Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Before my husband and I started dating we found ourselves visiting at the same time one night in the home of friends who had small children. Later I learned that this was a set-up, but that's another story! While we were all talking, somehow we discussed the number of children we would want to have in the future. I said I would love to have six, and he said seven!! It is as they say: nothing ever goes as planned.
I was pregnant only 4 months after we were married, in March 1996, and in my last semester of college. Morning sickness was not so bad as long as I didn't wait too long to eat. I'm not sure why it's called "morning sickness" since this would hit me several times a day. There were times when Hubby would literally run to get me food as I started heaving. He helped make my homework and studying seem more of a breeze, but the thing that was scary to both of us was that I had begun to bleed one day in my 2nd month of pregnancy. It was like a sudden rush, the same as turning on a faucet.
I called my obstetrician immediately and went to see her right after. Ultrasound showed a heartbeat and everything looked fine, but the doctor put me on progesterone suppositories, just in case, and I was given enough to last through the end of my first trimester. The bleeding stopped and I was able to carry our big, 8 lb, 1.4 oz, healthy son until 1 day past his due date!
Seven months later I discovered I was pregnant again! In the 2nd month, I began bleeding heavier than with Baby #1. Again, my OB put me on progesterone, and again the bleeding stopped. Baby #2 was extremely active throughout my pregnancy and was born a healthy but 6 lb, 4 oz not-very-plump boy, 16 days early. No worries; he caught up later.
When Baby #2 was nine months old I had a miscarriage only a couple weeks after I found out I was expecting for the 3rd time. The emergency staff at the hospital were completely uneducated about miscarriages and how to respond. I supposed that because I walked in with my husband they thought I could wait. But I began hemorrhaging and had to use the restroom in the waiting room. I could not get up from the toilet. Scott and a nurse had to tend to me right there in full view of the people in the waiting room, though they did their best to keep me covered as they got me into a wheel chair. My favorite jeans were thrown into the garbage. (If you are asking why I wore my favorite jeans in the first place, it was probably because I had a toddler and a very active crawling baby at home and probably no other clean laundry except what was appropriate for going out in public - at least in my own mind at the time.) I had been completely oblivious about the amount of blood that is lost during a miscarriage until it happened to me. Every time I see a picture of myself in those jeans my mind flashes back to this horrible experience.
My distress was magnified by worry for our boys, especially Baby #2, who was exclusively breast fed. I had prepared a couple of bottles of breast milk for him, but he was not used to being bottle fed. It turned out that he had cried the entire time we were gone - about 8 hours- and refused the bottle and cereal. Our friend had taken him next door to "Anna", who had a five boys and was nursing her youngest. My son stopped crying when she finally put him to her breast, and she was so afraid that I would be angry. But when we arrived at her door and our baby jumped excitedly at first sight of us and said "ma-ma-ma-ma!" for the first time, how could I be angry?! My poor baby hadn't eaten for at least 8 hours and this mama was willing to take the risk of being my surrogate. I was moved, incredibly grateful, and relieved. I like to think I might do the same if I were in her shoes...
Six months later, we were surprised at my 4th pregnancy. My obstetrician had retired and my new one would not listen to my story, and was not willing to put me on progesterone cream. Soon I began to bleed as I had done with all my previous pregnancies. My OB put me on bed rest. How does a full time mom of two toddler boys stay in bed? Our church scheduled as many ladies as they could to clean my house and bring meals. Since it was a small congregation, ladies from our previous church filled in the gaps. We were incredibly grateful beyond words for all their help. Unfortunately, our boys and I somehow picked up head lice - how does THAT happen when we never go anywhere? We'll never know, but it doesn't matter at this point.
My head itched so badly I could not stand it. Scott had never seen lice before and didn't know what to look for, so I went another week or two before seeing our sons scratching their own heads vigorously. By then, it was so bad in my own head that I bent over the bathtub, rubbed my scalp and shook my long hair like crazy. Bugs literally fell into the bathtub and I wanted to scream and vomit at the same time. I had no idea what to do. I always kept my hair clean. It made no sense. I did not sleep that night. I called the pharmacist to ask questions and then our public health nurse the next day. She came over as soon as she was able that day, only took a second to part my hair at the back of my head and said "ohhh, you have it really bad." She told my husband what to buy and left very quickly.
A very sweet Christian friend, who was also a hairdresser, came to teach, help shampoo our hair and pick out lice and their eggs. I was impressed by her willingness and lack of fear in coming into my infested house. She taught me that lice don't jump, they crawl from head to head, head to pillow, head to couch, etc. And if you keep some kind of product in your hair their eggs will slip right off when you wash your hair. Lice LOVE clean hair with nothing in it. She had LOTS of product in her hair and it was pinned up in a pretty Do. To this day I still use mousse and hairspray! My mother in law stayed to help with cleaning and cried when I cut off our younger son's curls. I was too desperate to cry, but I did save a lock of his curls.
After 2 rounds of Nix shampoo, all the stuffed animals bagged, carpets and furniture powdered, sprayed and vacuumed, all the laundry washed in hot water and dried on high heat, and the cozy rocking chair I had always sat in was taken out to the trash, we still were not rid of the lice. Our pediatrician prescribed something that smelled like kerosene. The boys' hair came clean but mine was so long I was afraid... I had read that mayonnaise smothered the eggs and live bugs. I plastered my head with mayonnaise and tied a plastic bag over it, wearing it for several hours. It took a long time to wash out, but it was worth it. The lice were finally gone!
All that time I had continued to bleed off and on. When I was able to rest it would stop. I was obviously not able to rest the entire time. Thanksgiving and then Christmas holidays came and we drove an hour to visit family both times. I was always treated like a princess and not allowed to do anything but sit on the couch or lie down if I was tired. The day after Christmas I will never forget. December 26, 1997 as I sat on the couch at my in-laws' house after dinner, I felt my unborn baby kick. It had become a normal time for his movement each day. I asked my firstborn if he wanted to feel the baby move but he was busy playing. My niece, however, was excited and placed her hands on my belly in awe. The second she removed her hands I heard a voice loud and clear, as if everyone else should have heard it too. "You will never feel your baby move again." The tiny thumps in my belly stopped. I froze, choked back tears, and sat in shock. I was all alone even though the house was filled with noises, voices, laughter.. I could not tell anyone what I had just heard. They would think I was crazy.
To continue reading, go to My Babies...or HIS? Part 2