Monday, April 14, 2008

The Sweetness Of Sweet Terror

I am always telling people that my face gets very puffy when I am pregnant. Case in point are my before and after pics of Sweet Terror's birth. The first is taken the day that I went into labor. The second photo is only a month later and already my face was returning to normal.
LESS PUFFY FACE: I mentioned earlier that Sweet Terror's birth really deserves its own post and, for lack of anything else to blog about, I think it is time to post it. Really I need to post about each of my children's births just so I know it is written somewhere. This is very long so don't feel like you have to read it. =)

WARNING: The beginning of this is really rather graphic and disturbing and I don't mean that in a comical way. So, don't let your kids read over your shoulder, and please don't eat while reading.

It was 7am, the usual time for waking up, and I stretched as I woke up. The stretch ended in a yell of pain as I curled up on the bed in physical pain. It felt like someone had just sucker punched me in the gut. The pain lasted only a minute and then I was fine. Thinking it was just a wired woman thing I continued to get up and almost fainted. I stabilized myself, figured I had got up too fast, and kissed my husband goodbye, assuring him that I was fine and it was just a bad cramp. Later, around 3pm, I started my period. I hadn't had my period for a couple months but that was normal for me and I figured it explained the earlier pain, just a bad menstrual cramp, right? I don't think I have ever bled so badly in my life. I was changing my Extra Absorbent tampon and Extra Long Overnight pad every two hours and still staining my pants. Then, about 10pm, while changing another round of cotton protection, I felt a mass of something pass through me and fall in the toilet. It was such a shocking feeling I actually scooped through the stuff in the toilet to find what it was. It appeared to me to be a small wad of fleshy something or other, and I also found what seemed like a small piece of liver or an extremely thick and complex blood clot. I have had really freaky periods before and I've seen some monster blood clots in my time but this was something new. I cleaned up, flushed the toilet, silently crawled into bed, snuggled close to my husband and whispered in his ear,

"DSSH, I think I just had a miscarriage." He asked me how I knew, I explained what I had seen, he didn't know what to do or what to say, and neither did I. The bleeding stopped only 10minutes later. Completely stopped. What was I supposed to think? I was on birth control. I had been taking my birth control faithfully every morning between 8:00 and 8:30 every morning for the last year and a half. I did not want to be pregnant, I was actually really hoping that in a year we could make the decision to permanently prevent ourselves from conceiving again. Maybe I should have been relieved? But it was a life, or a possible life, that had tried to grow in my body and now it was gone.

The next morning my husband offered to stay home but I knew he couldn't miss his classes that day. I kissed him goodbye, then I called my mom and I cried, a lot. I was so confused. We were a poor student family and we did not have medical insurance. I had to make an appointment with medicaid to see an approved nurse to see if it was really a miscarriage and to see what I needed to do next. The waiting was the worst part. I wanted to grieve but wasn't even sure if I had something to grieve about. I had such mixed emotions and my heart just couldn't be logical about any of it. The next day I met with the nurse and took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I had been pregnant. I started crying like a baby. She tried to tell me that it was a good thing, I had been on birth control, I didn't want a baby, I should be happy that I didn't have to have an abortion, etc... I know she was trying to make me feel better, but she wasn't. She scheduled me for an ultrasound to make sure that it had all passed.

DSSH came home that night and I fell into his arms crying. I cried for a baby that wasn't wanted and that never had a chance to be wanted. I cried because I didn't know what else to do. I cried because I had let that little body down. My husband held me. I'm still not sure what was going through my husband's mind that day (I should ask him), if he felt any loss or if he was just as confused as I was. He held me close and whispered that if I wanted to try and have another baby after this he would fully support me in it. It was an exhausting night.

The next day I was in the ultrasound office (alone again as my husband is in class) waiting for the technician. Looking around I notice a board full of ultrasound pictures from the various stages of pregnancy, 1 week, 2 weeks, 9weeks, 38 weeks,etc. In comes the technician and I tell my story for the 4th time that day and how I am there to make sure everything has passed from the pregnancy. I lay down and she inserts the wand. Instantly I recognize an image similar to the one labeled "9 weeks" on the wall. "Oh, there is a heart beat, and a good strong one too." she says. I cry harder than I have cried the last 2 days. How? How could this be? How could there still be a baby? How could I be pregnant? Oh my gosh, I don't want to be pregnant! Yay, the baby is alive. Why don't I want it to be alive? Why is this happening? That poor technician, I don't think she was prepared for my reaction. I was sobbing and rambling on and on about my situation and my confusion. I left with a picture of a faint white blur with a bright light in the middle for a heart, and a pile of Kleenex pressed to my face. My husband comes home to an even soggier wife than the night before. He holds me and calmly tells me that this is wonderful, that I can do this, that it will all be ok, and that he is happy.

I spent several months in a blur of pregnant confusion. Often my prayers would include me telling Heavenly Father that I was ok if this baby had to miscarry too because I really was scared of having another baby. I was scared of bonding or getting attached because I was told there was a risk of miscarriage due to the previous bleeding/miscarriage. It was a tear filled, sleepless, guilt ridden time for me.

Later, after a very trying ultrasound experience (I had to go by myself with my three children and the two boys happened to be very mischievous and active at that time. Picture me on the table, holding Monster Man's hand as he crawls under my table and tries to unplug any wire he can find, and Pablo crawling up over my head to push buttons on the wall, and Cookie obediently sitting in her chair reading a book. When the doctor asked if I wanted to know what I was having I was almost too scared to answer. I finally asked for the sex and she said it was a girl. Just to make sure she wasn't trying to pull a dirty trick on me I asked her to show me several times that it was a girl. I said, "Now, are you just saying that you don't see a penis, or are there actual girl organs that you are sure won't change into boy parts?" She was certain and was very patient as she highlighted the special little white blurs that meant it was a girl. As Monster Man was making the bed tip, and Pablo had just made something beep, I started to cry in relief.) anyway, after the ultrasound, and after the baby started to kick I finally allowed myself to accept this coming baby and to feel joy. It was exciting to think of having a girl, to use that blessing dress that I had bought when I thought Pablo would be a girl, to use that lovely name I had picked out for Pablo when I thought he would be a girl, to fulfill that dream that my husband I both had, when we were newly married, of having two girls. Yes, I was excited to be having a girl and I'm sure that makes me sexist but I don't care. Bring on the pink! I was ready for it.

But, isn't this supposed to be about the birth? Oh yeah, but now that seems to pale in comparison to all the other birthing stories you've all shared, so I will just make it short and sweet.

I was 8 days overdue and scheduled for inducement (as I am with all my babies, my body does not like going into labor and my water has never broken by itself) and my mom was visiting. Figuring that I had nothing to loose I decided to finally give in and try that old caster oil idea. I drank 3 tablespoons (I just pretended I was eating EXTREMELY greasy onion rings and it really wasn't so bad) and then packed the kids up to go to the aquarium with my mom. We walked all over the place. On the way home I felt contractions but they didn't hurt, they just caused me to stop talking for a few minutes here and there. The contractions kept coming but I was sure they were just Braxton Hicks and nothing to worry about. My husband came home and kept asking if I was in labor. "I really don't think so. Labor hurts WAY worse than this. I think I was just over active today so my body is a bit wound up." We all went to bed and at about midnight my water broke. MY WATER BROKE. It was amazing. My husband rushed me to the hospital, I was put in the smallest birthing room I've ever been in (apparently you only get the good room when you have a reservation), I was given the worst iv I've ever been given (nurses, when an experienced mother shows you which vein to poke, please listen, no matter what you were told in medical school yesterday, because she knows what she is talking about. After 7 tries, and my screaming and crying in serious pain, an older nurse finally came in and used the vein I had been pointing to and it slid in without a problem), and the baby started coming.

That little room was so hot that they had to put ice packs on my head, I started to loose consciousness so then they had to put an oxygen mask on me, so my face was covered in all this stuff and it was hard to scream and push while feeling like I was wearing Darth Vader's mask. Luckily she just slid right out. It was is if the birth canal was greased and ready with all the oil I had drunk. She came so fast that they weren't able to get a needed antibiotic into my system before delivery and so they whisked her away to do some testing. This was the first time that the baby wasn't put instantly on my chest and I freaked out. I was yelling, "Where's my baby, WHERE'S MY BABY?!?!?!" as I rip all the stuff off my face and head. Everyone, including my husband, was so intent on the new baby that it took them awhile to realize that the lady on the bed was going to start killing people if they didn't show her her baby or at least explain what was going on. They gave me my new little girl and I quickly calmed down.

She was born on Thanksgiving Day. Sweet Terror was a chubby, red, healthy baby. She was such a good baby, too. She ate well, she slept well, she was easy to please. She was a breath of fresh air after the Monster Man and Pablo babies. She may be a terror now but she is also very sweet and I am so glad that she managed to make her way here despite my efforts not to conceive again. It was because of her calming influence on me that I felt it possible for me to have another. Thank you, Sweet Terror, for coming into my life. I love you!


Family Adventure said...

Oh my goodness...what a story! I was just riveted, reading this! I can imagine how scared you must have been that you might lose her, after that frightening start to the pregnancy.

Oh, the joy of having a girl - that doesn't make you sexist at all. I would have loved a little girl, too :)


PS: It is nice to see pictures of you, too. Great to put a face to the voice, so to speak!
PPS: Didn't realize you live in Seattle. Seattle is one of my favourite US cities!

Kacy said...

Thats all that is not puffy in the photos so is the belly, but a belly which carried your beautiful baby girl. It was all worth while in the end judging by the pictures.

mom huebert said...

Wow. I'm glad you-- and Sweet Terror-- survived all the upheaval!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I still think you think you look puffier than you really are :) !!

Even though I have heard this story before, I was still captivated while reading about all the conflicting emotions you were feeling. Some of them seem so familiar to what I have felt.

I am glad Sweet Terror made it into your life. We are still hoping at some point to have another girl :) !!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

I am soooo the same. My face get puffy and then about 5 days afterwards starts going back down.

Charlotte said...

Wow, we have so much in common that I don't even know where to start! First of all - the puffiness? SO me too. Except it's my whole body. Second - I had a miscarriage just like you (when we didn't want to be pregnant) & all the attendant mixed emotions. Third - I have TOTALLY done the ultrasound while grabbing/screaming at/bribing the other small children.

What an ordeal! Congrats on a lovely little girl:)

Michal said...

i'm welling up. i loved the ending. i feel like my fourth (and first daughter) has made it possible for me to want more.
by the way, if you EVER have to take toddlers into an ultrasound again, please call me. i know that we probably live in different states, but i would watch anyone's kids for them rather than have them go through that!:) it's a wonder you all survived it.

Happy Days said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing!

Leslie said...

Wow...did they ever tell you what happened at the beginning of your pregnancy? That is just amazing!

And labor on caster oil? My mom took it when she was ready to deliver with me...the problem was...she was already in labor (yeah, she has a way high pain threshold). I think it really kicked her labor into high gear and I was born 15 minutes after she walked in the hospital door.

Magirk said...

Such a wonderful story. :)

I took castor oil for our first daughter (a week overdue and highly irritated). Worked like a charm. Wicked contractions, though.

Thanks for sharing your story. :) I loved reading it.

Happy face said...

I wish I'd known about castor oil! I totally understand about toddlers and ultrasounds. My boys went with me to my appointments---3 year old twins. I don't recommend the experience to anyone either! Did you ever find out what happened at the beginning?

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Leslie and Happy Face,
Well, it is likely that there were twins and one miscarried. That is actually common in my family (though my sister actually gave birth to twins last year). But I'm not 100% sure because I've never had a miscarriage before, though several people have told me that that is what it sounded like.

Cocoa said...

That's what it sounds like alright (about being pregnant with twins). That's what happened to my friend.

Amazing story! Sweet Terror really needed to come to your family!

Magic Beans Buyer said...

Amazing story, L. You are so good at communicating feelings and emotions. Even though I've never been through something quite like this, I felt your anxiety, confusion and joy.

When my third baby was whisked away right after birth (with no immediate explanation) I felt like ripping things off too. Thankfully, she just needed a little fluid suctioned out of her lungs and was brought to me soon after.

You've got nothin' on my pregnancy puff. :)

Sea Star said...

What a story. I can only imagine the emotions involved in losing something that you didn't even know about and then discovering that you had something else that didn't even know you wanted but thought you didn't.

You are a great story teller!

Becks said...

Wow. What a great story. And so well written. I'm sure hefting the two boys around under each arm contributed to your labor onset as well! Thanks for the good cry. I needed it!

You're a super cute pregnant lady!

Lisa said...

You know with this one I will watch your kids ANY time you have an appointment...I'm probably available. Only if you agree to watch mine come August and September!!

I'm convinced that EVERY baby is a miracle just because of all the things that can go wrong. I'm glad Sweet Terror made it here okay!

Lynell said...

You write so well and I love your honesty. Thanks for sharing!

I did the castor-oil thing with my second son. Oh man was I sick. But then the same thing happened. My water broke. It was delightful! hee hee

Aren't little girls such a joy. Ours snuck in there at the end and we couldn't be happier. Ü

Packer Family said...

I know just how you feel! I'm glad sweet terror was ok.

Anonymous said...

That is quite a story! Life is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

I have had to be induced in some way with both of my deliveries, too and I don't want to with this one! The trouble is I have big babies and they come late! My doc doesn't want a 10 pounder (and neither do I)!!

BlueBella said...

Oh. My. God. What an amazing story! I had to stop several times to cry! Whoa, I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing story...I, too, had two miscarraiges before the birth of my first child. I can really relate. And Paul and I weren't hadn't even decided we wanted more children when we got pregnant...and then at 20 weeks found out it was twins! But God is hard as it is sometimes...I need to remember that. Bless you, and thank you so much for sharing such an intimate part of your life.

Richelle said...

I finally got around to reading this story. I had saved it to read later since it was a little long. :)

That is an amazing story! Thanks so much for sharing!