I was 17 and a Senior in high school. I lived at home with my parents. You were due to arrive on January 30, 1996. Super Bowl Sunday. I had Finals the week before. I had continued going to school up until the very end...however I did ask my teachers to give me my Finals a week early...just in case. (People kept telling me that teen pregnancies usually resulted in premature babies...so I was a little nervous.)
So I took my Finals early and went on Independent Study(IS.) The plan was to do IS for the 3rd quarter and come back for the 4th to be able to graduate with all of my friends. This almost didn't happen...the school district doesn't do IS for quarter terms...only by the semester. I was insistant though that I wanted to come back, so my V.P. pulled some strings and made it so. I also had 2 classes that weren't offered in the IS program, Drama and Psych. I made special arrangements with my teachers. Spieg (Drama) told me, "Just go see a couple of plays."
And Mr. Deutsch (Psych) told me, "Focus on your baby. Just write in a journal about all the amazing moments that you are about to encounter." I remember these conversations like they happened yesterday.
All of my friends were scared I was going to give birth at school. I tried explaining to them that it doesn't really happen like it does on TV, but teenagers are so dramatic (sorry I know you are one right now) so they weren't entirely convinced.
School was taken care of, I was on maternity leave from Sunglass Hut, and half of my room had been transformed into a nursery. I had a crib, changing table, and Disney Baby decals on the walls. Super Bowl Sunday came...and went...
Finally on Thursday February 8, I went in for a Non-Stress Test (NST) to make sure that everything was still going alright in there. I was scheduled to be induced on February 14 (if you didn't come sooner.) I came home from the doctor and about 2:00pm I started feeling contractions. I had been having a lot of False Labor, so I was wondering if this could really be "it." My mom and I started walking the neighborhood to move things along and see if this was in fact, the real thing.
At 10pm when my water broke with a huge gush, we knew this was it!
After calling all of my friends to give them the news, I called the hospital and headed in. They checked me right away and found Mechonium in my waters.
Many people were at the hospital that night...My mom and dad, GramNet and Grandpa Ed, Grandma Heiden, Roger, and to this day some of my closest friends: Rose, Heidi, & Jaime (I think Janet was there too)...I believe this was correct...after all...I WAS in labor and I didn't get to see my friends. Back then only family could come in the labor room so the girls had to wait outside. My grandparents took turns coming in to see me.
One thing you really need to know is that even though I got pregnant at 17, EVERYONE was so excited for your arrival. Sure there was shock and tears in the beginning. But after that...it was excitement and joy for everyone...especially me. I learned then, what many women don't learn until their late 20's/early 30's...the complete and all-consuming joy that comes with feeling a baby growing inside. At what normally is a very selfish age, I learned the "selflessness" that is necessary to carry and give birth to a child. I loved you with my whole being and so intensely even before you were born. I knew that you were a true gift from God and that He had great things in store for you.
Back to the story:
My mom was my primary labor coach but somewhere between 2 and 4am (well after the girls had to leave due to curfews!) she became exhausted so my dad took over and got me through some pretty tough times. I felt like I had a lot to prove, so I didn't get any drugs except a little Fentnol to "take the edge off." I don't know but I'm pretty sure I still felt the edge!
At one point I was up to go to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, bent over and having a contraction (sorry for the visual.) Grandma Heiden was with me, rubbing my back. When the contraction was over, I remember shaking my head and telling her, "I'm never having sex again!" (We all know that didn't stick!)
After a very, very long night I felt the urge to push...I think it was about 9am. They transferred me to the delivery room (no...back then Labor and Delivery were NOT in the same room!) At 10am on the dot on Friday February 9, you entered this world, weighing in at 8 pounds even and 19 1/2 inches long. Nothing anyone could have said would have prepared me for the moment I first laid my eyes on you. People in the room for your arrival:Nana and Papa, GramNet, and your father.
Very shortly after, the doctor and nurses took you off for observation. They wanted to watch your breathing. You had a slight case of Pneumonia caused by the mechonium. So I went to Recovery and waited...and waited...for my baby...I was taken to my room...and waited...and waited. It seemed like an eternity and I wanted to be with my baby! Finally someone came in to explain to me that your breathing had been ok, but as they were bringing you out to me, you turned blue and stopped breathing. They immediately turned around, got you to come around, and started you on antibiotics. They had determined that you had a condition called Group B Streap. (Now they test moms for this during pregnancy to avoid babies from getting it.) They explained the seriousness with an 80% mortality rate. They didn't tell me till later, but they didn't expect you to make it through the night. You were one sick baby.
I finally was able to go see you in the NICU. There you were...lying on the little bed with an oxygen hood over your head, hooked up to monitors and IV's. I was told that I could touch you but I couldn't rub or caress any part of your fragile body. This would cause your heart rate to go dangerously high. I was devastated. I kept praying, telling God that I had accepted this child into my heart and begging Him not to take you from me now.
I was able to stay 2 nights in the hospital but when Sunday came I had to go home...without you. I walked into our bedroom...alone...no baby in the carrier like I had played so often in my mind. The next several days were spent praying, crying, doing homework, visiting you, and pumping...oh the pumping...every 3 hours...night and day. I had so much milk! I set my alarm during the night so I wouldn't miss a "pumping session!" They had told me not to worry if I didn't get much at first...ha! No worries there...8oz every time...at least.
During the next few days you endured a spinal tap, blood transfusion, and many "pokes and prods" on your tiny little body. You did finally get milk through a bottle on Monday and I was able to nurse you on Tuesday.
After 10 very scary days on February 18, I got to bring you home! It was a wet and rainy day. Maybe this is why you love the rain! We had many visitors that day and I remember being so scared that something was wrong because you slept so much! But you were home...for good!
The following are a few of my favorite pictures over the years...
My graduation from high school...a very proud day.
Love this face!
Your First Birthday (Funny little fact...Dad came to visit me in the hospital after having you while he was on a date with another girl...of course we weren't dating yet!) Little did we know...
Your 3rd birthday.
We still go to the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm every year.
Moving out of our apartment and moving into our new house with Dad. Last picture at the apartment before locking up and leaving. We grew up a lot together there!
First Easter as a family.
Getting ready for a new addition.
Now it has been 15 years! The time has gone by so quickly. I still remember your giggle and how you wanted to marry me when you grew up. We have had some wonderful times and some really horrible times. Our family has definitely grown and so have you! It seems like yesterday that we were on our "Mommy-Dominic Dates" ...and now you are taller than me. Not only do you no longer want to marry me, but I am not quite your favorite person most of the time anymore :(
Teenager? YES YOU ARE! But as teenagers go...you are pretty awesome! You get Straight A's. You dress "normally." And though you get "mouthy" with us, you always treat other adults with respect (a very good sign.) Everyday, in some way, you make me proud. And I am so excited to see what great things are yet to come.
Just remember that through these years even though I'm tough on you and you don't think I understand you...I LOVE YOU. I have loved you since the moment I found out about you and I will always. Everyday I thank the Lord for choosing me to be your mom and I pray that He blesses you and your life always. I am so thankful that you know Him and His endless love for you.
Happy Birthday Dominic!