You were born, September 4, 1979 at 6:18 a.m. You weighed 8.7 lbs. and were 21.5 inches long. You were supposed to be named Rochelle Doreen. But your Dad decided a week before you were born that he liked Nicole Renee better; he had seen the name in the birth announcements in the paper.
When we learned that we were expecting you we were both very excited and hoping that there would be no complications this time around; with your brother I had developed deep vein thrombosis and bedridden for the last 3 months of my pregnancy. The doctor wasn't as pleased as he was very concerned for both yours and my life. He said “if I carried you full term I would not be having any more children”. So, I switched doctors.
Your due date was August 18, 1979, your Great-Grandma Conner’s birthday. On Father’s Day 1979, I fell down a short flight of stairs and started having contractions. I had several days of hard contractions after that but the doctor always said they were just Braxton Hicks contractions so I trusted him.
I was in the hospital for 24 hours on Grandma Conner’s birthday but released when my contractions stopped. I was back in the hospital for another 24 hours on your Dad’s birthday, August 26. This time I had an external fetal monitor, they told me that it was true labor and started to “prep” me for delivery; BUT my contractions stopped again so back home we went.
At the time we lived less than a ½ mile from Grandpa and Grandma Bentley. They babysat your brother while I worked and we often had meals together. The house we lived in needed much repair and we worked very hard to get it into shape. It also did not have a garage so your Dad wanted to add one on. We made plans to put one on the summer you were born. The couple of weeks that led up to Labor Day weekend, your dad and I cleared the spot for the garage, laid the footings and had the floor put in. All day Saturday, September 2 and Sunday September 3 family and friends showed up to help with raising the walls and roof of the garage. Late on Sunday and Monday the siding, window and doors were being hung.
Around noon on Sunday, September 3, while preparing lunch with the wives of our work crew, I noticed that my water was leaking very slowly. I went upstairs and put on a pad then went back down to help with lunch. I didn't tell anyone until about 5:00 in the afternoon while fixing dinner for the work crew. I shared the news with your Dad and Grandma Bentley. She asked me to call the doctor.
The doctor said that I shouldn't have any dinner and that I was okay to wait at home until your brother was in bed but that I had to promise to come to the hospital as soon as I had a caregiver for him. Your dad and I arrived at the hospital about 10:00 on Sunday, September 3.
I was put into a labor room, quite large for those days. It resembled a private hospital room with no equipment. An external fetal monitor was placed on me and I was asked to not leave my bed without assistance. They didn't “prep” me for delivery because I was not having any contractions. They did use some PH strips to confirm that it was amniotic fluid that I was passing. Except for an occasional blood pressure and check for dilation I was left alone for several hours. Your dad slept in the chair next to my bed and I had several hours of good sleep. About 2:00 a.m. I woke up to use the bathroom and while waiting for the nurse to assist me to the bathroom, I realized that I was having a slight contraction. The nurse confirmed that it showed up on the monitor and said that I should continue to rest until morning. He said that the doctor would probably give me something to get labor going strong once he arrived in the morning for his rounds.
Well, you were not going to wait until the doctor got there. Once I was in the bathroom, I the contractions got much harder. I stood beside the bed for a very strong one before they got the monitor back on me. The contractions were quite uneven in both timing and strength, so the external monitor was replaced by an internal monitor. By 5:00 a.m. I was having steady contractions and water continued to trickle during each one of them.
Around 5:45 I called the nurse in and told them that I was needing to push. They told me that I had to wait until I was checked and of course, when checked, they confirmed that I was fully dilated and effaced. BUT I could not push until the doctor arrived. He was in the hospital but with other patients, I was going to need to be prepped and moved to the delivery room before I could start pushing. The nurse left the room to get the doctor. I turned to your Dad and told him that I couldn't hold back pushing and he said then push. I did. He called the nurse, who called the doctor and the doctor arrived about 10 minutes before you were born. I wasn't prepped and didn't make it to the delivery room because there wasn't one available. But you made it out safely by 6:18 a.m.
You were born very quickly, just a few pushes (sorry I don’t remember counting how many). LOL! The doctor handed you to your daddy and as he was adoring you, she was busy checking me internally for tears. At one point she asked that he hand the baby to me to help distract me from what was going on. Once she was satisfied that everything was okay, they took you away to be cleaned up and checked over.
You were not able to return to my room for the next 24 hours as you were placed in isolation due to my water breaking so may hours before your birth. Isolation was essentially a closet with a windowed door, which kept you from the other babies. The entrance was actually in the nursery so we weren't able to visit you. On your second day you were brought to me and nursed for the first time. I wouldn't let them take you back to the nursery. You stayed in my room until we left the hospital. This practice was something new that I wasn't able to do with your brother, two years earlier.
On Sunday, September 5, I started to hemorrhage while showering for church. We went to church but then decided to call doctor when we got back home. At his recommendation, we headed to emergency, leaving both you and your brother with Grandpa and Grandma Bentley. I had an emergency D&C later that afternoon. I was able to return home the next day but had to stop nursing you for a week due to medication. You never really nursed well after that. You weaned yourself and was on formula by 6 weeks. You didn't tolerate normal formula so had to be on soy formula, something I had not heard of before. By the time you were 3 months we had nicknamed you “miss piggy”.
Thanks, mom, for sharing! And thank you for the gift of birth!