Tuesday, March 18, 2014

And then you were here

Dear Addie Jane,
Here is the story of what happened the day you were born. Just in case you want to know.

You were due to arrive on August 30th. Since I have c-sections the doctors scheduled your birth at their convenience. They determined you would arrive on Tuesday, August 23rd. "Heh, heh...we'll just see about that!" I thought. Since both your brothers were early I was confident you would choose your own birthday just like they did. In fact I thought you would end up being a little earlier than your brother Sawyer was (3 weeks and 1 day early). August approached and still I was confident that the universe would bring you to us some day most definitely before the 23rd of August.

Grandma Dickerson arrived 3 weeks early. Because, you know, you were going to be early.

And you did not a darn thing.

You were apparently quite content to just hang out. Will started 1st grade on August 22nd. I went to lunch with Grandma and Aunt Mollie and then raced back to school in time to pick him up. The whole day I thought that maybe, just maybe you would get a move on and choose your own birthday after all.

But you did not a darn thing.

That night we went to Chuck-A-Rama for a little "first day of school, last day before baby" celebration. I don't think the boys really grasped the concept that by that time tomorrow there would be someone new in our family.

The hospital called to tell me that I needed to be there at a ridiculous hour in the morning. I went to bed late. And slept not long enough. Especially knowing there wouldn't be any more sleeping through the night for quite some time to come.

We got up early. Very early. Like 4 in the morning early. I got showered and grabbed my bag and we headed to the hospital. When I walked in and said hello to the nurses they must have gathered I wasn't in labor since they replied "You must be our 7:30 c-section." Yup, that's me.

The nurses started an IV and put those terrible anti-clotting squeezey things on my legs and asked me 8 million questions about the health histories of every family member for 3 generations. Yes, someone in my family has had EVERY SINGLE disease you are possibly going to ask me about. But they also all lived to be 90+ so I'm not sure how this is relevant.

I kept my contacts in. I feel a little guilty writing that. They always say you can't have contacts in for surgery or when you deliver a baby, but since I don't deliver through my eyeballs I'm not inclined to go along with it. If I don't have my contacts in I can't see and I feel helpless and I hate it. Despite the 8 million questions they asked me they did not ever ask if I had contacts so I didn't volunteer the information and I didn't take them out. I wanted to be able to see you and make sure they didn't try to pull any baby-swap-funny-business on the blind mom on the operating table.

When they pulled up my hospital file they wanted to verify that I was allergic to Monistat and something else I had never heard of. I have no idea where this came from. I told them that I did not have any allergies. Your brothers were born at the same hospital so at what point they assigned me random allergies I have no idea.

I had to tell the nurse if I had ever had any other surgeries. I told her I had lithotripsy (to treat a kidney stone...for which I received treatment at the same hospital). Later I saw the computer screen and she had typed in that I had liposuction. Not quite the same. But close. Always nice to know the nurse has never heard of the medical procedures they are attempting to record. I'm thinking that when I went to the ER with kidney stones and told them I was "resistant to morphine" it somehow became "allergic to Monistat." Anyways. This is all besides the point.

Another interesting point is that once they had me hooked up to all their monitors they wanted to know if my heart rate and blood pressure were usually low. I got asked the same question at every single one of my prenatal appointments. What can I say? I guess my heart just likes to take it easy. But the monitors did not like it so it kept setting off an alarm every time it went below 50 beats per minute. Which was about every other minute. Like this: heartbeat = 52...51...50...49 BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! (Nurse comes in and turns off the beeping.) Meanwhile the obnoxious beeping has startled me so heart rate jumps up to 52. Then after a minute 51...50...49. BEEP! Repeat. This happened the entire 4 days I was in the hospital. Moving on.

While they were taking this very accurate medical history, they were also pumping me full of bags of fluids through the IV. Once they finished the questions they left us sitting in the room with a bunch of monitors and stuff hooked up to me and more fluids flowing in. I stayed like that for about an hour. And after having fluids pumped in for an hour it wasn't really a surprise that I would have to use the restroom. I finally had to page the nurse who had to come in and unhook a dozen different contraptions and wheel the IV stand into the bathroom. When I came out a second later the anesthesiologist was standing in the room wondering where his patient was. Nice to meet you too. They said they were ready for me to go to the OR.

The anesthesiologist said they liked doing nice, routine c-sections because they were usually calm with no surprises.

Once in the OR they had me sit on a table while the anesthesiologist put in the spinal block. I'm not sure why it has to involve being freezing, but it does. The doctors commented that they get hot with all of their sterile gowns and the lights so they purposefully keep it cold. Which is well and good for them, but when you are sitting there with nothing (NOTHING!) on it is freezing. Then they swab your entire back from neck to tailbone with popsicles which doesn't help. (Ok, not real popsicles but some kind of freezing ice-like contraption.) The real fun part is when they stick needles in your back. I tell you this so that when you are a teenager and angry you will remember that it wasn't that much fun to get you here. As soon as he was done poking needles into my spinal column they laid me down on the operating table.

This is the moment when I became very nauseated and my head felt like someone was running over it with a car. The anesthesiologist said "How are you doing?" and I said "I'm very nauseated." He said "Hold on! I'm gonna give you something for that right now." I responded by throwing up. He grabbed the nursery nurse that was standing by to take care of you and handed her a basin and said "Hold this. You've been called in." The doctors were doing their pre-op procedures and wanted to know if the nurse had checked the fetal heart beat. The nurse said she had and it was in the 140s. They told her to check again. She said "I just did it." Then the doctor said "Well check again because her heart beat is in the 30s." Low heart rate for the win! Yours was still plugging away at around 145 though.

The surgeons started the process of getting you out and I continued to vomit for their viewing pleasure. After about 10 minutes I heard "I see a head of dark hair!" I was happy because I was hoping you'd have hair. I guess I'm vain, because I kind of wanted you to take after me. Then I heard "1...2!...3!!" My first thought was "Babies?! What the crap?" but luckily they quickly followed with "The cord was around her neck 3 times...and it has a knot in it." The anesthesiologist told me "Remember how we were saying we liked calm births? It's a good thing you had a c-section scheduled because this wouldn't have been a calm birth." So I guess I can't blame you too much for just hanging around until the 23rd.

Once again I didn't get to see you until they had cleaned you off and wrapped you up. Well, I should say they tried to clean you up. There were a number of comments in the room about the amount of vernix on you and despite their best scrubbing efforts when I finally got a glimpse you still had a lot of waxy white all over you. The nurse even commented on it as part of your hospital notes along with your APGAR scores and length and weight. Not sure what that says about your future. You were a slippery little thing. I got about a 2 second glimpse of my little dark-haired thing with the tiniest features and rosebud lips and then they took you and your Daddy off to the newborn admitting room.

It seemed to take forever to get sewn up. (Don't worry, I won't tell you about the nasty smell when they were cauterizing my flesh. MY FLESH. Don't say I never did anything for you.)

They finally got that all finished and moved me to a bed. At one point when they were moving me from table to bed I saw a bare leg up in the air and had zero recognition that it was part of my body. But since it didn't make sense for it to belong to anyone else I figured out that it was mine. I just couldn't feel it at all. I had no sensation that it was attached to me in any way. I probably shouldn't tell you that because it is just weird. But there you go.

They wheeled me to a recovery room where I sat by myself for about an hour. Daddy was busy watching them do their deal with you. Not that I'm bitter or anything. I mean, just because I was cut open, stapled back together and then left in a room by myself to vomit continuously. Finally Daddy came back with you and I got to hold you and stare at your sweet little face with your giant cheeks.

And then you were here. I love you. You were worth it.

(I'll cover the joys of the rest of our hospital stay in another post - you can find it under the "Why you owe me" label.)

PS: I didn't actually write this the day you born. I wrote it on April 16, 2012, but it doesn't seem like it could possibly have been 7.5 months ago. You were upstairs asleep in your playpen, but we both know how you hate that whole sleeping concept so now you are crying so I will go and get you. The whole no sleeping thing also explains why I am writing this 7.5 months later.

My Response to Ordain Women

It has only been a year since my last post!  One of these days I will actually get this updated with the family minutiae that you forget so quickly.  For today I am posting on a matter of Church politics, if you will. Obviously I don't work for Church headquarters, so nothing I say (or write) on the topic should matter to anybody, but maybe my kids will think it is interesting one day.

To sum up: A group of LDS women known as the Ordain Women  Movement has requested tickets to attend the upcoming Priesthood Session of Conference.  Six months ago the group tried to gain admittance to the session by waiting in the standby line at the Conference Center - they were denied entry.  Yesterday, a Church spokesperson (spokeswoman, incidentally) issued a reply to their request. Here is the reply I wish they would have received:

TO: April Young Bennett, Debra Jenson, Kate Kelly, Hannah Wheelwright
FROM: Just some LDS woman
SUBJECT: Ticket and Meeting Request
DATE: March 18, 2014

Dear Sisters,
Thank you for your letter.  Please understand that while I am writing as a representative of the Church, the words are mine alone.

The Brethren are aware of your concerns, specifically your concerns regarding the role of women in the Priesthood.  They appreciate your openness about the topics that trouble you.  They know that too many women in the Church have had experiences involving Priesthood leadership that have caused them to feel demeaned or degraded in their role and identity as women.  Some of these experiences are the result of cultural traditions and practices within the Church that are not illustrative of Church doctrine.  You have seen the efforts to correct some of these non-doctrinal practices.

At this time there has been no additional revelation that would lead to the ordination of women to the Priesthood. The reasons for this are known to God.  We believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God - the shape and substance of which we do not yet know.

Some things we do know.  We know that men and women were created by a perfect Father who loves and esteems His children equally.  We know that He sees his children, not as the world sees them, but with a perfect love and with a perfect understanding of the intents of their hearts.  We trust that one day we will more fully understand His purposes for His children.

Your request for tickets to the Priesthood Session has not been granted.  The meeting focuses on topics and teachings which the speakers feel are of special importance to the male members of the Church.  Therefore, the tickets are distributed to the intended audience.  We know that some of you plan to wait in the standby line to gain admittance.  You will not find the doors locked to you, sisters. However, we ask you to consider allowing the seats available to be used by men who may be in need of the messages that will be delivered and that all the men attending may benefit from the feeling of unity and mutual responsibility they share as men in the Church.  You are welcome to participate in the session via live broadcast.  Certainly there are lessons applicable to everyone to be found in any meeting of the Church.

Of course, the free speech zones surrounding Temple Square are open to you as they are to everyone.  You can find these areas delineated on the attached map.

Whatever you do, sisters, please don't leave.  The Church needs you, and more importantly, the Lord needs you.  Your voices of faith are welcome.  Your contribution to your wards is essential. Your influence on your families and communities is vital.  There is a place for you and all who seek to follow the Lord.

Not a Church Spokesperson

At any rate, that's what I would have written if it were my job!  Personally, I don't think there is sexism in the true doctrine of the LDS religion, but there is plenty of it to be found in the LDS Church.  Just read the comments on any news article covering this topic and you will find a lot of superiority, judgment, unkindness, and 'if you don't like it then leave.'

My two cents, okay maybe more like fifty cents, on the topic.