Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Baby Story - Leah Cassity

Baby Girl Quinney - Due April 26, 2006

Mid June of 2005 Matt and I had two nephews born within days of each other. It was during this week that I had the feeling that maybe having a baby wouldn't be such a terrible thing. Really it opened my mind up to the possibility more than anything else. I certainly hadn't been on the Baby Track, in fact Matt and I had always thought that when we hit our two year anniversary we would see where we were at in that particular arena. I wasn't convinced that in two years I would even be ready. Then Braden and Zach were born, and my thought process changed from, not even close to maybe it could happen. A couple of weeks later, I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting in between newly born Braden and my husband when I heard a voice in my head as clear as a bell saying, "You need to have a baby." This didn't frighten or astonish me. Although I was a little surprised, I knew it was the Spirit telling me to be decisive and to approach the subject with Matt. I sat through the rest of the meeting thinking about this personal revelation.

Later that afternoon Matt and I went over to his parent's house for Sunday Dinner. I continued to think about what had happened in Sacrament Meeting. I wasn't nervous to bring it up to Matt, he'd made it clear that he was ready when I was ready- one of the pros and cons in some cases to marrying a man five years my senior, I just needed to let the idea simmer in my mind for a while. About 8:00 that evening as we were driving home from his parent's house I told Matt that we needed to talk. I remember that we were driving down Highland Drive at about 8600 South. I said to Matt, "I think we need to have a baby." Without question or even a sideways glance he replied in a resolute tone, "Okay." I continued to tell him what I'd been feeling and the experience I'd had in church. The decision had been made, I would finish out the cycle of birth control that I was on and we would stop preventing.

In the days that followed I found myself wondering at the timing and almost adamant nature of the prompting I'd had in church. My 'cycle' had always been weird sometimes lasting days longer than it should with really heavy bleeding. I had never had been 'on-time', it came when it wanted to and surprised me every time. In the research I'd done of this nature, I'd found many articles saying that often those circumstances are indicators of anovulation. I ended up figuring that I'd had such a clear prompting telling me to get going on the Baby Train because it would take me a while to get pregnant. I was expecting at least four to six months after I stopped taking the birth control, but possibly more like one year.

Matt and I found out I was pregnant on August 20, 2005. I was five weeks along. You do the math. I stopped taking Ortho-Tricyclen-Lo the last day in June, the first day of my last period was July 17. It took us two weeks to get pregnant, and I had a whole month and a half to prepare myself for this baby that up until a couple months prior I didn't even know I was going to be trying for. Needless to say, it threw me for a BIG loop.

I had a hard time not resenting that I was pregnant in those first weeks. I was not ready, I was not ready, I was not ready. I called my oldest sister after I found out. I cried and cried and cried. I wasn't ready to give up the great two person family that I had. Matt and I were just getting used to being married, we hadn't even hit our first anniversary yet. For goodness sakes, I was only 21!

Those first ten weeks were hard for me. I convinced myself that we were having a boy and tried to gear up for having a newborn. My heart wasn't really in it, I couldn't get it in my head that I hadn't been cheated out of a few more months of my time with just Matt and myself. I wanted a few more months with just us, I wanted to be excited to find out I was pregnant. I just couldn't get there.

Then at ten weeks I started bleeding. I was at work and it was coming pretty heavily. I immediately called Matt (unavailable to his wife who was crying hysterically on the phone) and then my doctor's office. They very calmly told me to come into Salt Lake Regional Hospital where I would have an ultrasound. I then called my mom who called my dad who was working at that hospital. Driving downtown, tears streaming down my face and talking to Matt the entire time (he was leaving to meet me there), was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was finally starting to realize how much this little spirit meant to me. I arrived at the hospital, where my dad met me. It was so good to see him! I was so glad to have someone on my team, someone that would give me a hug and make me laugh. Matt showed up right before I was led into the sonographer's room. The Sonographer put the tool on my tummy and I heard that glorious heartbeat. It was music to my ears. In that instant I knew I loved this baby and I knew I would be hurting very deeply if I lost it.

Turns out there was a hemorrhage on my uterus the size of a quarter. My doctor said that everything else looked really healthy and sometimes this happens to women in their first trimester or early second trimester. I needed to lay low for the next few days, but I could continue bleeding for up to two weeks.

That was a hard weekend for me. It was conference weekend and of course every talk that centered around family hit me harder than usual. Conference Sunday two of my sisters also announced (accidentally, knowing my present circumstance) their pregnancies. My mom told me exactly what I needed to hear, I didn't want to hear it, but I needed to, "Melanie, you might have to prepare yourself to lose this baby." It came from such a place of love, I knew I needed to listen to her.

Luckily, I stopped bleeding (13 days later). The nausea kicked in full throttle and didn't subside until the day I gave birth. I was very sick for a very long time, although it never effected my weight gain. I started retaining water at 14 weeks. That was definitely no fun either. Then we had the BIG ultrasound. Remember, I'd been gearing up for a boy, although Matt was certain it was a girl.

It was a girl. I had a very hard time with it at first. I was certain that I couldn't raise a girl properly. Oh well, it is what it is. But did they really have to move my due date back ten days? I'd gone from an EDD of April 16 to April 26. It definitely felt like I was taking two steps backwards and one step forward.

Finally, my weekly appointments were starting to be scheduled. The end was in site! Three weeks before my due date I had my first weekly appointment. Dr. Loewen asked if I wanted to be checked to which I emphatically replied in the affirmative. She said, "I'm just preparing you, but very often first time moms haven't made any progress at this point." I was okay with that, I just wanted to know what was going on. She was right. I wasn't effaced or dilated at all. Not even a little, teeny, tiny bit. I was alright with that, we hadn't even picked a pediatrician yet. The next week I went in and she asked the same question, "Would you like me to check you?" Of course, I told her to, thinking that since I was nowhere last week what could change in one week? A lot, apparently. Surprised Dr. Loewen said, "Oh! You're a three and 75% effaced. But I'm pretty sure the next time I see you will be at your next appointment."

That afternoon, April 14, the contractions started. The closest thing I can describe contractions to, is have a wire hanger put down into your belly, hooking it and pulling it. They hurt pretty bad. I started contracting around 4:00 PM, it was very uneven and not time-able at all. We had dinner with some friends that evening and one of our friends said, mid contraction mind you, "You're not going into labor tonight. That's for sure. I give it another week." I wanted to reach across the table and slap him. I didn't sleep at all that night. The contractions were unbearable, but not consistent so I didn't think anything of it.

The next day I called my mom to tell her what was going on. I mentioned I was a little concerned about the contractions and my dad got on the phone he said very calmly, "If you've been contracting like this for a long time you should call your doctor and see what she says. You don't want to put any stress on the baby." So I followed orders and called her, she called me back very quickly and said, "You may have this baby soon or you may contract like this for the next two weeks. Just keep an eye on it and wait for your contractions to come consistently for an hour between three and four minutes apart."

I was so upset. The contractions would come between six, seven, or eight minutes apart for 45 minutes, then I wouldn't have another one for an hour. Sometimes they would come at twenty minutes apart solidly for two or three hours. It was ridiculous! I was in pain, but didn't want to go to the hospital just to be sent home. So I waited and waited for that magic time frame when the contractions would happen consistently. Four minutes apart. 

Matt had a 'Bachelor Party' to go to that night. He was all ready to stay home with me, but I wanted to be alone. I sent him on his way to go play video games with his friends and The Sky Box. I spent all of the evening and night Saturday, April 15 timing contractions, drinking water, and laying down. I was miserable. Matt came home around 1:20 AM. I sent him to the store to get some Tylenol PM (My doctor said, if you can sleep through the contractions while on Tylenol PM then they aren't severe enough to go to the hospital and at least you're getting some sleep. If you take it and are still in pain, go!). He trudged back out the door to get me what I needed. I took what I was hoping would be my saving grace. I just needed to sleep, I was exhausted. I took the pills, settled down and finally fell asleep right around 2:00 AM. At 2:11 AM I woke up with a start. I'd felt a very sharp jab and heard a pop. I jumped up to find that I was leaking fluid (Matt was dead asleep). I walked to the bathroom to make sure I hadn't just wet myself. I hadn't; the fluid kept coming and coming and coming. Okay, time to get Matt up and go to the hospital, my water had just broken.

I called my mom and she said, "Now you'll really start to feel the contractions." I said, "Actually they haven't been any worse than what I've been dealing with." As I said those words, I felt one of those contractions. GIVE ME THAT EPIDURAL NOW PLEASE. Matt and I hopped into the car and drove to Salt Lake Regional Hospital.

We arrived around 2:30 AM, they hooked me up and 1 1/2 hours later I had my epidural. The only anesthesiologist on call was doing a c-section. I was dilated to a seven before I received that blessed medicine. Now I just had to play the waiting game. And I waited, Matt had gone back to sleep, and waited and waited. Finally at eight the next morning I was ready to start pushing. I'd been on oxygen all night to help regulate the baby's heartbeat and wasn't allowed to take the mask off. A resident doctor also asked if he could be present and help Dr. Loewen deliver the baby. I didn't care. Once I started gearing up for the actual delivery I all of the sudden started to feel as though the room was very crowded. I feel like there were at least three nurses there to take care of the baby once she came out, another nurse to help me, along with Dr. Loewen and the resident doctor, and of course Matt. And it was snowing. SNOWING, in April!

I was instructed on how to push. Legs up and out, hold them there (with assistance), chin down, count to ten, repeat. Oh, and do it with the oxygen mask on as well. Seems easy enough, right? Wrong, for some reason I felt like I couldn't remember all the steps, and with all the people in there it was feeling very noisy and crowded. I pushed for 45 minutes. It wasn't until they brought in the forceps and vacuum (just in case) that I said to myself, "This baby is not coming out with those. I've got to do this."

And there she was.

Our perfect Leah Cassity.

Born at 8:47 AM on Sunday, April 16, 2006. Easter morning. Leah was 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 20 inches long. She had a lot of dark brown hair, chubby cheeks, and a good size birthmark on her left abdomen. My family saw Baby Melanie in her, but all I could see was her daddy. Matt and I were smitten.

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