Everyone in the room witnessed a tender miracle: as my husband sat in his wheelchair, our tiny baby was placed in his good arm. Our newborn son looked up at his father, and his father looked down at him. They stared straight into each other’s eyes, and their spirits seemed to communicate for a few moments in a way that their physical bodies could not. Everyone in the room will attest to this precious miracle.
After a short while, my husband was taken back to his hospital. I stayed with the baby at mine to recover from the delivery. The next day, our children had their first day of school without the support of their parents. Family and friends helped at home for which we are very grateful. That evening, someone brought them to see me and their baby brother. Specifically, I remember our 10-year-old daughter, who has special educational needs, trying to hold back the tears. This was especially traumatic for her to go to her first day of school without our support.
Our women’s Relief Society president and the Bishop’s wife came to visit me bringing many gifts for the baby. It was touching as well as helpful. It was different and difficult, not having my husband be able to visit. We had always enjoyed this time with our newborns. Absent were the flowers he had always brought to me, a reminder that he (as he used to be) was not there anymore either.
A friend and her husband brought us home from the hospital a couple days later. I didn’t visit my own husband at his hospital for a week. I was so tired and overwhelmed in my own recovery and the household. Because Chris had short term memory and word finding problems, he had to keep a card in his pocket with his babies’ name on it so that he could refer to it when others asked.
I can’t adequately communicate in words, the difficulty and agony of our hearts at this time, but I can tell you that God, our Heavenly Father, his heavenly angels, and his earthly angels did reach out to help us bear our burdens. I will admit that there were many times when it was hard to hope, but there was NEVER a time when we didn’t feel loved or supported. We are so grateful to our families, friends, church members, medical professionals and everyone who helped us.
Here’s the link to pre-order a signed copy of the book that will be out soon. We appreciate your support to share our message and help with the costs by pre-ordering. Please note, that when it’s available on Amazon soon, the cost will be a little higher we’ve decided to print in color because of the precious pictures included). To save on your signed, color copy of the experience that changed our lives forever, please pre-order here.
If you or someone you know could benefit from a grief support class, our next one will be held on Tuesday Sept. 18, 2018, 6:30 p.m., conference room A at The Business Resource Building of Davis Tech, 450 Simmons Way, Kaysville, UT 84037 Admission is $15 per person and will go toward scholarships for our Encircled Grief Retreat on Oct. 19-20, 2018 in Providence Utah. My goal is to get to a place where the whole retreat is funded by scholarships and gifted to those who grieve. You can donate to our scholarship fund at the link below. Last time 2 women were able to benefit form this gift from another.
Link for our next Encircled, Grief Retreat on Oct. 19-20, 2018 https://essentialanswers.me/product/grief-retreat/
Link to donate to Retreat Scholarships: https://essentialanswers.me/product/grief-retreat-scholarship/
Link for our next Grief Support class on Sept. https://essentialanswers.me/product/grief-group/
Thanks for you support!
Love and Belief to all of you,
JoLyn Olsen Holladay of Essential Answers LLC, DBA Above and Beyond Mentoring