We joyfully introduce to you the newest member of the Masters family, Mariella Grace Bernadette! She was born on Friday morning, March 2nd, at 10:39, and weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces… and is 18 1/2 inches long. What a bundle of joy! Her birth was early and unexpected, as we have never had a premature birth before (or a small baby, I will add!), and her birth was surrounded by miracles.
On Leap Day, I had my routine prenatal appointment. I am usually not overly concerned about prenatal appointments, as I have never had complications during pregnancy, and this was baby number 8… While I hadn’t been feeling quite myself for the last couple of weeks, I chalked it up to not being 21 (hee hee) and to all the things we have gone through during this pregnancy… just plain exhaustion. I had started to even feel a bit better after I started taking a healthy suppliment protein shake that is relieving my migraines and giving me energy. So I was pretty casual about getting to the appointment…
Until our van got stuck in deep mud from the still-melting blizzard remains right in our own driveway. I was skidding and spinning all over the place and thought, you know, I should just go back in and cancel the appointment. But my courageous nine-year-old Nate said, ‘Mom! I can push the van out! Just tell me to push when you push the accelerator and we can get out…’ I thought, um, this is feeling a bit too risky for me, as I never want my children behind any vehicle even if it’s moving forward. But he assured me that he had helped my hubby get his Honda Civic out by doing the same thing. Plus, he was anxious to step in the mud. Boys.
So I humored him. I did push the accelerator and he did push the van, but all that was happening was that vast amounts of snow and mud spray were flying up everywhere and onto Nate’s clothes. I felt bad… he was delighted and had a manly muddy look on his face. Oh dear. Still, it didn’t look like we were getting out. I left a message with my mom (who was going to watch the other kiddos during my appointment) that this probably wasn’t going to happen. Nate said we should give it one more try.
I was irritated at the situation by now, but pushed the pedal one more time, and we all of a sudden moved out of 8 inches of mud. Nate joyfully bounded into the van and I asked him, “how did you do that, Nate? I am so impressed!” He said, “oh, I just said a Hail Mary.”
Now, we were dealing with being too late for the appointment since it took us a half hour to get out of the mud, and we live an hour away from the Dr’s office. I would have cancelled the whole thing, except that Nate had worked so hard and had gotten us out, that I wasn’t about to cancel it… I thought, if they cancel it for me (they have only a 5 minute grace period for lateness), I’ll just take him out to lunch or something.
We made record time, and I made it at exactly 5 minutes late. It was close to lunch hour, and my OB was to leave for out-of-the-country early the next morning. So this was my only chance.
Low and behold, at my appointment, they discovered out-of-the-blue sky-high blood pressure that pointed to preeclampsia. I tried to plead with my doctor that it was probably nothing but stress over a silly van. But he insisted that I get a couple more tests at the hospital just to be sure, and if nothing was wrong, I could go back home in 2 hours.
The tests came back iffy or low for preeclampsia… there was just an unexplainable high blood pressure out of the blue that they couldn’t explain. They were thinking of just sending me home on bed rest, but they decided to do one more test… They did an ultrasound to check on baby’s growth…
They discovered that night that she hadn’t grown at all in three weeks. Still no explanation for this, but she needed to come out.
They gave me a small amount of pitossin to see if things would ‘progress’ so early, which I was very nervous about because I prefer to go into labor naturally… there were good odds that I was being set up for a C-section because my body and baby were not ready yet, as well as possible complications to the baby for coming too early. We sent out word for prayer.
Again unexpectedly, my body went into natural active labor, and out popped a perfectly healthy, teeny tiny little girl, who was actually fully mature in her behavior. Because she was much smaller than I am accustomed to (8 and 9 pounders), her labor was quick and wonderful! This whole event, from start to finish, felt like the Hand and Grace of God was upon us. He knew the whole situation, while we were clueless as to what was happening, and were at His mercy and the mercy of the medical staff’s good opinions. Had I not made it to that initial appointment, the outcome could have been different… so all of this confirms the words I heard over the hospital daily Mass TV when I was first admitted, words in Fr. Dan’s homliy: “When something unexpected happens, it means that God is intervening in your life.”
And so now we had our bundle of joy…
When the nurses asked her name, we jokingly said “Matthew Michael”, which we had planned because we thought we were having a boy. But since she didn’t look like a Matthew 😉 we needed to come up with something else…
We tend to have Marian theme with our daughters (Maryanna, Marie, and Miriam)… so in keeping with this, we came up with Mariella (prounounced mah-riella) after the Mother of Jesus, and Ella because I just think that’s so darned pretty… “Grace” is because of the situation surrounding her birth, where Grace took over and blessed us despite ‘our plans’… and Bernadette is after St. Bernadette, who saw Our Lady of Lourdes and revealed the words “Immaculate Conception” to the Church as a confirmation of a Dogma that the hierarchy was discussing at the time. For Corey and I, the words “Immaculate Conception” have a significance, which of course we never planned, but the words seem to ‘follow us around’ throughout our life for some reason. I’ll share the significance of these words in a future posting… it’s really neat!
We deeply thank all of you who prayed for us during the past few days, and who have helped us in such beautiful ways to bring life into the world. We may sometimes have a feeling of independence, but in truth, we need each other and we need God. To my parents who were always ready to be there with and for us; my hubby who juggled lots of kiddos, a farm, a house, driving back and forth, big decisions, prayer, encouragement, and a hormonal wife; our dear friends the Rocha family who dropped everything and watched 6 of our children with joy and generosity; Fr. Dan who came and sat with me and prayed over me with the sacrament of the sick and Communion and gave me encouragement; our wonderful firstborn Maryanna who stayed with me the whole time, witnessed the birth and cut Mariella’s cord, and selflessly helped me and the baby in any way we needed for several days; and all who prayed for us and offered warm encouragement… may God bless you abundantly!
The Masters Family