September 6, 2010

Labor Days

Today is Labor Day.  Its been more than a week since I last posted, I think, but ohmygosh this week flew by!  I can't even remember what happened or why I was so busy, but here it is, Monday again, and there's so much bouncing around in my brain.

I have the day off today (yahoo!) and have spent a bit of time catching up on blogs and Facebook and this post from SRRM (If you don't read her blog, you SHOULD.  Go there. NOW.) got me all inspired to tell about my own personal Labor Days.

I am the proud mommy of two children here on earth, and two little angels in heaven.  Yes, I will always remember those two little ones and count them among my babies.  Maybe not out loud (not everyone wants to hear sad stories), but always in my heart.  My first Labor Day (October 1, 2004) came far too soon...only a week after discovering I was pregnant, it was fairly painless (physically) and lasted only a few short hours.  The significant emotional pain lasted well over a year, and even now rears its ugly head here and there.

I'm feeling MUCH better after an epi!

My second Labor Day (Feb. 24. 2006) brought Andrew into my life.  That day was a result of a lot of prayer, two months of Clomid (ah, fertility pills) and 12 weeks worth of Prometrium which magnified every possible pregnancy symptom I had.  I had gestational diabetes and developed gall stones, therefore had a very limited diet during that pregnancy.  I started to suffer from high blood pressure (not preeclampsia, just hypertension) and had to go on strict bedrest.  The day I gave birth, I weighed only 3 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight.  I went into labor around 2:30 am when I got up to pee and thought maybe I had wet myself.  Nope...that was my water breaking.  Chris took a nap, I started laundry, and around 6:30 am, we headed to the hospital.  (I have no idea why we waited so long, but oh well...we had a loooooong time yet to go, so I'm glad there was no hurry.)  Anyway, after 14 hrs (so @ 4:30 pm), I was finally ready to push.  I pushed.  And pushed.  And pushed.  And pushed.  For two hours and 17 minutes.
Andrew Lane, miracle #1!

Andrew got stuck in the birth canal for two reasons -- he had (still has) a very large head and was coming out face up.  We had to get out the vaccuum and suction the poor kid out at 6:47 pm. He had a conehead for a few days because of this.  He also had to go to the NICU for a couple of hours to monitor his blood sugar (because of my GD) and regulate his breathing.  We thought his newborn cry (more like a grunt) was the most adorable thing, but apparently that grunting is a signal of breathing difficulties, so he had to have oxygen for a little bit.  He has no problem with a conehead or breathing difficulties now (motormouth that he is!) so he is truly a little miracle.  I, on the other hand, felt like I'd been ripped to shreds.  I had to have multiple stitches due to tearing and couldn't sit comfortably for about a month.  Forget peeing...I would have a panic attack when I would feel the urge to pee because I knew how much that was gonna hurt.  Yikes.  Anyone who feels like they missed out on something special by not having a vaginal delivery can just put their minds at ease now.  Its not the amazing experience you might think.  Yes, having a baby in your arms is incredible, but holding your baby is awesome no matter how it happened.

My third Labor Day (January 16, 2007) had the same outcome as my first, but came about in a far different manner.  When Andrew was about 9 months old, I discovered I was pregnant.  I had been on "the patch" as a means of birth control, and obviously it had not been effective.  I was shocked and actually, quite sad, to realize I was expecting again.  We had no maternity insurance and had no idea where the money to pay for this pregnancy would come from.  We were new to the area so I had no OB/GYN yet and, while I knew that the only reason I stayed pregnant with Andrew was because of the Prometrium, no new OB was going to accept my word at face value, so there was no medical assistance there.  I had no spotting or bleeding and was actually feeling optimistic, as if my body really could get and stay pregnant on its own!  I finally settled on an OB, and went for my first ultrasound at 10 weeks 6 days.  I'd seen one tiny spot of blood the day before, but when it didn't continue, I pushed it out of my mind.  When we got settled and ready to see the baby, though, things changed.  There was a tiny baby, for sure...fingers, toes, everything plainly visible...but so perfectly still.  No heartbeat.  It was torture.  I sobbed and sobbed.  Chris was crying and asking God, "why???"  Since we had no insurance,  we opted to wait and see if I would miscarry naturally at home.  After a week, though, I was at my limit and couldn't take it anymore.  I couldn't emotionally handle carrying around a dead baby in my broken womb.  I got in to the doc's for a quick visit and another ultrasound (yes ma'am, your baby is still dead) and scheduled the D&C for the next morning.  A D&C (dilation and curretage) is an inpatient procedure where the doctor dilates your cervix and scrapes any foreign tissue out of the uterus.  Its a procedure used for many reasons, but in this instance, the doctor scraped my dead baby out of my body.  The emotional and physical pain was beyond anything I'd felt, and I'd already been through one miscarriage and one very difficult birth.

My fourth Labor Day came on June 28, 2008.  I was due to give birth to Hannah on July 6, 2008.  Andrew was born at 37 weeks 6 days, and at this point I was 38 weeks 6 days and thinking this girl would have to be induced to come out.  I had no GD or high blood pressure or any other complications, other than the constant morning sickness (gained 5 whole lbs this time!), thank God.  I did take Prometrium for 12 weeks, but maybe I would have been fine without it.  Who knows.  Anyway, it was summer break so I was out of school.  Andrew was 2 yrs 4 months old and wanting to play outside, but mommy was way too fat and tired for that.  It was about midnight when the first contractions came.  I thought they were more Braxton Hicks, since I'd been having those for quite a while, but they kept getting closer and stronger, so I told Chris to get ready.  We called our neighbor to come over and stay with Andrew while we drove to the hospital.  By the time we arrived I was already 4-5 cm dilated.  Woohoo!  I could get an epidural!  Ha.  I had to have a whole bag of IV fluids first, and that took  By the time the anesthesiologist arrived I was about to rip my own head off.  Contractions suck.
Yep, that's my girl!
Anyway, he put in the epi but didn't turn it up enough because ohmygosh I could still feel the pain.  It was awful.  I finally convinced the nurse to get him back in there, and he turned it up enough for me to rest a bit.  I finally was 10 cm @ 12 hrs later (so around noon on the 28th), and started to push. And push.  And push some more.  Hannah didn't get stuck, but she refused to descend.  Every time I would push she would come down a little bit, but when I would take a breath, she would go back up.  Drama queen.  She started to show signs of distress and I was a wreck because when they broke my water there was meconium in it, and I knew how many complications that could cause...So when the doc mentioned a c-section I said "do it!"  I signed the consent at 1:55, we got in the OR (right across the hall) and Hannah was out at 2:01 pm, screaming her little head off.  She was healthy and beautiful.

Dude, I don't care.  Let me sleep.
We couldn't wait for Andrew to meet his little sister.  He was not impressed.  I do have to say, though, that in my experience, the c-section is the way to go!  I could sit, walk, and pee easily...It was amazing.  The only drawback was that I couldn't pick Andrew up for FOUR WEEKS, and he did not understand why I could hold "that thing" (as he called her) but not him. 

I don't think I've ever written all of this down before, and it feels kind of good...cathartic, in a way.  I have had four very different Labor Days in my lifetime, and I feel blessed for every one.  I have learned and changed through every situation, good or bad, and I have learned to appreciate the many, many blessings I do have in my life.  God has been so good to me.
The precious fruits of my Labor...

1 comment:

Amy said...

Your stories are so touching... I am so sorry that you have had to endure the pain of losing a babies.

on the other side, at having babies around the same ages... I'm laughing my butt off at Andrew calling his little sister "THAT thing" I can just hear it!

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