Saturday, September 27, 2008

Everything Child

To some people we had the “perfect family”, we had the girl and boy, what more could we want? Two wasn’t our idea of the perfect family and we wanted another. We planned his pregnancy around Bill’s bicycle trip to Canada. He asked me if I wanted to travel with a baby or be pregnant, I decided it would be easier if I was pregnant. When people first found out I was pregnant, we got a lot of “Was it an accident?”

We had a big decision to make when we got pregnant, our midwife had moved that we had used with Ian and we didn’t want to go back to the hospital. A friend recommended we travel all the way down to Culver City to Salee and Vic Berman, a husband/wife team, he an OB, she a CNM. Bill and I went down to meet Salee and fell in love with her, so we prepared for the drive.

It was a busy time, besides the bicycle trip, Alexa was going to be starting kindergarten; Eric was due a few weeks into the school year. We planned to have both Alexa and Ian at the birth; a friend was coming down to keep an eye on them for us.

I started labor five days after my due date, around 3:30 a.m. Contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, but only lasting 30-40 seconds. Bill called Connie to come over, I was busy packing the last minute things, when Bill and Connie said “You labor, we will pack” and took the list. We finally got on the road at 6:30 a.m., as rush hour was beginning. A short time later Alexa asked “Am I missing school?” and I said “Yes, you can either go to school or see the baby be born.” She decided she wanted to see the birth. Just about the time we got down to the San Fernando Valley I was looking around the car and asked “Where’s my suitcase?” Bill said, “Suitcase? Was that on the list?” I said, “NO, I just thought if you put everything in it, should bring it.” I then did what any laboring woman would do in that situation, I started to cry and say “I have nothing to give birth in or put the baby in.” Bill pulled off the freeway and called my parents who had come in from Arizona the day before for their birthdays. They said they would go to the house and get the suitcase and bring it down. Fantastic, but then I panicked what if I was in the middle of giving birth when they were there? I mean, I do love my mom, but she is rather domineering, and I didn’t want her there.

When we finally got down there it was 9:30 and they were all guessing where we might have pulled over to have the baby. Once I found out we didn’t have the suitcase, my labor slowed way down. But since I was 6 cm. they weren’t sending me home. Bill and I went walking up and down Venice Blvd., around noon my parents arrived with the suitcase; I knew they had to leave soon as one of my sister’s was taking them to see “The Phantom of the Opera.” They took Alexa and Ian out to lunch and then just as they were leaving I had a contraction, my mom put her hands on my belly and Bill, who was standing behind me, said “She is having a contraction,” my mom said “I know, I just want to feel.” Bill said, “She doesn’t like to be touched when she is having a contraction.” My mom left her hands on my belly; I could sense Bill wanting to yank her hands off my stomach. They left soon after.

Bill and I went for yet another walk, this time with Connie and the kids, we went and sat in a beautiful church for a while and I think we all said a prayer. We came back to the Birthing Center and took a nap, when I woke up, I was having stronger contractions, and Vic said “Go out for another walk.” We must have walked at least 10 miles that day. We saw a MGM store and went in and bought a beach towel for the baby with the MGM lion on it. The guy in the store asked if I was in labor and Bill said “yes.” He pointed and said the hospital was right across the street, Bill said we weren’t having the baby in the hospital, you should have seen his face.

We went back to the Birth Center and labor was moving along nicely. Bill was a wonderful coach, sensing my needs even before I did. Around 10 p.m. Connie and Bill were talking out in the hall and she asked when he thought the baby would be born, he didn’t want to guess, she said around 2 a.m., Bill said he thought it would be by midnight. I thought “How dare they guess when I would give birth.” Soon after I felt like I was going to vomit and Bill handed me a trash can, when I vomited, I felt a “pop”, my water had broken, Salee checked me and I was 9 cm. A short time later I needed to use the bathroom and walking back down the hall was so hard, when we got back to the birthing room, Alice, Salee’s nurse popped her head in and asked if everything was okay, Bill said “Yeah” kind of unsure, Alice then yelled to Salee, “Dorene is grunting, get in here.” I had no idea I was grunting, Salee came in and said “We have a head.” My mind went racing, she said it had dark hair, Bill yelled to Connie to bring the kids in. I pushed a few times and we let him be born gently. He was born at 10:32 p.m. Salee placed him on my chest, where I began to cry with joy. Ian seeing some blood started to cry and I told him they were happy tears, Alexa and Ian went running out of the room, a short time later they both came back with little cups of water saying “Mommy, you must me thirsty after all that work.” Eric started nursing right away, Salee then asked to weigh him, the scale said 10lb. 8 oz., she thought for sure he was 11 lb. and made Bill go get her scale out of her car, he was 10lb. 8oz. As Eric nursed Bill looked out the 5th story window down on Venice Blvd., he saw a man walking down the street, and he said “That guy has no idea the world just changed.” Eric was born with a serious look on his face and Salee said “What do you have to be worried about it, you just got here.”

Eric is now a young man of 18. We called him our “Everything Child” because he just was always trying to figure out things, not a bad child, just always with his mind going. His appetite has remained the same, he is always eating. He has graduated from high school and is attending college now. Recently he has had more than a young man his age should have to go through, loosing three young friends in the last month. I told him I just want to wrap my arms around him and not let him go.

He has grown into such a tall, handsome young man, who still loves to say “Love you Mama.” I never tire hearing that from my kids.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

He is Just so Sweet

We had planned a homebirth for our 5th child, but things didn’t go as planned. The last few months of my pregnancy was very stressful, found out my father had terminal disease, my family (parents and sisters were causing problems) and my oldest son’s 4th grade teacher was not doing the proper job in her teaching. Isaac seemed to turn like a clock in my belly, never staying in one place for too long. Women under stress tend to hold their babies in malpositions. A few times I started having contractions, but I was not happy and did not want to bring a child into the world if I wasn’t happy and almost willed myself to stop. But two weeks after Isaac was due my body could no longer stop nature. I started having contractions while at a party, it seemed like things were moving along by the time we got home I was 6 cm. dilated. My oldest and most wonderful sister was babysitting our children. She left and we told her we would call when the baby was born, I labored all night long, I had dilated up to 8 cm. and the baby just didn’t seem to be coming, I labored in many different positions trying to get him to change his position, I could feel pressure in my right hip. The kids woke up and were surprised that I hadn’t had the baby yet. Bill decided to call my sister and have her come over, Bill suggested we go to the hospital, but I knew that meant I would end up with a c-section and I didn’t want that, I wasn’t ready. We waited another 2 hours and I decided to take a shower, where no one could hear me, I cried my eyes out, knowing I had done all I could, when I got out I told Bill we should go to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital they insisted that I have an ultrasound to make sure it wasn’t twins (I knew it was just one of my big babies). That was the most pain I was in during my labor, laying on my back with my head tilted down and having cold jelly spread all over my belly. Bill told the tech that if he saw anything not to say anything because we didn’t know what we were having, he said “You don’t want to know?” Bill said, “We have come this far and I think we will know soon enough.” He couldn’t believe we didn’t want to know. We have never found out what were having, we like to be surprised. It was decided that I would have a c-section. I won’t go into details of how the doctors and nurses treated me, let’s just say they rather enjoyed the fact that the Bradley teacher was having a c-section. We aren’t against c-sections when they are NEEDED.

In the operating room they have my arms strapped down and a drape up so I can’t see anything and I kept saying “Where is my husband?” Finally they brought Bill in. Bill watched as they cut me open and could see that the baby had his head on his shoulder and had turned toward my right hip, a head a shoulder just don’t fit through the birth canal. As they lifted Isaac out, Bill said “It’s a BOY!” and started laughing, he thought for sure it was a girl, but I told him it HAD to be a boy because it was so stubborn! Bill rushed over to where they had brought Isaac and I started crying (I cry after every baby is born) and was trying to get a glimpse of my new son, all I could see was dark hair. Finally they brought him over for me to see, for all of about 30 seconds. I remember his little sweet face and his little hand wiggling out from the blanket, he was beautiful, they unstrapped one of my hands and I reached out and stroked his sweet face.

Bill went to the nursery with Isaac and made sure they didn’t do things that we didn’t want to him. When they moved me from recovery the nurse asked “Do you want to stop by the nursery and see your baby?” I said “YES,” I hadn’t got to hold him yet. Bill brought him out and asked if I was up to nursing him and I said yes. The nurse said, “Let’s get her to her room.” About a half hour later they brought him in and I nursed him and held him, I never wanted to put him down. Because I didn’t get to hold him right away (yes, I was jealous that Bill got those first few hours with him), I wanted to hold him even more.

There are some people that say, what a waste 18 hours of labor for nothing, no it wasn’t a waste, I needed all that time to do everything I could to try to turn him in a more favorable position, I NEEDED that time to come to terms with everything. My mom’s first words to me were: “I knew something would go wrong” my response was, “Nothing went wrong, I was fine and the baby was fine, things just didn’t go as planned.” There were those who said “Bet you wish he was a girl,” no, no I didn’t. Bill and never got pregnant because we wanted a boy or a girl, we wanted another child. I wanted what came out and that was Isaac, this sweet, innocent, beautiful baby boy, my boy.

My sister Freda was wonderful, she went grocery shopping and made lists up for Bill what there was to put in lunches and what to make for dinner. The best thing my parents ever did for me beside give life, was blessing me with such a wonderful older sister.

Twelve years later, the first words that most people use to describe Isaac is “He is just so sweet.” He is, he is a good brother to his brothers and sisters. He never seems to amaze Bill and me with his level of thought and his kindness. I can’t help but look at his face and smile; he still is just so cute!