My first child was born in nineteen eighty-five and the second was born in nineteen ninety-two. There was a vast difference in my experiences through these two births and a vast difference in the way they were handled at the hospitals. My first child, a girl, was born when I was twenty-eight and then seven years later when I was thirty-five I had my son. The birthing experience was so drastically different in each case probably due in part to my age and also because the birthing procedure had changed so much in that seven year period.
Even though I was older when my son came along I had made up my mind that we were going to do things pretty much the same way, as natural as possible. We ran into some snags with my son early on which I am not sure came up because of my age or was just purely circumstantial.
I was about six months pregnant with my son and was on my way to pick up my daughter from the first grade. We were going to a doctor appointment together to look at pictures of the new baby. It had been raining most of the day and in different parts of the large metropolitan city we live in they were sending out flash flood warnings. I was keeping my eyes peeled for flooded areas but really did not expect to run into anything.
After picking her up we made it over to the doctor’s office without much trouble besides just driving in the heavy rains. But on our arrival to our destination we were in for a shock! The doctor that was delivering my baby had an office that was set down in a gully of sorts and when we arrived all the cars and the first floor of the building were under water! We quickly backed the car up out of the driveway and looked at each other with panic and apprehension. We were headed home where it was safe!
As we drove to our area of town we saw a few flooded roads but we managed to avoid the really bad ones, that is until we made our way into our neighborhood. The road we needed to use to get to our home was flooded so we kept moving and tried to get in another way. The other way was not much better but there was a train of cars ahead of us and behind us which made it impossible to back up. We saw several cars stalled out and my daughter started to panic and scream, “Oh God help us, Oh God help us!!” Which did not help in this situation. She climbed up on the back of the seat when the water began to pour into the window wells. I dared not stop the car because as long as it was still running I felt as if we had a chance of making it through. I knew this road well and that the lot on our right was empty and went up in elevation a few feet. I decided to drive up on that hill and prayed that there would not be any forgotten water hydrants or anything else that would tear up the bottom of our car. We made it up and out of the water and to a road that was not as flooded and headed back to one of the freeways which by listening to the news seemed not to be flooded. One of the first buildings we came across was a boat shaped seafood restaurant which my daughter demanded I stop at. I could see another family restaurant not too far down the road that I knew she would like better but she would have none of it. She wanted the boat. I am sure she was thinking about Noah and the ark by now and that we would be safe there!
We made it into the restaurant with all the other wet and forlorn travelers that had probably faired about as well as we had. The place was pretty packed with only bar stools left to sit on. Some very nice people saw that I was really very pregnant and gave us their booth. I was huge for six months; everyone was asking me if I was having twins. As we sat there and I tried to feed my girl juice and crackers (since she was not a fan of seafood at this time) I started having what felt like contractions. I thought it must just be the stress and since it had been almost seven years since my last child was born maybe I was over dramatizing the situation. I surely hoped not since all the cell phones were too busy to get a signal and the pay phone was just working intermittently and I had no idea how an ambulance would get to us.
A few hours went by and another lady that I was acquainted with from work was going to head out and check out the roads. She had an SUV and it sat much higher than my car so she asked us if we wanted to follow behind her and if it got too high for her she would stop and let us know. It sounded good to me, my daughter was a little apprehensive but I assured her we would stop and come back to the boat if it was bad. We headed out and it worked our great that we were going the same direction as my SUV friend and we finally made it home! Home, wonderful home! We had a cement bayou a couple streets behind us and big ditches for the drainage and our area had only been flooded out once in all the years it was there so we felt pretty secure. Praise God.
But, the feeling of having contractions persisted. Talking with my mom we decided I must be having false contractions because of the weather and stress so I did my best to relax that night. The next day they were still coming and by God’s great grace most of the flooding had subsided. I called the doctor to see if they were still under water and they told me to come in because the parking lot was emptied of water and luckily they were not on the first floor.
The doctor examined me and I found out I was three centimeters dilated! I was really very concerned and wondered what would happen next. He told me that I needed to take a medication to stop the dilation and that my baby was not fully developed. The baby would need at least two more months in the womb for the lungs to develop fully. I started on the medications but when I did they caused me to feel extremely nervous and shaky and I was more than just concerned about what this was doing to my baby. He changed me to a subcutaneous drip device that would administer the medicine slower than taking the pill which seemed to help but I was still extremely shaky and nervous. He said it was the only way to keep my baby in the womb so I went along with it. It did not stop the contractions and I was put on bed rest and monitoring for an hour at a time. If I had too many contractions in that hour I had to drink thirty-two ounces of water and lie there again for another hour and report again. The contractions were numerous and I finally spoke with the doctor that this whole procedure was stressing me out even more than I was so he upped the number of contractions I could have before they freaked out. It was not fun.
I finally made it through to the date we had agreed upon and stopped the medicines and within a couple hours I was in full blown labor. I really did not expect it to be so fast and when it happened I was home alone. My mother was picking up my daughter at school and my husband was working out in the field a couple of hours away. I was contemplating calling 911 when my mom and daughter drove up, praise God! I had called my husband’s employer and they were getting messages to him that I was on my way to the hospital. By the time my mom, daughter, and I made it to the hospital my husband was already there. I asked him how fast he was driving and he told me I did not want to know.
I had decided on natural child birth again with my second child because I had success with my first child. But with my first child it was over in three hours, not so with this one. This one went on for about eight or nine hours, which I understand in the scheme of things is not so bad, I have heard worse stories. I was just about to ask for something when they told me that it was too late, his little head was cresting. I use the word “little” very loosely because my dearest and most beloved son’s head was fifteen centimeters big coming out of a ten centimeter area and it was not pleasant. They had to help make room for him to come out and I was very grateful for that!
This second natural child birth took quite a toll on my thirty-five year old body and I came out of it snow white and freezing. After they brought about a dozen warm blankets in to cover me with my family was really concerned. It seems that my body had gone into a state of shock and it would take some time to recover. I felt bad all over but was extremely thankful that my baby was doing well and was completely developed as he came out hollering at the top of his new, fully developed lungs!
As I look back on the stress of the situation from six months on I realize the better idea for both myself and the baby would have probably been to take the epidural. We were both under a great deal of stress as shown by the heart monitor they had placed on both of us during labor. I also realize that I should have asked so many more questions and did more research at the time on the medication that I was given because since then this particular medicine has been banned from use for pre-labor for more than two or three days’ time. I was on it for a couple of months! It is said that it can cause brain damage, autism, cognitive disorders, and many other side effects. I praise God that my son was not born with any serious problems but has suffered with ADD and anxiety disorder for his whole life which I attribute to this medication but the doctors refuse to fess up to, of course.
When you are making a decision about a medication or a method of child birth do your research and talk to more than one doctor or authority on the subject. We tend to put our complete faith in the doctors that are in charge of the most precious cargo of our lives and we should never put complete faith in any man. God is the only one we can completely trust and turn to for wisdom especially when it comes to our babies.
About the Author
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net