Sunday, August 17, 2008

Carrie Ann Hildebrandt

Well, I had written an entire post for Carrie, and it was just swiftly swept away, thanks to the wonderful world of computer glitches! I will begin again! Carrie Ann is my 4th daughter, 5th child. Carrie Ann was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan January 27th, 1990 at just after 1:00 in the morning. She was due February 4th and I was hoping that she would wait one more day and share my mother's birth date of February 5th! I had decided early on that I wanted to have a baby in each of the 12 months of the year. I had January covered with Christopher's birth! So, having a due date of February was perfect. I had the months of March, June and August covered as plan was unfolding perfectly! But, it was not to be...

My mother had been able to come to assist me the latter part of January. I had (my now) weekly appointment with the Nurse Mid-wife on January 26th, and I had a long list of things to do that day as well. Mom stayed with the other children at our apartment at the University of Michigan's student housing while I took myself to my "routine" appointment. I was still suffering from nausea and vomiting. I had been losing weight throughout the pregnancy--this was typical for me. I think I had only gained 10 pounds by this time, and I was just days away from being full term! The one thing that was NOT typical was a reoccurring sense that I was NOT pregnant. NOW because I had gained so little, it might have just been that, but, when I would lay down on my bed, and I tried to feel my baby, it seemed that I was NOT pregnant. It was such an odd feeling, and it was very unsettling. I decided that I would just mention it to the nurse mid-wife. I will always be eternally grateful that I did. Rather than just dismiss my unsettled feelings, she insisted that we do a fetal stress test. During the test, I could see that the technician was concerned. After the test, I met again with the mid-wife, and she told me that she had some concerns and felt it was imperative that I be admitted immediately.

I told her that today just was NOT a good day for me. I told her that I just had too many pressing errands, but, I told her that I would happily return after I had done at least a few things on my list. Then, the Mid-wife shocked me by stating that if I left the hospital then, she could NOT guarantee that my baby would survive. Well, that got my attention! I tearfully called my mother and told her that I was being admitted right that minute and I requested that she convey the news to Gary. I then began praying fervently for the safety of my baby.

I was given an IV and they began to administer pitocin to induce labor. But, the dosage, though it produced contractions, did NOT effectively help in the progression of the labor. So, I was given a hand-held mask and was told that with the contractions, I could inhale the nitrous oxide to help mitigate the pain. Gary was sitting in the chair next to my bed and dosed off and on through-out the night. Steadily over eight hours, they increased the dose, but, to no avail. I was no closer to delivering the baby, and the signs of fetal distress were becoming more and more alarming. By the time midnight arrived, an OB/GYN was in my room telling me that they could wait no longer to deliver the baby. I was going to have to sign the papers and they would be prepping me for a C-Section. I was scared and I was concerned for the life of my baby. I prayed once again, and pleaded with the Lord to allow the baby to be born, safely and swiftly.

Then, just minutes after they had turned OFF the pitocin drip, I had a SUPER contraction. Then, another and another. The pain was so very intense, it was all I could do to just hold onto the mask and inhale the nitrous as deeply as possible! By the time the fourth contraction hit, I was unable to move the mask from my face, but, I could feel the baby crowning! Gary, was asleep and I could not get his attention. I prayed again for help and the nurse entered the room. As she lifted the sheet to check me, she saw the baby crowning and things began to roll! Within the next 10 minutes, Carrie was born! It was then clear as to the reason her heart-rate dropped with her movements and with my contractions. The cord was wrapped multiple times and so very tightly around her tiny neck! It took a great deal of effort just to cut the cord from around her neck! How grateful I was that the nurse mid-wife was so very in tune. I knew at that moment that had I left the hospital that day, without mentioning my fears, without that stress test, Carrie would have strangled to death prior to a chance at birth. What a miracle and a huge blessing!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Colleen Janelle Hildebrandt

It has been a few posts since I have focused on my children---so, I will continue on with my fourth child; third daughter. Colleen was born August 26, 1988. It was of course, the hottest summer on record, and the heat wave did NOT cease UNTIL the day AFTER Colleen was born!!! I remember early in my pregnancy with Colleen there were some huge trials. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and during her subsequent surgery and recovery, I was so very ill with "morning sickness!" I never ever will understand why it is called "MORNING SICKNESS" as for me, it was all day and all night sickness! I was usually admitted to the hospital for dehydration because I could not keep much of anything down early in my pregnancies. SO, in the midst of feeling so very miserable, I wanted to spend as much time with my Mother as I could. Additionally, after Mom's surgery, I found myself grappling with some shocking news of my own. My physician told me that I had breast cancer and an immediate surgery might be necessary. I had had some bloody exudate and so, a mammogram was scheduled. I was more upset that I would NOT be able to nurse my baby, than with the actual cancer news. All of my maternal relatives had had breast cancer, so I was resigned to that being my future. But, I was not prepared to deal with it at the age of 29! I was sure I would be allowed to have and nurse all my babies before that was my fate. AND, I had always planned on at least a dozen children! I must say that I was truly blessed in that I was able to have all 11 of my children and to nurse 10 of my children without ever having to face the diagnosis of cancer after this first scare!

Providently, the mammogram proved that I did NOT in fact have cancer. And, I was able to complete the pregnancy and have my daughter. I know that I did, in fact, relish nursing her far more than I had my other children. Funny how the threat of a loss helps you to savor what you do have! Colleen was a beautiful baby! AND, it was such an easy labor and delivery! She was nearly 9 pounds and for me, the bigger the baby, the easier it was for me to deliver that baby! I remember looking at her and just feeling so much joy and love! I have never found the miracle of birth anything but divine and a truly spiritual and elevating experience! What an overwhelming gift it is to participate in the bringing forth life! I would have stayed in that phase of my life forever if I only could have! To me, there is simply no other thing that I have done on this earth that even comes close to being as grand and glorious! It is such an honor and a privilege to be a part of this process of Heavenly Father's Plan of happiness. To be a co-creator and to witness HIS hand in every facet of this birth process is so very humbling and amazing to me.

Colleen's name was chosen by her father. He had seen a video called "The Award" and the heroine of the movie was a young woman named "Colleen" I thought it was sweet that he had selected that name and wanted to show her the video as she matured in the hopes that she too, would be a force for good and righteousness! Is that not what we want for all of our children? To help them find a hero to follow and to encourage them to model their lives after that hero! That is exactly what our Heavenly Father and Mother wish for us as well! And, THEY have provided that HERO to follow! They sent THEIR PERFECT SON, Jesus Christ, to show us the way that will lead us back to life with THEM! HE, Jesus, IS the perfect role-model! There just is not any situation that we will encounter that IF we will but follow HIM, we will succeed! That is just another witness to me that our Heavenly Parents DO want us to come back to them! They have done all possible to provide for our success! All we have to do is TRUST THEM and FOLLOW the Savior that they have provided!

Colleen has always loved her Savior. It was Colleen that would wear the WWJD bracelets and the only jewelry around her neck was a crucifix. Colleen has a very sensitive soul and she has always fought for the outcast and the loner. Colleen has a tender heart and she has always been sensitive and demonstrative. Colleen was the one that stepped up to the plate and took on so many of the household tasks while I was working long hours---18 hour shifts and so, for some time, was only able to work and sleep! I never ever heard her murmur with the increased work load. At this time, I still had 8 at home and Colleen essentially was the mom! I will never ever be able to express my deepest gratitude and love for Colleen! Her self-less service to her family was crucial and was the only reason our family did survive some of the darkest days I was ever forced to face.

I know that each of my children are very special spirit children of OUR Heavenly Parents. I know that they each have come to me with their own unique gifts and talents and I know that they each have enriched my life beyond measure, beyond my ability to express my deep felt gratitude and love. And, I pray that each of my children----especially Colleen, at this point and time---will know how I love and adore them. Colleen, you are a beautiful, special and choice daughter of God and it has been my privilege and my greatest honor to know you and to share this briefest---(for to me it is all too brief before they do leave my nest and venture out into the world!) period of time. Thankfully, we are working toward becoming an eternal family unit and it is my most fervent wish that we will be together forever, living forever in the presence of our Heavenly Parents and OUR BELOVED Savior!

I really do love you, Colleen!