Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Birth Day Memories

My babies are growing up so fast! Afton turned 15 on Sunday and Heath turned 19 today. I am proud of the people they have become and look forward to watching them continue to blossom. This week, however, I couldn't help but think back to their arrivals so many years ago. Here's Heath's story:

We had just moved into a little duplex in Summit, halfway between Tacoma and Puyallup, a few months before Heath was born.  Dave was freshly graduated from BYU and was working as a lifeguard--his old summer college job--while hunting for a "real job". And I spent my days getting the house ready for a baby and working on-call secretarial for my dad's real estate firm. The pregnancy had gone well, baby was healthy and the doctor said it could be any day. I saw him at a 4th of July breakfast, he looked me up and down and told me to call him directly when I went into labor; he was not going to be in the office for a few days.

July 6th Dave's parents came over to the house for dinner and to play cards. We ate fried chicken and I kept my feet up the whole time because they were so swollen.  Everyone took turns poking them and then watching and waiting to see how long it would take the indent to fill back in.  I was super puffy and uncomfortable but in good spirits. Ladd and Peg had brought ice cream for dessert but I didn't feel like having any, a sure sign, they said, that I would be going into labor soon.  Dr Nickel called to check in on me while they were teasing. He would be leaving town the next night and was hoping I would either have the baby before he left or after he got back. I couldn't promise either one but Dave told him about the ice cream and puffy feet and predicted we'd be calling him soon.

He was right. The next morning I got up at 7am to use the bathroom and that was when my water broke. It was just a small gush but I definitely felt the baby settle way down into my pelvis. This was it! I woke Dave up and he called the doctor. Before he even got the doctor on the line my contractions had started and were immediately pretty steady at about 5 minutes apart. Because my water had broken before contractions had begun the doc wanted me to get into the hospital as soon as possible. I wonder now if this also had something to do with his vacation plans?

I hadn't really packed a bag like everyone told me to but I had everything mostly laid out and close by.  We got dressed, packed up, and hit the road in our little red Honda Prelude. I think we got to the hospital by 10am. Contractions were getting closer together, about every 3 minutes when we got there. I walked in, was admitted. Dr. Nickel arrived at some point, as did my parents and Dave's parents and we even had a surprise visit from Dr. Huish, the doctor that had delivered me (he was a family friend).

I don't remember much else of what happened that day except that by the end of it I had a baby in my arms. I got an epidural and at some point I was also given some other pain medication that made me a bit loopy. There was some tearing and thus a bunch of stitches and therefore more pain medication.  I slept that night sitting on ice packs. Dave lay on the chair and the baby in the bassinet. I was shocked to be awakened in the middle of the night by terrible pains worse than  labor pains. They told me it was my uterus contracting, trying to shrink back to size. More pain meds. They came in throughout the night and next day to "knead" my stomach to make sure it was contracting properly and to make sure the baby was nursing well. Both were.

He was so little and perfect and serious. He looked like he knew what was going on. His eyes told me he knew stuff, lots of stuff, like more than I would ever know. He could see through me. He knew my deepest secrets and darkest thoughts but he still wanted me. It made me uneasy and scared and was strangely empowering. At times the look was almost other worldly. Sometimes, at night, I would be nursing him and he would stare straight back at me with his piercing eyes, and I would think "I'm holding an alien! This being grew inside of me, is sucking on me, and staring right through my soul. He will take over and consume me." It was so intimate and uncomfortable and thrilling.
I made this. I made this!--Him!
And he made me.

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