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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Have you told your kids their birth story? I know I’ve told the boys at least some of theirs, but I probably haven’t done it very completely. The story of the older boys is kind of funny to me. It was May of 1998. I had been off work already for a few weeks, and I had about 5 weeks to go until my due date. My legs had swollen up quite a bit so I was spending a good deal of time keeping my feet elevated every day.

Hubby and I were shopping for a new vehicle, because our two cars were too small to transport multiple babies. After some time at the car dealer, we went out to dinner. Later that night we were watching one of our favorite TV shows, and I noticed my blood pressure was pretty high. I waited until after the show ended to call in to the doctor. He suggested that we go to the hospital for a pressure check, since my b/p was something like 140 over 91. So off we went.

Imagine my surprise when events progressed quickly and I was admitted. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia so they put me on magnesium sulfate to bring down my blood pressure (this also has the effect of slowing labor) and pitocin to induce labor.

After about 14 hours, I felt just awful. My vision was terrible, head hurting, and my arm was killing me after the automatic blood pressure machine had tested me every ten or fifteen minutes for so long. Ow. The boys were fine of course. In fact, they were so active that the nurses had to re-arrange the fetal monitors a lot.

Eventually, I gave up on the idea of having a natural birth. I felt so bad, and they estimated that I could dilate fully in another 9 hours. Maybe. So we agreed to the Cesarean section. Things moved pretty quickly after that. We went into the operating room and I think I drifted in and out of consciousness. Once the boys were born, Hubby walked over to see them. The Mercenary was out second, and managed to inhale some fluid so he was rushed off to the special care nursery. I didn’t get to see him in person until the next day, when I was moved from the labor and delivery department over to the post-partum area. I’d been so sick that they kept me there for a full day after the surgery. That way they could keep a better eye on me, they said.

My own recovery was super fast and I was up and around 2 days after the surgery. We went home the next day after that and started our life together.

In contrast, having the younger boys was much more orderly. I didn’t get sick that time, thankfully. I was hoping to avoid surgery again, but Captain Earthquake’s growth slowed down too much, so we scheduled the procedure. This time, we knew a day or so in advance what was happening. Hubby took me to the hospital at 5:00 in the morning, and by 8:30 we were in the operating room. Even though it was my second time, I was pretty scared. I’d been too sick to be afraid 4 years before. On top of that, it felt like the surgery took forever! It was nice to be aware of what was happening though.

After surgery and the hour or so in recovery, we got to see our boys. That part was pretty terrific. By afternoon, two very proud big brothers were visiting. Other family members showed up that evening and the next day. Recovery was much harder for me…I guess the 4 years of aging had something to do with that. We were able to bring the boys home after a few days, and our family was complete.

One thing I’ve noticed about the boys is that they need to be told these stories over and over again. They enjoy it, and it helps them to know they have a special history. Have you told your kids their birth story? Is it written down? I haven’t done that part yet (scrapbooking is so not my thing) but thanks to Rotary International, I now have a neat journal to use to write down these stories.

Rotary sent me my very own Moleskine notebook to write down the boys’ birth stories. They wanted to highlight some of the work they’re doing for pregnant women in Haiti. You see, Haiti has the highest infant mortality rate in the western hemisphere. With the help of Midwives for Haiti, Rotary is running mobile prenatal clinics to help pregnant women get desperately needed care.

Need a last minute Christmas gift? Why not donate to Rotary’s efforts to help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies?

Doing Good: Saving Mothers and Children from Rotary International on Vimeo.

What’s your birth story like? I’d love to hear it.