After long months of waiting and many prayers, our third daughter has arrived safe and sound. Hosanna Joy Steele was born at 1:57am on November 15th, weighing 8 lbs. and 1 oz. She was 19.7 inches long.
Like her older sister Rebekah, Hosanna was born in a Ukrainian hospital here in L'viv. The birth itself went well, almost textbook you might say. Kelsie was only in labor about four hours. The problems began after we thought "the hard part was behind us." Kelsie and the baby were cleaned up and left to rest. I was also trying to get some sleep in the same room on a couch. But unbeknownst to us, Kelsie was still bleeding internally. Unfortunately, by the time the doctors realized this, she had lost quite a bit of blood and the clinic went into emergency mode.
Kelsie was placed under general anesthesia, and the operation began. The problem was that the uterus had not properly contracted back to its original position. As the doctors worked to remedy this, I was on the phone with my mom, Cathy who was offering much needed medical advice and also passing on information from my sister, Jessica, who is a nurse.
Soon the bleeding was stopped, but Kelsie's hemoglobin levels had dropped dramatically. We estimate that she was down to about 7. (Normal levels are around 13, I believe.) Our primary OB-GYN, Dr. Lekh, was emphatic that Kelsie needed a blood transfusion. We felt this was too risky and insisted on boosting her hemoglobin levels by other means, including nutritional supplements such as liquid chlorophyll, spinach, beet juice, etc. While the various options were discussed, Kelsie continued to receive oxytocin as well as a synthetic plasma substitute. In the end, the doctors respected our wishes and Kelsie was not given any blood or human plasma.
I don't think I have ever been so scared in my life as I was that night when I realized the severity of Kelsie's condition. I remember walking into her room from the hall just after they had put her under. (I was not aware this had occurred.) She was no more than six feet away from me, but when I called her name, she didn't answer. As in any trial, we took what action we could, and trusted the Lord with the outcome, calling on Him for deliverance.
God was with us that day, as were the prayers of saints on both sides of the globe. Praise the Lord for His healing hand! Three days later, Kelsie's hemoglobin level was up to 8.6. She continues to take supplements, getting lots of rest. She is alert, and growing stronger all the time.
Kelsie and Hosanna came home from the hospital on November 17. We are thrilled to report that mother and baby are doing extremely well! We are deeply grateful to all those who prayed for us and offered their assistance in other ways. My mom and Jessica were up through the night researching medical questions and relaying information to me by phone. In fact, for a while my mom was calling me every ten minutes, since I could not call her from my phone.
In L'viv, Nathan and Katelin Day were up in the middle of the night as well offering internet support (like the translation of complex Ukrainian medical terms). Nathan was also assisting me with the fast relay of information from the States. As soon as we realized that Kelsie's hemoglobin was low, the Day family and the Beal family responded immediately by driving a whole box of supplies to the hospital, including several iron-rich dishes cooked by Katelin, who is herself about 8 months pregnant. These supplies were a great help to Kels and her hemoglobin started rising very soon.
I know of many others who were also up in the night praying for our family. Thank you all so very much! Your love and support are priceless and we praise God for giving us such precious family and friends.