Project 52 – 30 Years Old, and a New Baby! – Part One

It’s time for Project 52, Week 30!

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30 weeks ago, on my 52nd Birthday, I began Project 52. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, each week I’m taking one year of my life and blogging about it. This week, I’m covering the year I was 30, June 14, 1994, to June 14, 1995.

As I mentioned last week, I began the year I was 30 pregnant, on bed rest, and on terbutaline trying to slow down frequent early contractions.

But turning 30 is a great occasion for a party, and it was also a wonderful time to see my friends from church who’d been bringing me food. Steve threw me a lovely party and folks came to me.

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My calendar says I had some visits the week after my birthday. Rob Dalton, my friend from Lakewood First Baptist, the church I attended in high school, was in town on a business trip and stopped by (since I couldn’t go to him). I remember it was great to see him.

A couple days later, the de Rivera family — our friends from Biola, from Los Angeles, and from Philadelphia — came to see us and spent the night.

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June felt a little like I was ensconced in luxury, holding court, with beloved friends coming to me!

But — the next day was another trip to the hospital — and Steve left for a trip with the Brass Quintet to Seattle for a week. I’ve got notes that every day while he was gone, ladies from the church brought me lunch and dinner. My neighbor and church friend Penny took Josh while I was in the hospital that first day. (No more delaying the trip for my contractions! They were too common now.)

I had two more trips to the hospital while Steve was gone. They weren’t overnight, but my notes say those three hospital visits lasted 4, 8, and 6 hours. Typically, they’d hook me up to an IV and give me fluids and IV terbutaline. At least I think that’s what went on. Anyway, they’d hook me up to a monitor, verify that I was having contractions, and give me drugs to try to slow them down. I went in when they were only a few minutes apart.

Okay, Steve got back on July 2nd and did the VP Fair Parade in St. Louis. On the 3rd, I went into the hospital at 8:30 am and was kept overnight. At that time, I was 34 weeks pregnant, so the baby was getting bigger and in less danger. But it was confusing because I was having lots of contractions.

No more hospital visits, just lots of doctor appointments the next week. On July 15, I hit 36 weeks and then on Monday the 18th, they took me off bedrest. My notes after that talk about going shopping and working on bedrooms. I think we moved Josh’s bedroom and got the baby’s room ready.

When I went off bedrest and off the terbutaline, my contractions did keep going. My calendar says I went into Labor and Delivery and sure enough, the contractions were 3 minutes apart. And they sent me home. I wasn’t dilating. So I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to come in. There were times when they were 2 minutes apart, but they weren’t doing anything.

Finally, on July 29, my water broke! No question about it, I went in and this time they didn’t send me back home.

Labor started well enough. Though I was annoyed that they had a policy not to give any drugs at all until you’ve progressed to a certain point. (With Josh, it was after I got drugs that I really started progressing.) Again, this time I progressed better once I had an epidural. But then it was time to push, and I pushed for 2 hours, and it turned out his head was turned to the side and he was stuck.

Steve had a really bad moment, because he saw the doctor get worried, and the baby’s heart rate drop. (I was oblivious.) They called in an OB/Gyn doctor from the next room (my doctor was a family practice doctor) and he used forceps and got the baby out.

For the record, any anesthesia had completely worn off by this time, and they wouldn’t give me more because I was pushing. And let me just say that it HURTS when they use forceps to take a baby out of you.

Oh, the other notable thing about that night was for the pushing part there was a shift change of nurses, and there were only men in the labor and delivery room. (Only in a military hospital would this happen, but they did have lots of male nurses.) At one point when I was pushing, I said, “It hurts!” and trying to be compassionate, a nurse answered, “I know,” and I looked around and saw only men, and I said, “NO you don’t! None of you knows!”

(I don’t know why that struck me so hard at the time, but I ended up leaving on a comment card that you should always have at least one woman in a labor and delivery room!)

But the end result made it all worth it, and on July 29, 1994, Timothy Ronald John Eklund was born!

His poor little face was hurt from the forceps, and that first night one eye was stuck open and one eye stuck closed because of a pinched nerve from the forceps. But those all healed quickly.

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I was happy happy happy when the baby was born and that awful labor was done. Steve started crying. He had honestly thought he was going to lose me or lose Timothy.

[A couple months later, I came home from teaching to find Steve crying. He’d been watching E. R. and those manipulative writers had written an episode where a woman dies in childbirth. That was the night Steve told me that he’d been afraid he would lose me or lose Timmy. That was when he told me that he’d seen that the doctor was afraid. And this is how I know, beyond any doubt, that at that point in our marriage, my husband still loved me deeply.

That’s also when Steve decided that he didn’t ever want me to get pregnant again. I checked with the doctor, and though it was likely that I’d have to go on bedrest again if I were ever pregnant, the turned head and forceps delivery was just a fluke that probably wouldn’t happen again. But still, it was an awful scare for Steve, and he didn’t want to go through that again.]

By the next day, Timmy was already looking better.

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Ready to go home! Newborns in a car seat always look so small!

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And — my cordless mouse just quit working. And I can’t seem to fix it. And I really don’t enjoy using the trackpad on my laptop, especially when trying to manipulate pictures. So — I’m going to call this post Part One and try to finish talking about the year I was 30 later in the week.

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