I’d had a little trouble getting pregnant the first time. It only took two months of fertility medicine at the lowest dose, and voila! Welcome to the world, Meagan. I figured the second time would be about the same. I figured wrong.
About two years after Meagan was born, we decided to have another child. I started the medicine again and waited for the monthly cycle to end. It didn’t. The medicine began increasing in dosage, and in side effects. There were more doctor appointments and then specialist doctor appointments and then the real craziness began. I took my daily basal temperature each morning and recorded it faithfully each day until I no longer knew if it was Tuesday or Sunday, but I knew it was day 16 of my cycle. There were tests and more medicine and then, the shit hit the fan.
When I decide I want something, nothing gets in my way. If it does, I simply mow it down and keep going. I decided I wanted another child, and when that possibility remained elusive, I became slightly obsessive…or maybe a little more than “slightly.” My marriage became even more tense than it was, and that was saying something. Randy and I were both strong personalities who were used to getting our own way. The main difference was he avoided conflict like the plague and I chased it. One night, he stopped running, I ran smack into him, and our relationship imploded. He moved out for four months.
I sold our main home and the rental we owned and bought a new, smaller house while he was living elsewhere. He showed up to sign papers, and that was all I saw of him. Needless to say, I accepted the fact that Meagan was going to be an only child. We reconciled about a month after moving to the new house, and a month after that, I was pregnant again. A previous test indicated my body was “allergic” to his sperm and I was actively destroying them faster than they could swim. When we were originally told this, Randy just shook his head and said, “It figures.” Yeah. I said things were tense.
I guess after four months of my body not making antibodies, he was able to ambush my egg before my body could counter-attack. Thus, Hayley came to be.
The first pregnancy was picture perfect and barely affected my life. Meagan was born on her due date, and although the delivery was slightly traumatic, everything worked out in the end.
For Hayley, I went into labor at six and a half months while at the library with my mother and Meagan. I was looking at reference books about how to perform a C-section because I’m a huge nerd and caution has never been in my vocabulary. My mother had to drive me and Meagan to the hospital through downtown traffic, and if you knew my mother, you’d know how much she loved me. She hated driving more than anything, and driving anywhere there was traffic was simply not done. She delivered a monologue all the way to the emergency room and I didn’t realize her chattiness was through sheer nerves because I was too busy willing this baby to stay put. After several hours, I was sent home with a prescription to stop contractions and an order for bed rest. The medicine worked, but also sent every nerve in my body into hyper-drive, so I literally hovered over the couch for the next month and a half.
When I had reached eight months, Meagan had her preschool graduation. I’d taken my last tablet of medicine that morning and was back in the hospital that evening. Labor didn’t really progress, even with Pitocin. The doctors agreed to let me try a vaginal birth until morning, and if I was still pregnant by then, I’d head in for C-section #2. They also decided I couldn’t have another epidural, since the first one worked SO well. That meant another delivery under general anesthesia. I wasn’t too upset, because this was all I knew. This was how Meagan entered the world. I already knew what to expect.
It was a quiet evening with me watching hospital TV and Randy sleeping in the recliner. First thing in the morning, the nurses came in to prep me for surgery. I actually walked into the delivery room. I was pretty happy at this point. I mean, it was a far cry from the panicked turmoil of Meagan’s delivery. That is, until they started administering the anesthesia. As I was beginning to drift away, I heard my doctor say, “So, we’re doing a tubal with this, right?”
I now began the familiar panicking. “No! No! No!” was all I could whisper as I fought the anesthesia. I wanted four children. This was only number two. This could not be happening.
The nurse nearest my head peered down at me. “Um…I think she’s trying to say ‘no,’ doc. Are you sure she’s a tubal?”
“Oh, right. That’s the next one, not this one,” he noted as he checked the paperwork. I let go finally and hoped like hell I heard him right. I woke up considerably easier this time around, as I hadn’t had the physical exertion of hard labor and felt pretty rested, actually. I was even ready to see my baby.
I didn’t see her in person for just over 24 hours. It took half a day before someone thought to take a picture of her and bring it down to me. While she was not necessarily a “preemie,” I was running a slight fever at the time of her birth. Randy had thought he was a pro at this waiting-outside-the-operating-room thing. After all, they’d brought Meagan right out to him. Not this time. He stood there with his arms out as the doors swung open, and watched as the nursing staff sprinted past him, down the hall and around the corner with what he thought was a baby. Naturally, he sprinted after them. He stood outside the nursery and watched as they poked her and prodded her and generally gave him a heart attack while he was trying to figure out what had gone wrong this time. I never actually got a good answer to that question, not even after I went home after 4 days and she didn’t get to leave until day 6.
I remember trying so hard not to cry when I was pushed out to the car when it was time for me to leave, Meagan holding my hand and Randy pushing the cart full of flowers. It was a very young, male volunteer who was steering the wheelchair. He looked at the cart of flowers and balloons, then at me and foolishly asked, “So…did you have a baby?” I started sobbing; Randy was ready to launch himself at the poor kid. I bet it was the first and last time he ever asked that particular question.
For two days, I swallowed a pain pill and caught a ride back to the hospital early in the morning. The first day, my mom took me and Meagan up. Meagan was quickly bored, and I was refusing to leave. Mom had a great time between the two of us. The next day, Randy dropped me off on his way to work while mom stayed home with Meagan. I took 2 pain pills. When Randy was done with work, he met me back at the hospital. He never put in less than a 10 hour day, so the hospital staff got pretty used to me. They even gave me an empty patient room so I could watch TV and feed Hayley privately. I kept asking when she’d get to go home. No one could give me an answer. “The doctor hasn’t released her” was all I got.
About 6:00 pm or so, a nurse came in to see what was going on. When she got the story, she just shook her head and marched back out the door. Not long after, she was back, informing me that we would ALL be going home within the next hour. It seems there was no real reason for keeping Hayley; it was just that no one was able to pin the doctor down on whether or not she could be released. This nurse tracked him down at a dinner and forced a decision from him. I wish I’d gotten her name, but the pain pills had worn off long ago and I was too thrilled to be leaving with my baby.
Randy and I were now the parents of two beautiful little girls. I was still adamant about wanting at least one more child. My mother, however, had other ideas. It seems the stress I was put under during both pregnancies had pushed her over the edge of what she could handle as a parent. She threatened Randy with a homemade vasectomy if he didn’t make his own arrangements, since I couldn’t seem to get the hang of a simple delivery. She was terrified that the next time, one of us simply wouldn’t make it. I just laughed it off; after all, these experiences were all I knew of having a baby. I didn’t know there was any other way or that my way wasn’t sort of typical. Randy, much to my dismay, agreed completely with my mother. Two beautiful girls were enough for him, and he didn’t want me (or himself, for that matter) going through this again.
I stayed angry at him for several weeks when he told me he’d made an appointment. He’d just look at Meagan, then look at Hayley, then look at me and say, “We’re good.”
I looked at my beautiful blond daughter, and my beautiful brunette daughter, and sighed. How could I argue with that?