A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Max’s Grand Entrance – Part 3 April 30, 2012

Filed under: family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:45 am
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On May 7, ten days after my due date, we had to report to the hospital at 4 am.  We got up early and snapped a few photos.  It was an exciting morning, especially for me – anyone who has gone past term on a pregnancy can attest that those extra days feel like weeks.

We had full expectations that this delivery would be a repeat of the last one.  Having Kendra was easy, actually an enjoyable experience.  The only difference this time was that we were doing it without medical insurance, but we had already prepaid for everything, so we felt good about that, too.

Contractions on Pitocin are intense.  I went several hours before asking for an epidural.  I can remember the pain being so extreme that I literally fell asleep between contractions, only to be awoken by the next one.  Ronnie sat by my bedside, his expression revealing how much  he wished he could make me stop hurting.

After the better part of the day had passed, I knew very suddenly that something was wrong.  I could feel myself bleeding, which shouldn’t have been possible for me to feel with the epidural.  Ronnie called the doctor and I told her.  She tried to brush off my worries, but checked to humor me.  She went from nonchalant to intense in a matter of seconds.

The next few minutes were a complete blur.

I remember bits and pieces – secure an O.R., an elevator ride, more bleeding, no one talking to me, the confusion on Ronnie’s face, contractions.

In contrast, the first moments in the operating room are vivid in my memory.

They wouldn’t let Ronnie come in while they prepped me for surgery, and I’ve never felt so alone in my life.  I was scared and confused.  I was on a table in the middle of a stark white room with my arms outstretched and strapped down.  It was a bustle of people intent on the task at hand – and none of their jobs was to comfort me or explain anything to me.  I was vulnerable and terrified.  All I could do was repeat over and over and over in a trembling voice “I want my husband, I need my husband, please, my husband.”  I strained to make eye contact with anyone who passed by.  Those were eternal minutes.

When they finally let Ronnie back in to stand by my side, I calmed down.  I told my doctor I could feel my contractions, so I got another epidural while we waited for the head doctor of the practice to come assist in surgery.  They had also paged a pediatrician to be on hand.

The actual Cesarean was fast.  Ronnie maintained eye contact with me through the whole thing.

And then came that magic moment, the moment I had longed to hear since that first doctor had told me I never would – the moment my son cried.  All of the anxiety of the entire pregnancy and the intensity and confusion of the last hour melted away instantaneously when I heard that beautiful cry.  What relief!

And then…nothing.

I watched in terror as my doctor handed my son to the pediatrician.  After that first cry, he abruptly stopped.  He was purple.  I laid on that table and considered the biggest decision of my life – did I want to hold him if he was dead?

I started hyperventilating.  This is where everything becomes a blur again in my mind.  I was heaving.  My doctor was yelling, “I can’t operate – calm her down!!”  Ronnie was trying to calm me.  I was straining to see my son.  Was he alive?  Still hyperventilating.  My doctor ordering someone to calm me down.  I begged not to be knocked out.  “I promise I’ll calm down!  Please don’t knock me out!”

And that’s the last thing I remember because they sedated me.


Max’s Grand Entrance – Part 2 April 22, 2012

Filed under: family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 2:23 pm
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Ronnie met me right away at the nearest computer so we could Google together exactly what “blighted ovum” even meant.  I remember reading together and deciding that we wouldn’t tell anyone what was going on until something actually happened.

Those weeks were full of prayers: “God, if you will let me have this baby, I promise to do my best to raise him to love and serve You.  I will be the mom You want me to be.  You can have him.  Just please, please protect this baby.  Please let me meet him.”

I was a middle school teacher then, and I couldn’t make it through a class without excusing myself to use the restroom.  I didn’t have to go, but the doctor’s words haunted me continuously.  I was so stressed about when I would miscarry, that I kept having the sensation I was bleeding.  My students must have thought I was crazy.  Sometimes I went two or three times during a single class period.

Finally, after about six weeks of nothing happening, Ronnie convinced me to go to my gynecologist’s office for a second opinion, or at least for a little more information on the time frame we could expect for the miscarriage that hadn’t yet happened.  He went with me this time.  After six weeks of being burdened by such a heavy secret, I was a nervous wreck.

My doctor took me in for another ultrasound as Ronnie held my hand.  We were prepared for the worst and afraid to hope for anything more.

The doctor showed us our baby on the monitor, and I’ll never forget what she said – “I don’t know what that doctor was looking at, but your baby looks perfect.”

What relief!

We put our baby-planning mode into full gear, announcing the pregnancy to everyone except the few family members we had told of the previous doctor’s prognosis.  We could finally rejoice in the anticipation of meeting Kendra’s new little brother or sister!

I was teaching in a small private school that did not offer benefits, and Ronnie was self-employed at this time, so I was making due without medical insurance.  We met with the  manager of the doctor’s office and arranged payment plans to pay for the  visits and delivery.  My delivery with Kendra was so easy and quick, and we were sure this one would be the same.

We ended up paying quite a bit more than the $3500 we were quoted because my gallbladder and this baby didn’t get along, so I had some tests done to rule out gallstones.  Though I didn’t have stones, the entire duration of my pregnancy was a cycle of eating followed by intense pain in my side.

My due date came and went.

The doctor set a date to induce me ten days after my due date.

I spent those ten days trying everything I could to go into labor.  Ronnie and I took his Toyota on the bumpiest road he could find.  I walked miles a day.  I ate anything anyone told me would cause labor.  I even drank castor oil.

Ten days later, I was exhausted (at least I had a purged digestive tract!), and rode to the hospital with Ronnie for what I thought would be a straightforward induction and delivery of my second child.

Boy, was I wrong.


Max’s Grand Entrance – Part One April 19, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Max,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 8:43 pm
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Max has been a lot of trouble since the day I found out I was pregnant with him.  By a lot of trouble, I mean the constant mischief, messes, and all around mayhem he somehow causes.  I am lighthearted about his naughty tendencies because I cherish everything about him so much.  I was too close to not having him in my life.  I may be too easy on him, but truth is that he has a heart of gold – he never misbehaves to hurt anyone.  He is a comedian, an inventor, a craftsman, an explorer, a friend, and our miracle.

Ronnie and I decided to have a little brother or sister for Kendra when she was two years old.  Thankfully, we were confident in our decision because in no time I began having the symptoms that I suspected resulted from pregnancy.  I took four at-home pregnancy tests (at Ronnie’s insistence), and when they came back positive every time, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.

I went to the appointment alone at our family care provider.  I saw a doctor I had never met before.  I’ll never forget him.  He was foreign and spoke with a thick accent that I pegged as Russian.  He didn’t smile.  When my pregnancy test confirmed that I was indeed expecting, he insisted on an ultrasound.

I went along with his suggestion, though I was a little disappointed that I had talked Ronnie out of going to the appointment with me.  Max was only a tiny dot on the ultrasound monitor, but he was still our baby, and this was the first look at him.

The doctor made several incomprehensible grunts and mumbles during the ultrasound and then scooted me off to a patient room to wait.  I didn’t even know what I was waiting for.

When the doctor came in, it struck me as odd that he brought a female nurse with him.  I was getting a little confused.  All I had wanted was confirmation that I was indeed pregnant so we could figure out the due date and begin planning for a new addition to our family.  When I saw the doctor come in with a nurse, I began really wishing I had Ronnie with me.

The doctor got right to business.  No small talk.  No beating around the bush.  No softening the rough edges of the bad news.  “What you have is a blighted ovum.  You will miscarry this pregnancy.  You will experience a very heavy period which will not be a period at all – it will be a miscarriage.”

I nodded.

He looked so perturbed.  I’ll never forget that.  Then in his thick Russian accent, he said to me, “Do you understand what I am telling you?”

What did he want me to do, cry?  The nurse looked at me with such sympathy.  I looked from the doctor to the nurse and back to the doctor.  I missed my husband.  I was going to lose my baby.  My precious little baby who I didn’t even know was a boy or a girl.  My voice shook, but I would not give the doctor the satisfaction of tears.

“God is in control.”

He sighed.  Maybe we talked a little more after that, but I don’t remember.  All I remember is the need to get out of that office as fast as possible to get to my husband.  I got to my car and convulsed in tears.  I called Ronnie and cried in fear and anger.  All I wanted was for him to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay.

And that was just the very beginning of what would be a pregnancy and delivery that were full of “trouble” because that’s what Max has been since the day I first laid eyes on him on that monitor – a lot of trouble.

My precious little bundle of trouble.