The Fertility Carousel

Reaching for the brass ring on the fertility carousel (again!). (Because I already caught the brass ring on the infertility carousel and I want to get rid of it!) Two years of trying to conceive, but I finally got baby E. Now we begin going around and around again. Infertility sucks.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My birth story.

No, I haven’t given birth yet! This is the story of my birth. My mom wrote a letter to her sister a couple weeks after I was born and made a copy of it before she sent it. Her sister was pregnant at the time and living overseas – my cousin is about a month younger than I am.

Anyway, here’s the story of my birth… It’s almost exactly as she wrote it except without the spelling mistakes and with slightly improved punctuation :)

(Dad, any details or rememberances to add to this?)

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July 5th, 1974

Dear (sister),

Just found a minute and thought I’d write. Things have really been going fast and exciting and tiring. I don’t think anybody could have told me anything to have prepared me for giving birth. Looking back it was exciting but I don’t think I thought that at the time. Well, as the story goes… Thurs. June 6 I went to the Dr. for my weekly check up and he told me to go home and pack my bag because I’d started to dilate. This alone was enough to put me in a tail spin… what if something happened at work and not knowing exactly what could happen I continued to work although I informed several people of my immediate condition and to be prepared. Although I don’t think they took me serious.

Tues. however several of the guys took me out to lunch as a farewell and while having lunch I had a funny pang and jokingly said well there’s the first… again at 3 I had another – nothing painful but something I hadn’t felt before. Before I left I had cleared my desk and made notes as to what I was doing. By 4:30 and having gotten home I knew this was it! Mark got home and for the rest of the night we timed contractions, at 3AM the mucus plug came out and I called the Dr. – very sleepily and not very concerned he told me to go to the hospital when the pains became regular at 10 min. apart. My best advice at this point is – Man – save your energy and try an get some sleep. ‘Cause you’re gonna need it later! Well, being in my excited state over the unknown near future – I couldn’t sleep.

At 5A.M. Mark got up and had breakfast. The contractions at this time were 3-5 min. but not very severe – I could still walk around. I still didn’t know whether to go in or not. By 6 they had subsided to 15-20 min. We started for the hospital but stopped by some friends’ house on the way – knowing they’d be up and getting ready for work and borrowed their camera.

Arrived at the hosp. at 7 and having been examined was admitted but was only 2 centimeters dilated. This was easy – if things stayed this way it’d be a breeze. By 9 I’d gone to 3 centimeters and my water hadn’t broken. 10 o’clock the Dr. comes in and says “you get more for your money when your water breaks” and proceeds to do so. Within minutes I found out what a contraction REALLY was. I started moaning, tossing, turning and doing everything but relaxing and breathing. Mark stepped in – got right down in my face and started doing the breathing – realizing this was the thing to do I also started. They had a machine – kinda like a microphone that when placed on the stomach amplifies the baby’s heart beat – hers had jumped to 160 – right then I knew it was a girl.

The hardest thing to do was relax during a contraction but not impossible. About 11:15 I started feeling the urge to push so I started blowing because I was only at 8 centimeters. Finally, finally, the nurse said push – I did once and they rolled me to delivery.

Next thing I knew I was being strapped to the table – didn’t even know when the did the episiotomy even thought I had no anesthetic. Mark had dressed in a gown, mask and head covering and was sitting at the head of my bed. With 2 more contractions and straining every muscle in my body I could feel her move down and out, what a relief. She came out screaming and wiggling a bright new shining baby.

Well, that’s it – hope yours is that easy. I say easy but when I got out of delivery I was trembling – couldn’t control myself, exhausted really. I felt like I’d just run in the marathon.


I can certainly see where some women go bananas during labor. If I hadn’t known how to breath and relax instead of fighting it – whew! Don’t think I can even describe a hard contraction – just be prepared!

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I found some more interesting tidbits in a second letter she wrote to her sister. This one was more chatty, so I’ve just typed up the parts that are relevant to the birth and newborn experience.

Excerpts from a letter dated July 10, 1974

…The candy was delicious and probably helped put on these 8lbs I’m now trying to take off which have nicely settled on my stomach and hips. As my total weight gain was 23lbs and Jena only weighed 6lb3oz. The last week I suddenly gained 4lbs – to my horror I could just see me gaining 4lbs each week until she was born but I was told that it’s normal to gain that much in the end due to water retention and baby weight gain….

… Breastfeeding? Has its joys and drawbacks. You probably won’t have these problems. Seems not many Drs (pediatricians) are of the breast feeding school. The first comment the pediatrician made was “1 out of 30 women successfully breast feed.” Well, kinda makes you wonder how the human race ever survived. I think what he meant was today most don’t want to spend the time and have the patience to do it. Another problem came when Jena ha to remain in the hospital 4 days longer than me – don’t know if Mother or (sister) told you – she had jaundice which is yellow pigmentation of skin and eyes caused by her liver not being able t to disposed of the extra red blood cells accumulated in the womb. The treatment is placing such babies under an ultra violet light – not an uncommon occurrence in smaller babies. Well, me being away 4 days and not breast feeding doesn’t help you milk “come-in”. When she did get home I started her on the breast. The first week home she didn’t gain an oz. which she should have and the Dr. said to put her on the bottle for 48 hours to see if it was a problem with her or me. In four days she gained 8oz. He recommended keeping on the bottle. But my being determined (partly feeling inadequate), I continued breast feeding and supplementing with a bottle. By the 3rd week I was leaking like a faucet and no way turn it off. So now everything’s going fine. That first week was miserable – since she was sucking and tiring out and not getting enough to eat she’d wake up every 2 hours 24 hours a day. This is when I almost gave up. Try waking every 2 hours and not feeling like hell the next day. One thing still puzzles me with all the sterilization that has to be done on a bottle and all you do to breast feed is wash of with soap and water and then wipe off with sterilized water. This is sterile? Oh well, sure beats preparing bottles now that I’ve done both…

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