Wednesday, March 12, 2008

D-1's Birthday

All my children were born in January, February and March. The oldest boy and the oldest girl are born in March. The middle boy and girl are born in January and the youngest boy and girl are born in February. There were times, especially as the kids got older and wanted to invite friends, after putting on six birthday parties in three months that I wanted to get a special T-shirt printed for me that said:

I survived
6 Birthday Parties
the end of March!

January, February and March are those bleak months after the festivities and expenses of Christmas are over. The six birthday parties were a wonderful way for us to get through those 90 dreary days. The last birthday of the kids is the last day in March, so by the first of April all the spring flowers are ready to pop and Spring has officially sprung.

And there was NO combining of parties with a theme, like My Little Ponies or Transformers.

No, each month was a boy and a girl, so they each got their own, except for one year when I combined all six birthdays in one big celebration at the skating rink. I allowed them to choose one or two best friends and I made a cake with their names and Happy Birthday all together forming a cross-word puzzle as the decoration.

As each of their birthdays come along, I find myself recalling the day of their birth, so many years ago.

note: If you get bored with labor and delivery stories, then just know that is what this is about. Don't feel obligated to read on. One other thing, all my childbirths were "natural", which means I got NO medication. None, Zip, Zilch! By the last child, the new thing was an epidural, and I wanted to try it, but the anesthetist was out of town, so I missed out on trying that. ::ratz::

With S1 I was in labor for 12 hours from start to birth. You may think, "you wuss, that is NOTHING." But the doctor talked to me later and told me they were doing a print-out on a machine that measured the baby's heart rate and my labor pains on the same paper. He said that my labor pains were so intense that they always jumped way into the baby's heart rate chart for 12 hours. He had never seen labor so intense in his whole life. So I sort of felt justified for crying a bunch. Poor Sailor, his wedding ring is actually oval shaped and he says it is because I squeezed his hand so tight. He wished he had brought a tennis ball for me to squish instead.

By the time S2 came along, I had taken some Lamaze classes and learned to focus on the corner of the room and transfer all my pain and anger to that corner and breathe. I was in labor with him for only 6 hours, and was in the hospital for only 3 before I had him.

I was on a roll. I was excited for the next child, because if they got easier, it was going to be a walk in the park from now on!

If you count the time I started labor at 2 in the morning until she was born, it was only 4 hours. She was born at 5:55 am. But if you count all the days before when I awoke at 2 and had false labor until around 5 for 3-4 nights, it is much more.

But more about that later.

The fourth & fifth children, D2 and D3, were what the Dr called "sunny side up." Both were extremely painful back labor and took 15 and 16 hours. With D2 the labor was so bad, I kept getting up and standing, but the nurses didn't want me walking around, so they kept coming in and saying "Mrs. Annie, get back into bed. You can't be out of bed." I finally stayed in bed, but stood on the bed, because it hurt so terribly bad to be laying down with this labor. That even panicked the nurses more. The doctor finally stripped my membranes for D2 and she came really fast. With D3, I was hoping that would work again, so I asked them to do it again after a while. But instead, I continued to labor 4 more hours and had what they call a "dry birth." MUCH WORSE. This was NOT the way I had hoped for it to work out. Everyone said it gets easier as each successive birth comes. I was breaking the theory, one painful birth at a time.

The last one, S3 took 14 hours, but only 4 in the hospital, and only about 2 of really intense pain. His birth was really not a hard one, just long. We had just moved to a new job and a new town, a month before, and our insurance was due to run out at the end of the month. He was due the 22nd and February only had 28 days. I was so afraid I would go over and insurance wouldn't cover, so I asked the Dr. about it. He said he would strip my membranes on that day if I hadn't had him already. So that morning, we went through the procedure and Sailor and I walked all over this new town we had just moved to. It is only a mile square, eight blocks by eight blocks. When we got home in the afternoon, poor little S2 had spots on his tummy. He was coming down with chicken pox of all things. Not a good time have this happen, and the poor little fellow wasn't allowed into the hospital to hold his baby brother the next day. However they let me take the baby home and be exposed two days later. I never could figure this out. After S2 recovered, the rest of the children came down with it, some overlaping 2 weeks apart. It was a long two months.

Anyway, back to D1's birth. I had been going into false labor every night at around 2am, for about a week before she was actually born. Back then I was ambitious, and made little baby announcements. It was a picture of a little chick still in the egg, but the top of the egg shell is it's hat and it is standing in the bottom shell. This could represent either sex, since we didn't know the gender of the baby. I had drawn the chicks on that stuff you bake and it shrinks. Every night when awakened with the pains, I would draw and bake some little chicks, bake and paste them onto a card on which I had printed: New Arrival! and a place for all the statistics.

I kept myself busy all night long as I felt these labor pains that were strong enough to keep me awake, but not strong enough to wake my husband. Every time I would think to myself that they were getting strong enough, which usually was around 5 in the morning, they would stop abruptly.

I did this for about 3 or 4 nights. By Thursday night/Friday morning, I was getting scared. My husband had gone onto Graveyard shifts Thursday and I was afraid that I might actually need to be taken to the hospital one of these times and he would be 25 miles away at work. Since my other labors had gotten progressively shorter, I figured this one would follow that pattern and I would need him there, not trying to find a substitute (control room at the power plant) and driving 25 miles home. So on Friday morning when he got home from his graveyard shift, we went to see the doctor. With S2 the Doctor had told me that if I went past the due date, he would induce. D3 was 3 days overdue, so I thought the policy still stood. With that policy in mind, I asked him to induce and explained about Sailor's being on a grave yard shift. This made him crabby, and he patiently explained that when "the apple was ripe, it would drop." He would NOT induce. I told him I didn't want to be alone when the "apple dropped", but he wouldn't budge.

Friday night, true to form, I started labor again. But this time it felt a bit more intense. All of the previous nights, I had taken a VERY.HOT.SHOWER with the streams of hot water pounding on my tender belly, and usually it helped. Every night, I spent those 4 hours in prayer, communing with my Heavenly Father and asking for help. This night was no exception. I pleaded for inspiration as to what to do, and I felt his Spirit near me.

But this time the hot shower didn't help. I had run all the hot water out and I still felt terrible. A dear friend had told me to call her if I needed someone to come and tend the kids in the middle of the night, should I start labor.

I thought of my options. If things went like they did the last few nights, this would stop by 5 or so. I didn't want to bother my friend if it was a false alarm. I didn't want to call my husband either.

The pains continued to get worse. They were now 5 minutes apart. But the pain was on my lower left side instead of the center of my tummy. I finally decided to just drive myself to the hospital. After all, I could call my friend and my husband from the hospital if the nurse admitted me, and all would be fine, and I was only 4 miles from the hospital. I checked on the children and said a little prayer, then got into my car and began to drive to the hospital. At the most, it was maybe a 5 minute drive, so I figured they would be safe until I got there to call my friend. Wouldn't it have been nice in those days to have a cell phone? How did we ever get along without them back then? But due to the intense labor pains, instead of taking 5 minutes, it took me 20 minutes. Each time a pain would come, I would stop the car, squeeze my eyes shut, and breathe through the pain, then start back up again, only to be stopped again about 1 1/2 minutes later. The pains were coming hard and fast now.

A nurse examined me and reported that I was NOT in labor. The pain was on the left side was the baby pushing against my bladder (the nurse informed me, hence the pain in that area) and until it could move to the middle and go where it needed to, I would not have this baby. Even though the pains were very close and I was 3 days overdue, she told me she had called the doctor and he had said: "Tell her I WILL NOT INDUCE her." He would not even come in to the hospital, but he did authorize a sedative but the nurse made me take it in front of her, not after I got home. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? First, knowing I would be driving home with this in my system, and second: That I would administer it to my children when I got home?

I cried on her shoulders, I put my arms around her neck and pleaded for her to just admit me until my husband could come and pick me up. I told her it had taken me 20 minutes to drive those 4 miles. But she was adamant and would not yield. Hind sight and many years of experience tells me NOW that I should have called my friend to go watch the kids, I seated myself in the waiting room and refused to leave. But I was timid and obedient, back then.

Going home was the same, stopping every so often, breathing through the pain and continuing on. It took 20 minutes to get home and by then the sedative had taken effect and labor had stopped. I was ready to just drop peacefully into bed, but what should I find in my bed? My two-year old had found his way into my bed while I had been gone. I had to heft this large toddler back into his bed and he cried a bit when I put him back into his bed. The sedative was no longer effective. I started labor again.

Exasperated by now, I called my husband and told him I had been to the hospital and back, I was not in labor, but the pain was intense, and could he PLEASE COME HOME? Then I got back into the shower to distract me from the pain. As the hot water ran out for the second time that night, I tried to manually take that baby's head and move it to the middle. It did not budge. Then I decided to bear down, like you are supposed to do when you push. . .

oops. I realized to my horror that had done the trick and this baby was ON THE WAY!

Two more pushes and her head had emerged. I noticed the cord around her neck and slipped it over her head. Then she was in my arms. I knew Sailor was coming home, so I just waited, still standing there in the bathtub. I nursed and talked to this beautiful child for a full 5 or 10 minutes before I realized it was a GIRL! Two boys and now a girl!!! I thanked my Heavenly Father for taking care of me and my beautiful baby daughter. I even delivered the placenta and cut the cord before my sweet husband arrived. When he did arrive, it all seemed too quiet. He saw a light coming from the crack of the bathroom door and cautiously opened the door to find me still standing in the tub, but with a baby in my arms.

"Its a girl", I announced.

Poor fellow nearly turned as white as a sheet, and had to lower himself to sit down, so he wouldn't faint. I asked him to take this sweet baby and get her a blanket so she wouldn't get too cold, while I got myself cleaned up and dressed. He said he had to say over and over to himself "blanket, blanket, blanket" in order to remember what I had asked him to do.

After we drove to the hospital and were checked out (miracle of miracles, the doctor was actually there this time) and all was well, was when people began to ask me, "HOW did you do it?" The doctor told me I had done everything right. It was at this point that I broke down and began to sob, realizing what terrible things could have happened to both of us.

Basically my answer was I was guided and directed by a loving Heavenly Father. I prayed for inspiration. I had just read a pamphlet the night before on Emergency Childbirth. I had just seen a movie made by our Church called Man's Search for Happiness. It shows a doctor holding a newborn baby upside down by its feet and stroking its throat, I guess to help the mucus out. I had checked and found the cord around her neck and knew what to do.

My beautiful D1 is now 29 years old, just a few days ago. She suffered no brain damage from the cord around her neck, in fact she is exceptionally bright. She is perfect, just like all the rest of my darling children, and I thank my Heavenly Father for taking such good care of me and my family.

sorry if this was too graphic for you, I had just read a friend's blog titled "How I got this way" and realized that it is times like this in your life that you are effected for the rest of your life.

this is part of how I got this way.



Mike said...

Wow! I have heard all of those stories before, but they are still amazing. Crazy silly Doctors! Those tales make my toes curl, and righteous indignation rise.

Andrew Hahn said...

Glad to hear I played a part. Nothing quite as helpful as having to haul a heavy, sleepy 2-year old around when you're in labor. Heh heh...

Jenny said...

Um, did D1 get older than me somehow? I turn 30 this year and she's a year younger than me. Just thought I would point that little typo out. :)

Annieofbluegables said...

I KNOW this, because she and I were both born with the same last number in our year. I just wrote this because I had just read her profile on the Facebook site. For some reason she said she is 31. I didn't take time to think last night when I wrote that post. The Facebook thing took me by surprise, and I was thinking in my mind. . . How did she get to be 31 already? Thanks for the great editing! Suddenly I feel much younger. . . whew :P


pixiestylist said...

ya, i'm only 29, apparently you edited it cuz it now reads that i'm 29. :) its funny cuz i never tire of this story. i still think its amazing.

Kay Dennison said...

Amazing!!!! I had my son less than an hour after I got to the hospital -- I honestly didn't think I was in hard labor yet. My husband said he was going to study home delivery before he let me have another! lol

RisibleGirl said...

Wow, what an amazing story! I can't even begin to imagine how frightening that was- and that stupid nurse and doctor- I want to just PUNCH them in the head!

I'm awfully glad that you and your daughter turned out OK.

That is quite an entrance into the world D1!

(my funny labor story is that I hated our hand-me-down couch and wished that my water would break on it with s2 and guess what! It did!)

HiHoRosie said...

Amazing story Annie! Thanks for sharing that. I can just imagine the shock Sailor came home to and him repeating "blanket blanket blanket." :) I'm so glad everything turned out as well as it did esp when you received NO HELP from that doc and nurse.


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