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Daniel's Birthday

Dear Daniel,
23 years ago today you were born.  Your birth nearly cost me my life.  It was the hardest thing I've ever gone through and the best thing I've ever gone through.  

Early in the morning on February 22, 1989 we went to Gamkalle Clinic.  The amniotic sac in which you were floating had broken and while labor pains weren't strong, we decided to go in.  The contractions continued off and on all day, but never really progressed.  By then you were at least two weeks overdue, but apparently very comfortable where you were!

By evening the midwife decided to induce labor.  She started the drip and contractions started in earnest.  Dad was there the whole time, all through the night, helping me breathe through each contraction as they got stronger and stronger.  Finally the moment came when we were ready to go to the delivery room and that's when the excitement started.

First off, the midwife made me walk down the corridor, out through the breezeway, and into the delivery room.  Yes, there were wheelchairs, but apparently she thought real women should walk to the delivery room.  I had at least one strong contraction on the way.  I remember leaning on the wall, being held up my dad and our friend, Sarah, while the contraction passed.

I  worked hard to deliver you, but the contractions were not really strong enough.  The midwife decided I needed a little help and told the nurses to push down on my uterus to try to force you out.  That was extremely painful.  I also found out later that the uterus was already on the point of looking like it might rupture and what they were doing was putting both of our lives in jeopardy.  I yelled to Sarah to make them stop.  She told the midwife she was pretty sure that practise had been outlawed in England.  The midwife said it probably had been in France, too, but she continued on anyway.  Finally you were born, coming out sideways instead of the normal way.

I thought all was over and just wanted to hold you and get back to my room.  But now the placenta wouldn't deliver, which resulted in heavy bleeding.  NOW, they decided to try to get an IV going.  They must have started the inducement with an injection rather than a drip or I would already have had an IV started.  I can't remember that detail.  By that time I was going into shock and they couldn't get the needle in.  After about six tries, they finally succeeded.  They eventually got the bleeding stopped and got me back to my room.  Then I had to have two units of blood, one from Sarah, and one from Uncle Dean.  The next day a gynecologist came in and removed all the bits of placenta that had been left behind.  That was also extremely painful and none with no pain relievers!

For days I was so weak I could barely lift my head or turn over in bed.  They decided to not give me more blood than they did because of the risk of my getting malaria or something from the blood of somebody who may have been about to come down with malaria or hepatitis or something else.  For at least two months, all I could do was take care of you.  Just folding laundry was an exhausting chore.

But, was it worth it?  Absolutely!  I would do it again if I had to.  You have been a delight and a joy.  I am so glad to have been given the privilege by God to be your mother.  I know I haven't always done it right, but here you are, 23 years old, all grown up and about to get married!  I am so proud of you, of the man you've become.


Jane Stutzman said…
I remember John's telling the story of how you almost died of malaria; the Dr. met you w/meds somewhere along the trail (a miracle of God that you were on the same path). You write so well, Nancy; maybe someday you could blog that story--from John's memory (you were too sick to remember). I've never seen John so tender, with love seeping out his eyes, as he shared his gratitutde for what God had done. I loved reading this miracle of Daniel's birth--you've had at least two experiences of divine intervention to spare your life...truly awesome (I use that word sparingly and generally only for what God does).
Mommy Becoming said…
That is a wonderful story Aunt Nancy! Well, not wonderful what you went through, but hopefully you know what I mean. I read a lot of birth stories and I really loved reading yours since you are my aunt. You are so strong and I really admire you as a woman of God!
Jean DeValve said…
We were so glad to get to see Daniel the next summer when he was still an infant but you were quite well and we enjoyed holding him and playing with him.
Mom DeValve

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