Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Birth Day Story

Eleven years ago yesterday I was sitting in a hospital room in Provo, Utah, waiting for the pitocin to kick in. My water had broken at 3:00 a.m., but by 10:00 a.m. I was still not in labor so the doctors decided to administer something that would kick me into high gear.

Every half hour or so, the nurse would come back and ask if I was feeling anything. Since I wasn’t, every half hour they would increase the pitocin.

“Are you incredibly tolerant to pain?” a nurse finally asked me.

Recalling my two previous labors of 23 hours and 21 hours of sheer excruciating agony, I could find no reason to believe that I was. “Nope. It’s just that nothing is really happening.”

At 4:00 p.m. I felt the first nudging of labor pain. At 5:30 p.m. my midwife, who was assisting my doctor, said “He’s almost here.”

“Don’t say that!” I yelled at her, remembering that if my past two pregnancies were any indication, I still had about 20 hours of hell left.

The fact that I yelled at her should have been a clue to me that the birth was very close, but I missed it while I was wallowing in my pain. (Hint to first-time fathers: when your wife reaches this stage, do not try to help her in any way. She will prefer to enjoy her pain on her own, placing full blame upon you for causing said pain. The only time you should attempt to help her is when she is yelling for you to help her NOW! Be forewarned. Even when she yells for help, she will still yell at you for attempting to help. You cannot win. Don’t try. ) Not wanting to have false hope, I scolded, “I always have over twenty hours of labor so I have a long way to go.”

“No. Really. You’re very close.”

Twenty minutes later, my son was born. I had now joined the ranks of women I had hated---those who gave birth in less than two hours of labor.

I couldn’t see him, as they whisked him away before I got much of a chance. I asked my husband where they had taken the baby. “They’re just cleaning him up.”

“Go with him!” I said urgently, so John did. He came back with the baby about half an hour later.

“Why were you gone so long?” I asked.

“Actually, the reason they took him is because he was blue. I just didn’t want you to panic. But he’s fine now.”

To hear that he was fine was the culmination of a high-risk pregnancy during which I was bedridden. I suffered a fall during month 2 and ended up a week later in the emergency room with a blood clot in my lung. I was in the hospital for 5 days. For the rest of the pregnancy, I either had a portable heparin I.V. or had to give myself shots three times a day.

At month 4, I went into pre-term labor. Due to some miscalculations on the part of my midwife, I labored at home for twelve hours before she thought it was serious enough to go to the hospital. At the hospital they tried in vain to stop my labor. Finally, I was transported by ambulance to a larger hospital 70 miles away. After several hours they were able to stop the contractions.

Later that day, a “grief counselor” came to see me.

“I’ve lost a baby too, so I am here to help mothers who have lost babies, if they feel the need to talk.”

“But I haven’t lost a baby,” I said.

“You haven’t? I was called here because they said you miscarried.”


She was back the next day--to counsel me because I was going to lose my baby.

“I’ve talked to the nurses and they said there is really nothing they can do. Your baby is only 4 months along, so chances of survival are virtually non-existent.”

I was depressed about that to say the least. So I talked to my baby. I asked him to please stay. I told him I really wanted him and for him to do whatever he could on the inside to make sure he stayed there.

After day 5 in the hospital, a female doctor came to me and said, “I’m so sorry. There is nothing we can do to save your baby. With the amount of bleeding you’ve been doing, there’s just no chance. Have you talked to the grief counselor?”

“Yes,” I answered. “But I’m not bleeding.”

“Oh, it stopped?” she asked.

“No, I never have been bleeding. I was in labor, but I was not bleeding.”

I got sent back to the ultrasound specialist who had been telling the doctors that I was losing supposed gallons of blood.

“With this amount of bleeding, there is nothing we can do to save the baby. It’s just too early.”

She too was surprised to hear that I was not actually bleeding. For five days none of my nurses noticed that I was not bleeding?

I finally told my grief counselor that I was not going to lose my baby and she did not need to come back.

The doctor was worried that because of all my "bleeding" I would get another blood clot in my lung. They made the request that I have a surgery to implant an “umbrella” in my abdomen to stop a potential clot before it reached vital organs. I agreed it was a good idea so I went ahead with the surgery.

I was in the hospital a total of two weeks before they realized I was refusing to lose my baby. I was sent home, but ordered to bed rest the remainder of my pregnancy. I spent from February to September doing cross-stitch, reading romance novels, and learning all the vital stats of every member of the Utah Jazz. I lost count of how many times I heard the phrase "Stockton to Malone."

Jeremiah was born a week early, perfectly healthy except for his brief blue stint. Every day, I am thankful for such a boy who listened to his mama even before he was born. I’ve had eleven years of happiness with this child.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Jeremiah. May your children bring you as much joy as you've brought to me.

Birthday photos with Papa John and new man tools!


  1. What a truly inspiring story. You are a strong person Randi, an example to us all of when to never give up hope.

    Happy Birthday to Jeremiah as well. Loving the man tools :)

  2. You are the Queen of hope and persistence! I'm so glad that you have handsome Jeremiah in your life. I hope he has a terrific birthday!!!

  3. One more thing. I love his name. It's like a beautiful melody. I can hear those future girls singing it to themselves as he walks by :) Watch out there may be a teen heartthrob in your house!!

  4. Marc: Thank you, Marc. Did you know I get a lot of inspiration from you, too?

    Jeremiah is also loving the man tools. And yet...It's not THE KNIFE!! :)

  5. Thanks Randi.

    He's a bit too young for the proper man tool!

    You can start him on MacGyver re-runs though :)

  6. septembermom:I will have to tell him what you said about the girls--ha ha! The only song we sing to him is "Jeremiah was a bullfrog!" Yes, I am very afraid of teenage girls. Luckily, he is a gentleman. So far.

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  8. Oh Randi,

    What a beautiful story.. thanks for sharing... and happy b-day to Jeremiah.


  9. Daisy: Thank you! I am so grateful that his little spirit fought so hard to stay, despite many obstacles.

    Thanks to everyone who wished him a Happy Birthday! I will forward your well-wishes.


    I can't tell you how much it breaks my heart when I hear stories about pregnant women who were basically bullied by their health care providers.

    A very happy birthday to Jeremy!

  11. The very awesomely adorable Hayden:
    I was getting pretty annoyed with the whole situation in the hospital.My midwife finally complained to the hospital to tell them to quit telling me I was going to lose my baby. I mean, how insensitive is that anyway? Geesh.

    And thank you for the birthday wishes!

  12. Hope Jere had a great birthday - he certainly has an awesome mum! You're an inspiration!

    Your story reminded me of the horror my friend went through when her baby did die inside and she had to go through a 'birth'. One of the nurses was pure evil. I went the home birth route but only because I was a few minutes away from a hospital.

  13. Janice: I am so sorry for your friend. I had an acquaintance that had that happen also. It was one of my worst fears, that luckily never came true. Women who go through the loss of a child are saints in my opinion, because they courageously go on even when they feel like dying themselves.


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