In my last post, my OB-GYN left his practice in the hands of a general practice doctor. It made no sense of him not sending me to another OB-GYN. I was a high risk pregnancy. I went to his office and asked for all of my records, including my previous stillbirth. I had the task of finding a reputable doctor in the closest town 45 minutes away. I asked around and decided on a practice, made the appointment, and off I went to visit him. I like him right away. I was treated as a high priority. They had better equipment also. I had no ultrasounds, but monitoring belts to wear for the baby's heartbeat. Oh by the way, I had paid my other doctor month by month. This practice had a lump sum fee they charged...no waiver for an almost 8 month pregnant mom coming in! My insurance had a field day with that! The appointment was over and I was told everything looked good, but from now on I should come in every two weeks. I left for home.
After telling James every detail of the visit, he felt we had made a good decision to seek out this team of doctors. We began to nest for our new baby. My MIL made the most beautiful nursery curtains I have ever seen. She was trying. The walls had a fresh coat of white paint on them. We bought baby blue carpet that was as soft as a baby's behind to cover the floor. James bought me a new white Bentwood rocker to go in the nursery. My other rocker went into the den. My MIL gave me James' little rocker he had as a toddler to go into the room. It has been painted white. She made a cushion to go in the bottom to match my white curtains with the blue and pink double ruffles. She also made me baby receiving blankets in every pastel colors that she knew I liked. Mother Goose pictures hung over the changing table. Everything was washed and fluffed, ready for our Rainbow Baby. It was so bittersweet. I could feel James, Jr. approval. He never left my side...I could feel him. I so wished he was with us to greet the new baby. All of the people that had been so quiet after my stillbirth came out of the woodwork with well wishes for us. I was happy.
Out of the blue, I became plagued by terrible headaches. I had never had many headaches, but these seemed abnormal. I called my doctor and was told to come in right away. I wasn't thinking much of anything....just a headache. It was now my due month, March, 1977. After checking me over, my doctor said my blood pressure was way up. James was with me. We were sent straight to Greenville, the largest hospital in Eastern NC. On the way, it started snowing. A March snow. We made it to Greenville and saw the waiting doctor there. Every test was done on me to make sure all was okay. Negative, but since my blood pressure wasn't good, I would not be getting any kind of saddle block, epidural, or pain meds. It would be a natural childbirth. Now, classes for natural childbirth had not hit our area yet. I had no way of preparing for it. I just remembered how awful the pain was with James, Jr. and my anxiety went up! I started going in now every week to see my doctor.
I was sitting at home one night after that. I noticed that I had no control over one of my legs. I could not move it! Another call to the doctor! I was told the baby was sitting on a nerve blocking my ability for me to move my leg. That lasted for at least another day.
Finally, Monday March 21 arrived.....I had been due the 19th. I had signs of labor beginning. I was so excited! I waited. I thought. Please God, let this baby be born alright and live! My arms so needed to hold and mother a live baby. Please! Please! Let it be okay! I could not go through having another dead baby. I couldn't bear the pain of it all...I just couldn't! It was my turn for a happy outcome.... All afternoon I waited. Nothing. After dinner that night we continued to wait. About 9:00 I felt my belly tightening and then relaxing. At first it was weak, then it was stronger. I could feel my baby kicking, thank God.
About 11:00 that rainy night we decided to go the 45 minute drive on I-95 to the hospital. We stopped by to pick up James' mother because she wanted to go. Big Mistake! What is wrong with my brain? Can't I learn from the past? Before leaving the house, James called my twin sister. She was in bed, but jumped out, got her husband up, called her MIL to watch her son and off they went in this terrible rain to drive over an hour to get to our hospital.
It was a hairy ride on the interstate in the pounding rain, but we made it safely. I was admitted to labor and delivery. The baby's heart beat was fine, but it was on my chart to have no meds due to my continued headaches and high blood pressure. After a good exam, James was told I most likely wouldn't deliver until morning. My twin and her husband had arrived, but since I was back in the labor room strapped down to all types of monitors, James, my sister or his mother couldn't come in. Hospital rules. Can you believe it? My sister begged with everyone she could find to let her come see me. You would have thought that after one stillbirth, they would let me have some comfort from my husband and my twin sister, but they didn't. She and her husband were so disappointed, but left for the hour back to Washington. Then it started. My infamous MIL started nagging to James that she needed to go home and get some rest! That meant he would have to leave me alone all night so she could get her rest! I was asked if he could take his mother home. Oh come on!
What if the baby died during the night? I would be alone to handle it! If I said he couldn't take his mother home, I would be the bitchy wife. She should have never asked him that question...to choose between her or me. It was unbelievable! The nurses kept saying that they were sure I wouldn't deliver during the night and that James couldn't be with me anyway. I needed to feel he was there pacing in the waiting room! Wasn't that expectant fathers did? I am not nice, just stupid. I said he could take her home. You know, I was on a very narrow metal table, not a birthing bed, hook to monitors beeping, and I had to stay that way all night long. I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep. I was in a giant long room with several birthing tables, but I was alone in there. I was miserable. Why couldn't James and his mother be miserable for one night to be close to me and offer support? James didn't want to leave me or his baby. Why did we bring her over with us? So many regrets already this time again. That was the longest night of my life. No sleep and grande uncomfortable. If I could have gotten up off that table I would have. But they didn't offer the monitoring I was getting in rooms, so I stayed put.
The next morning, I was sent to the delivery room after getting a shot of pitocin to urge the labor along. This is where things got so ugly I was totally embarrassed. My butt was numb from being on a narrow table. I was cold! I was hungry! I was getting these horrific labor pains coming one after the other. Was James back yet? Oh, these pains were unbearable. I tried to get on my side to make myself more comfortable and maybe handle the pains better. Oh no! I was immediately strapped down by my hands! I couldn't move or had no control in breathing at all. I begged my doctor to give me something for pain! He kept telling me he couldn't, but I told him that I would sign papers releasing him from responsibility if he would just give me something. Oh the pain! I was screaming uncontrollably. I could tell the doctors and nurses were in a panic as I was withering and fighting them on every account. Finally, I got shots where the baby was coming out to help me not feel the episiotomy. My baby was out and screaming crying! He was healthy! I asked if he was okay. They nurse said yes indeed. I just collapsed in relief and was somewhat in shock at the terrible birthing process I had endured. The nurse brought him to me to hold. I shook my head no. I was so exhausted and traumatized after the birth that I just said flatly no. I had no strength left in me. This was not how I had pictured giving birth to my Rainbow Son. It was a hellish delivery! It was now March 22, 1977 at 11:04 AM. I was a mother for the second time. It was the first time I have ever heard one of my babies cry. I began to weep for joy! James Collins Fitts, Jr. now had a brother, John Collins Fitts and we would call him Collins.
I was so glad to get to my room, which was very nice. The nurse came in and brought Collins with her. James was right on her heals. She handed him to me and left. James sat down on the bed with us. We couldn't utter a word to each other. He held me and our son and we just wept our hearts out. We wept for joy with Colllins and for James, Jr. who we knew was in the room with us also. I'll treasure that moment in time always.