Commemorating my children’s milestones has always included taking tons of photographs. I have boxes of them in the basement waiting to be assembled in albums. When they went to college, I framed and hung their first day of school pictures in our upstairs hall. I always smile when I see their eager young faces.
To me, my children are a miracle and I am grateful. Not just because they are amazing, but because I was hospitalized with both of them.
Kelly was positioned face up and I went through horrible back labor. My body fought hard against giving birth to him. It was eighteen hours before I reached four centimeters effaced which is the golden measurement for receiving an epidural anesthetic. Once I could finally relax, I progressed quickly. When he crowned, I had nothing left, no energy at all. My doctor said I wasn’t pushing hard enough and he threatened to perform a Cesarean section. I begged him to give me another chance. I asked Danny to play the cassette tape I brought. Minutes later, Kelly was born to the sounds of Oingo Boingo. Danny filmed the birth. The mirror reflected the overhead fluorescents onto my hooha and the doctor pulled Kelly out of a heavenly white light.
Hours later, I awoke to a crazy strong heart palpitation. Doctors and nurses rushed me to the cardiac care unit thinking I’d had a heart attack. Many tests and days later, they determined I had a Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia or PVST. They sent me home with some kind of beta blocker and instructions not to drink coffee or eat chocolate. I already had low blood pressure. No wonder I was tired all the time!
While pregnant with Courtney, Danny and I went to an ultrasound appointment. The nurse knew we didn’t want to know the sex, but we saw a suspicious third leg. “It has to be the umbilical cord,” I said. I had many dreams that Kelly played with his little sister. The baby had to be a girl.
Two months before Courtney’s due date, I stooped to leash the dog and felt a rush of blood. Danny drove me to the hospital. After a thorough examination, the doctor informed us of my Placenta Previa. That occurs when the egg attaches very low in the womb. When the cervix begins to efface or thin, it tears and causes bleeding. If I continued to tear, I could bleed out, lose the baby, and die. The intern in the emergency room related a graphic story of a woman who bleed out on the table and soaked him and the floor. Too Much Information or what???? I was admitted into the hospital. My doctor hoped I was right about the sex of my baby since girl’s lungs develop earlier than boys. Insert joke here.
My mother flew out from Wisconsin to take care of Kelly. They visited every day. I played queen with my feet up and worked on counted cross stitch projects. They gave so much iron, my fingers turned the needles black. Six weeks before my due date, they released me.
Two weeks later, while giving Kelly a bath, I felt the familiar rush of blood. We drove to the hospital. I felt no pain and was surprised to hear I was already at the golden measurement. I had no hope for a natural child-birth since I could bleed out during labor. The first time the needle was inserted, it fell out. Oh boy did I feel natural labor! The second time was the charm. Six hours later, the nurse woke me and said it was time. I made Danny take a shower while I applied makeup and brushed my hair. Ridiculous. I know! While Danny recorded this more natural footage of the birth, the doctor yelled, “It’s a GIRL!”
I call Courtney my Fingernail Baby since she hung on by her fingernails until her due date!
This weekend, Courtney’s graduation from CU coincided with Mother’s Day. I reflected on my children’s precarious births and am thankful we are all healthy and happy. They both have already attained amazing goals.
After a celebratory brunch on Friday, I had an idea. Kelly graduated from Northern Colorado in December. I had both kids pose at the front door. I snapped a picture to commemorate their last day of school.
I’m looking forward to a long life filled with milestones!
Do you photograph life’s big moments?