This is a lengthy one that you might want to skip. Basically this really is for our family history. Also, if you are Hillary and you haven't given birth yet you shouldn't read this. Or really anyone that hasn't given birth but plans to in the future. I did leave out many of the scarier, TMI details, but I think it is still too much for a woman planning on having a baby.
I can't believe I am about to give birth to my last genetic child. It seems weird and is causing me to reflect back on all of my previous pregnancy experiences. And since this is my family's personal history, I best put it down while it is on my brain.
My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Jared and I weren't trying to get pregnant. We'd had a rapid courtship, eloped to get married and had only been married a few months before we got pregnant. Neither of us were planners so we hadn't even discussed pregnancy prevention. I'll blame it on how young we were. Luckily we had insurance through my full time work at 7-11. I even had 100% maternity coverage. Oh the things you take for granted when you're young. I was so sick that I kept postponing my doctor appointments. Whenever I was up to being out and upright I went to work. I finally made it to the Doctor at 13 weeks pregnant. Based on my uterus size they were concerned that they couldn't find a heart beat so we were sent to the hospital for an ultrasound. There we found out the baby had failed to progress past 6 weeks. I was devastated. That child would have been 14 this past December. I had a D&C to terminate the pregnancy.
I tried many methods of pregnancy prevention in between my first pregnancy and my second pregnancy. I wasn't emotionally ready to risk another loss. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my body doesn't do well with chemical birth control. I got pregnant in September of 1999. Every doctor's appointment was terrifying to me. I would hold my breath every time until they got a heart beat. I was again so sick. In February, I even think it was Valentine's Day, we had our ultrasound and found out we had a boy on the way. He was due in July. In the beginning of June I lost my job which turned out to be a good thing. On June 16 at around 7 am my water broke. Jared had already left for work so I had to call him. At first he didn't believe me because we had been fighting. I think he knows me better than that now. We headed to Timpanogos Regional Hospital. My body hadn't gone into labor. I got hooked up to pitocin and settled in. There was a lot of drama through the night. I stopped breathing twice and my blood pressure dropped really low to 60/40. Elijah's heart rate also dropped. The hospital should have probably ordered an emergency c-section one of those times but they didn't and Elijah and I got through it. When those events happened the room was flooded by all the staff on the floor. They tipped my bed upside down, hit me, threw an oxygen mask on, and yelled at me to breathe. Jared woke up at the end of the second event a little confused as to what was going on. He can honestly sleep through anything. When the third shift of nurses started the next morning, my nurse realized that Elijah was posterior breech and I would never get him out on my own. At that point they called my doctor. They had me pushing for 2 hours without the doctor there. I was naïve and didn't realize how weird that was. The doctor said we would have to do a c-section since the 24 hours were up from the water breaking. I was pretty adamant that no I would not have a c-section. I had been through 24 hours of hell. Once the doctor got there he turned Elijah with forceps and we got him pushed out. Jared convinced my exhausted self to leave the hospital after the mandatory 24 hours. He swore he would wake up with the baby in the middle of the night because I felt too run down to do it. Again his unnatural ability to sleep super deeply left me handling a newborn alone all night long. Now I laugh about it, but after that I told him I would never leave the hospital early again.
Next pregnancy was Xander. I always wanted my kids to have a sibling close in age. I love having my best friend sister that is only 18 months younger than me. I was still really sick during the pregnancy. And I was terrified of labor/delivery since it was so bad with Elijah. I was pretty determined to stay pregnant forever but then I started having real contractions 15 minutes apart that weren't doing much progressing. After 24 hours of that I felt pretty insane. I was tired and I couldn't walk through them. I called the doctor to schedule the induction. Jared felt like it was the easiest and the fastest of the deliveries. He didn't go through 48 hours of 15 minutes apart contractions before the induction part so I am sure for him it was quick and easy. Dr. Judd delivered Xander. He had been my doctor since the first miscarriage so that was neat. I also knew more and picked a better facility to have Xander at. He was born at Orem Community Hospital in the early afternoon on December 11. Another detail I remember is on the drive to the hospital they were holding a remembrance for those who had died on September 11. I was worried needlessly that the 11th was a bad day to be born. Jared assured me that it was just because the incident was so fresh that they held these memorials monthly rather than yearly. What can I say, 9 months pregnant ladies aren't the most rational.
My next pregnancy was with Maxwell. Jared and I were dirt poor at this point. We had just moved down to Arizona and he was working to start his own business plus he was sick and sleeping a ton. In November of 2002, I had the words come to my mind that I was going to have a baby in September and that everything would be okay. I retorted that God better be thinking of September many years down the road and God laughed. December was a really rough month for our marriage and I had no desire to get pregnant but somehow (and yes, I know how) I did.
I was the family breadwinner. Not much bread. And now I was sick again with pregnancy. It turned out to be one of my easier pregnancies, only throwing up 2-3 times a day until 20 weeks or so. I did have a few rough weeks though where I was unable to take my thyroid meds because I couldn't keep anything down. I had no doctor until the last half of my pregnancy because of the lack of insurance. I remember my dad coming to town when I was really sick. Carey, Dad and I met for dinner in Phoenix somewhere and I blamed my yucky demeanor on the lack of thyroid medication because of a stomach bug. With the first miscarriage, we had decided to never tell anyone about a pregnancy until it had been confirmed by a doctor and we were at least past the first trimester. Luckily I learned about state insurance for the poor and pregnant so I got insured and was able to begin seeing a doctor. Jared thought it would be fun to wait until we knew the gender before sharing the news. I don't remember if we succeeded at that but I wouldn't be surprised if we did.
I worked at Fredericks of Hollywood Call Center for the duration of that pregnancy. I actually enjoyed my job. I picked my doctor based on the recommendation of one of my friends at work. Actually probably one of my friends at work also taught me about state insurance. (One of the hidden blessings of my pregnancy with Maxwell is that our whole family ended up on state insurance. We were that poor. It turned out to be a good thing in March 2004 when Jared's life ended up costing around 1 million dollars with his motorcycle accident and I, a young mom of 3, didn't have to fill out the insurance paperwork during that time. Jared was also able to get his diagnosis of narcolepsy and started receiving treatment for that.)
Anyway I got to the end of pregnancy and was ready to be done. My doctor scheduled an induction for September 13. I ended up not being admitted until September 20 in the evening because Chandler Regional was really busy with the lucky ladies who actually go into labor. Maxwell was born the 21st in the afternoon and I definitely felt way less beat up than I did after Xander's and Elijah's births. Unfortunately, I was Strep B positive so I had to stay the full 48 hours after delivery. The doctor that was supposed to deliver Maxwell had left to go to Banner Desert since the lady there looked like she was going to go first. After breaking my water it took 30 minutes for transition and I was ready to have the baby. They had to pull the doctor from the next room to deliver. That is how I met Dr. Villa. I have been with his practice since 2009. I had determined to figure out who the doctor was that delivered Maxwell. One of the funny things that happened during labor with Maxwell was the head nurse yelling at Jared for manning the remote. “The TV is for patients!” I wasn't really in the mood to watch TV plus I like sports as well. Jared would have given me back the remote that I had given to him if I wanted it. I was just trying to get through the pain. My method involves squeezing my eyes shut, gripping something, and trying to mentally be anywhere else. Maxwell was a big 9 lbs baby with darker hair (fuzz) and darker skin than his brothers had had. Both of them looked like baldies because their hair was so light. If Jared and I hadn't seen him right after delivery we would have thought the baby had been switched. It was pretty funny.
My next pregnancy ended in miscarriage. It began in August of 2009. I didn't think I would be able to get pregnant again. My body had been in a menopausal state and the doctor didn't know if it would reverse once I got my IUD out. My IUD is the only reason Jared and I were successful at preventing pregnancy for any sort of extended period of time. My IUD also left me sick for the 5 years it was in, but I didn't know it was the IUD until the time to have it in was almost up. I found Dr. Villa through the Internet and made an appointment to see him. I was 12 weeks pregnant for my first ultrasound. The baby had passed at 8 weeks, there was also a mole in the uterus, and I was quite sick per my usual pregnancy M.O. It is pretty rare to have a molar pregnancy with an actual fetus. I was blessed that the baby had already passed. Moles are precancerous and invasive and the doctor would have strongly advised me to terminate the pregnancy immediately even if the baby was still alive. He's a good Catholic and he works out of a good Catholic hospital so he wouldn't recommend that lightly. Basically the mole can kill the mom and/or the baby at anytime if you try to progress the pregnancy. I had another more thorough D&C and started actively preventing pregnancy again.
I wasn't sure if I wanted more kids. I knew I hated pregnancy and the anxiety I felt during it. I had tried to convince Jared to get a vasectomy and told him if we made it the whole 5 years with the IUD not feeling the need to bring more children into the world than I was definitely done. However, I started to feel wrong about preventing pregnancy in June of 2010. I talked it over with Jared and he still didn't want to make any definite decisions but he was fine stopping prevention. I told him we were too old to “accidentally” get pregnant. The boys for sure, especially Maxwell, wanted more siblings. They had been begging for years. Jared made me promise 2 more babies so we wouldn't have 1 all alone and so much younger than the other siblings. We both have sisters that resented this position.
Once we were pregnant I still had the usual anxiety. The official diagnosis of Hyperemesis Gravidarum brought me a prescription of zofran which got me barfing less often but it still wasn't easy. I was really hoping for a girl but was in a place to accept a boy. In October we found out it was a girl. I still worried until the moment she was born that she might actually be a he. Despite requesting gender neutral stuff from our generous friends and family everyone was so excited by girl and PINK! that everything we got was PINK! If any of the first 3 kids would have been a girl I would have refused the PINK! Pink is a lot more exciting and fun when you've been surrounded by testosterone for 10+ years.
Dr. Villa was out of town the week before Amelia was due and the nice doctor I saw offered me the gels to see if we could get my body to go into labor. We went into the hospital on St. Patrick's Day really hoping for a St. Patrick's baby but it wasn't to be. I got sent home dilated to a 4 because the contractions were dying out. We decided to leave the boys at Carey's house since it was late. Luckily we did because once I was in the comfort of my own home the contractions really started picking up. The nurse had told me they would slowly disappear so I tried things like taking a bath and trying to relax. I tried to go to sleep since I was exhausted but the contractions were too strong. Jared was fast asleep and dead to the world. He had no idea what was going on. I got myself ready and after they had been 1 ½ minutes apart for awhile I woke him up. I said to him that we needed to get back to the hospital and he should hurry and take a shower and get ready. He fell back asleep. He is really hard to wake up and get coherent so I got him awake again and finally we went to the hospital. Once we were in the hospital parking lot my contractions disappeared. Fortunately I had dilated to a 5+ so they went ahead and admitted me. They decided to add pitocin. Apparently my aversion to hospitals is strong enough to inhibit labor which requires relaxation. I dilated to a 10 but they had to hold off pushing because my contractions weren't close enough together. Jared decided to leave to get a soda thinking I was asleep. I was actually trying to relax myself through the pain. I tried to get his attention as he walked out but he didn't hear me. Right after he left I delivered part of the bag intact. I was freaking out and all alone. I didn't know what had happened. I buzzed the nurse and she got the doctor. Dr. Morotz told me that it was a sign of beauty and intelligence according to Old Wives' Tales. The nurse of course asked me where Jared was and I didn't know. He walked in to find the hubbub and I think he was a bit confused. My contractions were still 3 minutes apart but I had to push now. It takes an eternity when you have to wait so long in between pushes. Amelia also got stuck behind my pelvic bone so the doctor was working on pushing her around the bone and toward the birth canal. It was an interesting and painful experience. I was quite relieved when she came out definitely a girl.
7 ½ weeks after Amelia's birth I ended up back in the hospital with a Pulmonary Embolism. That wasn't fun and led Jared to start doubting having another child. He definitely didn't want to risk my life at all.
With both Maxwell and Amelia, the nurses said they had “been in the oven too long.” They both exploded multiple times in their hospital bassinets and lost more than the acceptable range. Neither of them were back to birth weight by 1 month old. I think all of my previous experiences show that my body wants to hold on to the babies until a doctor helps to force them out. I think it is funny that with all 5 of my children my labor/delivery experiences have been so different from each other.
We found out we were pregnant at Tom and Lynn's house right after Hillary's wedding in the first few days of June. I again got sick but it definitely wasn't as bad as my other pregnancies. It is actually pretty funny. Jared and I had decided in March that if I wasn't pregnant by July we were done and he was getting a vasectomy. Amelia rejected breastfeeding completely at the beginning of May. With the loss of Jared's mom I had decided the window was over but didn't have time or energy to worry about prevention. All of this busyness led us to the pregnancy of our final genetic child and our second daughter. The stars really aligned to get us pregnant before our cold feet could take over.
I had to get into the doctor as soon as possible to start my Lovenox injections because of the pulmonary embolism. These are daily injections that I did until I was 36 weeks pregnant. I will continue them post-partum for 2 or 3 months. At 36 weeks I switched to twice a day heparin. Because of the prior blood clot I saw and met Dr. Moore who was the first doctor available. I liked his bedside manner and decided to stick with him. This was great because he works Fridays so I was able to schedule the bulk of my appointments on Jared's days off work. I have only seen my high risk doctors and Dr. Moore this pregnancy. It is fun to have the same doctor from beginning to end. It is also fun that Maxwell, Amelia, and this girl will have been delivered by doctors from the same practice at the same hospital- Chandler Regional.
Now I enter my last labor/delivery into unknown territory. I'm not worried that a boy will come out because I have had several ultrasounds in the last month all confirming gender all because of her stubborn breech position. The doctor, Jared, and I would still prefer a vaginal (yes, I just wrote that word) delivery but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. On Wednesday, January 30, we went to the hospital for an External Cephalic Version, E.C.V or version for short. This is a pretty painful and risky process that is only about 50% successful. I had considered attempting foot reflexology and a chiropractic adjustment to get her to turn but 2 weeks ago the doctor thought she had turned. A week ago, the ultrasound showed her in breech. On Monday, I learned that they wouldn't even schedule a caesarean until 40 weeks and that this was my last chance to schedule a version. On Tuesday I decided to for sure try the version. I felt it was my best chance to having this baby before 40+ weeks which leaves me worrying about her having the same issues as Maxwell and Amelia.
The risks of a version are fetal distress, rupturing the bag and ending up with an emergency c-section. The doctor “gently” tries to push the baby in a circle to the correct head down position stopping every so often to check the baby's vitals via ultrasound. After the doctor had gotten her half turned and stopped for a vital check she flipped back up in seconds. It was 6 minutes of pain to get her to the half-way point and she undid it in seconds. Those 6 minutes felt like an hour. I can honestly say it was extremely painful. I am glad we tried though since I have no doubt that she is determined to be breech now. I have prayed throughout the pregnancy and especially in the last month that God would protect her and I in the labor/delivery process and that whatever was best and would get her out before she was over baked would be what would happen. I also asked that if God's will differed that I would have the peace, comfort, and strength I needed to get through it.
Dr. Moore's next hospital day was this coming Sunday, February 3. He asked after the failed version if we wanted to come in for a caesarean that day. I was surprised. Initially he told me to call the office and have them schedule it and that it might not happen because the charge nurse of the hospital has to okay it to be before 40 weeks. Then he decided to go talk to the charge nurse himself and schedule it if she would let him. He is a great people person so I am not surprised that he succeeded.
On Sunday, I will be admitted at 8 am, 2 hours before the scheduled surgery. I will have another ultrasound to see if she decided to turn on her own. If she has turned, we probably won't have her that day. Dr. Moore said we might try the gels before I leave the hospital to see if we can get my cervix more prepared for an induction. As of today I am dilated to a whole 1 and 20% effaced. If my cervix doesn't cooperate, I would be sent home if she isn't breech since I would not choose the risks and recovery of the c-section otherwise. During that 2 hours I will get my I.V. in and talk further with Dr. Moore and the anesthesiologist about concerns, questions, and risks. The baby is taken out in the first 5-10 minutes of the surgery which takes about an hour. I will get to see my baby and maybe touch her for a second before they whisk her away and finish up my surgery. Jared will follow her. This part makes me cry. I will be all alone without my baby or husband. Jared and the baby will make it to recovery before I do. We will then be in recovery for a few hours before I am moved to my room. I will likely have a 3-4 day stay at the hospital because of the c-section and my previous clot. I am nervous about breastfeeding. The failure rate for c-sections and breastfeeding is really high. Jared doesn't think I should worry because we don't have any choice with the outcome and can only do our best.
That evening will hopefully be spent in my room watching the Super Bowl with my baby and Jared. The boys will be enjoying a Super Bowl Party of their own at Aunt Carey's . We are so blessed to have the Bailey's in town. My mom is hoping to arrive Saturday night so she can really help with the house and an Amelia who has a hard time without me. Jared is also taking some time off work. Hopefully they will have enough fun together that they will be able to let me recover. My belly is bruised from the version and Amelia just wants to climb and jump on me and it hurts. It's good for her to get a sister. It's good for her to not be the center of our universe and to have to share resources. But it isn't going to be the easiest transition probably.
I am ready and excited for the final chapter in pregnancies for me and the next chapter of our lives as a family.