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Sunday, December 4, 2011

a birth story - Tina Nightingale

The wonderful, Tina, mom of now two children, shares her birth story. Thanks, Tina, a great story! Just goes to show that some challenges can bring something - or two things - so absolutely amazing and beautiful!
Everyone fears giving birth … the unknown is unbearable!

I truly believe that ignorance is bliss. My husband and I always knew we wanted to raise children together but we could have never predicted these two most joyful, wonderful, unexplainable, difficult, heartwrenching, and most of all beautiful journeys. We are the proud parents of two perfect babies. My son Dominic is 4 years old and my daughter Mackenzie is 9 months old. Their journey into this world has taught us many lessons … lessons that changed us for the rest of our lives.

I never imagined when we decided to get pregnant that fertility treatment was going to be part of our experience. It was September 2006 when we decided to get pregnant with our first child, and not too long into the process we realized and were informed we needed medical interventions.

With fertility treatment we were pregnant 2 months later. My pregnancy was pretty “boring” (what my doctor would say at each appointment) until my appointment at 34 weeks. My blood pressure was extremely elevated and the doctor was concerned. At 35 weeks, I was hospitalized and notified I would be induced within the next week for safety precautions. We were explained the process …“pictocine” (a medication that I now believe was invented to torture women) was the drug, which would help my little boy enter this world early but safely.

I was brought into labor and delivery at 7:30PM on august 12th 2007. I remember my husband trailing behind my wheelchair with a cart full of our luggage. I had been in the hospital for 9 days, but it felt like months. As na├»ve as I was my birth plan was very specific in the sense that I was going to use NO pain medication … all Natural I thought! I smile now!

They brought us to our room and said they would start the induction process tonight and hopefully I would have my baby sometime tomorrow … I smile again! If only it had happened that way. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see and hold my baby.

Finally, all of my dreams would come true and as soon as my baby would take his first breath, the face he would see would be mine. I would kiss him all over and let him know how much he is loved! My thoughts were quickly interrupted by a well-meaning nurse who explained that because he was premature, my son, would probably be whisked away to avoid any complications. My heart broke knowing I was not going to be able to immediately hold him close and his first sight and touch in this world wasn’t going to be mine.

Medication to start cervical progress was introduced at 10PM, and at 8AM on august 13th pictocine was finally administered. Not even 1 hour into my contractions I was begging for pain medication. My contractions lasted for the next 20 hours. I had contractions every 2 minutes (with an epidural that partially worked). I was in so much pain. My mom and husband were present and all I could see on their face was complete despair. Both wanted to help but knew there was nothing they could do … this road to be traveled was mine and mine alone.

After 16 long hours of complete unbearable pain it was finally time to push. At this point I had a burst of hope I felt as though the end was near … however, my little miracle had a mind of his own and would take his sweet time to enter this world.
Anyone who knows my son will also say that his birth matches his personality in every way.

After 3 hours of pushing my husband felt distraught and figured our little man would never come out but I knew … I knew that he would come on his own time! Still his personality to this day … give him TIME and space to figure things out and everything else will work itself out. After 4 long hours of pushing and 36 hours after the start of induction Dominic was finally born. My beautiful baby!

I remember seeing him, his little feet, being taken away a few feet from me with the NICCU doctors … If only I could explain the hole in my heart that was formed when I first laid eyes on my precious baby but could not even touch him once! Everything mattered in this moment but all I could think and say was “why is he not crying! why is he not crying! why is he not crying!” I became hysterical and as soon as I felt as though I would lose my mind … I heard the most amazing sound … his first cry … his voice was angelic … nothing felt as good as hearing him tell me he was fine and couldn’t wait to be in my arms.

Dominic was perfectly healthy and within 10 minutes my husband was holding him. My mom and dad got to hold him and then the NICCU doctors took him again to reassess. I quietly said: “Can I hold my baby” yes I said it I had not yet held him … everyone laughed realizing their mistake and handed me my little boy … I remember thinking HE is JUST too PERFECT. I looked up above and thanked God for this great gift. Having my baby boy in my arms felt like nothing I had ever felt in my life.

Even with so much thankfulness and joy a small hole in my heart was present for months after his birth … I was not the first person he had laid eyes on, and I felt I deserved nothing less than to be the first to hold him … HE DESERVED IT TOO. Dominic ended up having a newborn infection and we had to stay in the hospital for 7 days but went home in 6 since he was doing great. I remember telling myself after Dominic’s birth that never again would I ever get induced … they would have to do a c-section!!!! I smile again!

The journey to my daughter’s birth was extremely different than my son’s.

I can tell you that my daughter’s conception, birth, and infant phase has been full of roadblocks but, oh my everything about her screams strong and determined little woman and I LOVE everything about her.

Knowing that we would have to follow the path of fertility treatment with our second child we decided to start trying to conceive earlier than originally planned. Little did I know that the process I was about to embark was going to be the hardest and most heartwrenching life experience I will have ever survived. If anyone has survived (and I do mean survived) the process of fertility, they understand, if you have not then you don’t … hearing “it will happen when it happens” is the worse well-meaning advice that anyone could speak.

After 15 long months of fertility treatment, multiple medical bills, and 5 IUI’s later we were finally pregnant. We had tried so long to get pregnant that my anxiety over miscarrying was unbearable … but this little one was coming and nothing would stop her … at our 20 week ultrasound we were told that she had a bright spot in the heart (we later found out it absolutely means nothing if found on its own with no other markers but nevertheless … stressful!).

Throughout my pregnancy the doctor kept a close eye on my blood pressure but this pregnancy was also pretty “boring.” My blood pressure started being slightly elevated at 38 weeks. I remember walking in the doctor’s office at 38 weeks and feeling like I was going to die … now might I remind you I had Dominic at 36 weeks I had never been beyond 36 weeks pregnant. Oh my goodness I truly believe that after 37 weeks of pregnancy women should be put out for the remainder of the time … the backache, heartburn, swelling not funny! Oh and the wait! The doctor checked my cervical progress and nothing was happening … my daughter was comfortable in utero and had no intentions of coming out. At this point I need to remind you how I said I would never again be induced after Dominic’s birth well guess what at my 39 week appointment when my doctor announced there was still no progress … here were my exact words to her “It might sound crazy but can I get induced” yup I said it I ASKED to be induced … that is how bad being 39 weeks pregnant felt for me!!!

Since it was my second child the doctor agreed. My husband and I walked the labor and delivery hallway to be induced on February 14th at 7:30PM. Both of us walking quietly knowing full well what each other were thinking. Silently reliving my son’s birth … the good and the bad. At 11PM cervical medication was introduced. We went to sleep and at 3AM I woke my husband asking him to sit with me. I was having small contractions about every 10 minutes. Nothing I couldn’t handle but his company was comforting. At 10AM the doctor came, checked my cervix, and said I was dilated to 4 and 90% effaced. I thought to myself “oh my” this is nothing I could do this for days … I was a wimp with my first … oh wait! no pictocine yet! Ah that’s the difference and might I say a huge difference.

Doctor said she would be back at 12PM and would check for progress. It was encouraging she said we might not have to use pictocine my body seemed to do be responding well and was basically doing the work on its own. At 1PM the doctor checked my cervix and no progress had been made, so I was informed pictocine and “breaking my water” was the next step. The nurse explained that these two medical interventions will start labor quickly and bring and extreme amount of pain. She recommended the epidural. My thoughts were well I am not in that much pain and besides the epidural didn’t work last time … but my dear husband reminded me “why feel pain if you don’t need to” … so I agreed to it still fearing that it wouldn’t work and also that I could be paralyzed (loll I don’t now why but paralyzing has always been my biggest fear). Nevertheless it made sense to get it … well at 3PM I had a WORKING epidural, picotcine, and in full labor. I FELT NOTHING my husband and I were watching DR.PHIL. then the INSIDER. I was happy as a bee and the only reminder of labor was the monitor tracking my contractions.

At 6:59PM my husband and I were having a conversation about the new maternity department when suddenly I looked at my husband, turned white, and quiet … so sudden that my husband got our nurse … the pain I felt was sudden and oh my *&^%#@ God if only I could explain … the nurse quickly came … I was fully dilated and effaced and my daughter’s head was visible … it was time to push … and for some reason or another in her descent my daughter blocked the epidural. I went from feeling no pain to full-blown labor pains. I became delirious that is all I can say … the nurses and the doctor (in training) were telling me don’t push! don’t push! you need to wait for the doctor … I was yelling back you’re a doctor catch her …

I heard one nurse say I think the doctor went home to rest and then heard my husband say I hope not he lives in Gorham. At that point the only thing I was doing is yelling I am not %$#@!& waiting I am going to poop and this baby wants to come out … to be honest it felt as though I had to hold diarrhea in … I was in so much pain and my body just wanted to push.

The poor doctor (in training) kept saying don’t push I need to do this first and that first and the more she said don’t push the more I yelled at her saying that she was incompetent and too slow. I did apologize later. The importance of being the first one to hold my daughter was not only a dream but also a must. I needed that whole in my heart filled.

After exactly 10 minutes of pushing (4 pushes later) my baby girl was born. I held out my hands to her as she came out and brought her real close to my heart … that hole and emptiness was finally gone. My baby girl was staring straight into my eyes … her eyes wide open and we stayed connected for what felt like hours … my first words to her was “welcome to the world baby girl … we love you soooo much!” nurses kept asking if they could take her to assess her vitals, and I just kept shaking my head no … they understood (we had shared our past experience).

This little girl I had tried so hard to conceive and waited too long for was finally in my arms … again I looked up and thanked God for her … for both of my healthy children!

If there is one lesson I have learned about becoming a mom it is nothing wonderful, miraculous, and worth waiting for comes easy in this world and that all the struggles and heartaches do fade away as soon as that beautiful face stares straight into your heart.

I cherish every moment with my children and try not to fret the small things. These two children truly complete me … they are my heart and soul and they both have taught me that love has no condition, no measure, and especially no boundaries. After having them I finally understood why God gives us a passage through life … this passage is to teach us LOVE and nothing less or else. Without this kind of love no human can become celestial.

I try my very best to be the best mom I can be knowing full well that I cannot do it perfectly … but I can surely try!

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