Sunday, March 30, 2008

A little Grill

By 1985, my life was completely changed from what it was when the two oldest boys were born.
I had survived a divorce, remarried, miscarried.
Tom and I were still shaken over the miscarriage- I had been due on the exact same day as two of my closest friends. By the time their baby boys were born- I was expecting again.

(Which really helped me)

I was really concerned that Tom adamantly wanted a son- someone to carry on his family name. He refused to consider the possibility I could have a girl- wouldn't even discuss girl names. At one point, he said if I were to DARE to have a girl, he was naming her Haggai Ezra and going to call her "little Hag" for short. I fretted endlessly, even speaking to Tom's Dad about my concerns. He tried to assure me, little girls have their ways of winning Daddy's heart.

I felt that God had spoken to my heart the name "Rebekah Rene".

After the first few days of morning sickness, I was in great health for this pregnancy. Tom was already a health food fanatic, and we used the Feingold diet because of Chris' problem with hyperactivity. However, I did have a mortal fear of going to the hospital to give birth. We prayed and prayed about what to do. My friend Angie had once had a doctor come to her house to deliver a baby- the first 'home birth' I had ever heard of. I even went to see him- and didn't like him one bit. He had given up on home deliveries anyway.

Our next nudge (shove?) in the direction of homebirth was an article in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram Newspaper. A midwife told of the growing trend of homebirths. She was just a few miles from us- so we contacted her. She ran a regular homebirth practice- quite large- and boosted by the article we read. I quickly persuaded Tom I would much rather try a homebirth than suffer through another round at the hospital. We signed up with this midwife.

For the next several months, we did our prenatal care with this woman. We diligently read all of the books she sent home with us. In our sixth month- I ran into something I really didn't like. I cannot remember the name of the book she sent home with us, but it had instructions in it on how to address your newborn baby. You hold the infant- tell it that it has been born into a humanoid life form on the planet Earth, in the (Solar system name) in the (Whatever our galaxy name is,) then you introduce yourself as its earthly parental units... This book was waaaay too whacked out new age for us. We were having a baby- not an extra-terrestrial.

We tried discussing the book with the midwife- and she informed us she had to keep an open mind towards ALL of her clients. (We were a bit too "Christian" for her.) After a considerable amount of prayer, Tom and I were no longer certain we could do a home-birth- not with this woman. We asked for prayers about the decision at church, and the Bible-study group we belonged to.

I was visiting at my Aunt Jean's house after a women's Bible Study one morning. One of the ladies who "happened to" come that day was talking about her new home- and some of the people who had helped her move in. Just in passing, she mentioned her "midwife friend" ... and I practically pounced on her with all seven months of baby belly. She hadn't heard we were looking for a new midwife. She gave her friend a call. The friend no longer delivered babies, we were told... but after her praying about it- we got a phone call from the midwife.

Dolores Rangel was a registered nurse- midwife. She agreed to meet with us because she felt led of God to do so. On our first meeting- she gave us a list of her rules and philosophies. Her first statement was that she was a Christian, and if we wanted her to be our midwife- we had better be prepared for her to pray for us and for our baby both before, during, and after delivery. She was truly the person we were looking for to deliver our baby. She accepted us... even with me seven+ months along.

Dolores gave us classes on what to expect in every aspect of home birth- just in case she failed to make the birth for any reason. We learned to recognise an emergency, and what do do in case of any given emergency during childbirth- whether she was there or not.

December rolled around again- I think my due date was the 13th or 14th. Chris had his 6th birthday- and didn't get the baby sister he was hoping for as a birthday present. On the evening of the 15th, we sat down and watched a John Wayne movie. It ended at 9:00pm. I stood up as it ended- and ***SPLASH*** my water broke. Chris and Bill thought this was the funniest thing ever- Mom pottied on the floor!

We called Dolores, and she came over. (She lived 3 miles away, almost a straight run). Dolores arrived- but contractions did NOT. She stayed a couple of hours, but I didn't have so much as a twinge of contractions. She recommended we ALL get some sleep, since we would probably all need it later. Dolores went home, and we all went to bed.

The next morning, the alarm went off at 4:30 for Tom to go to work. We briefly debated whether he should go (an hour and a half away- the other side of Dallas) or not. I still wasn't having contractions. I said we would be having the baby today at some point, so he decided to stay home. I got up out of the bed- and it felt like a rubber band suddenly snapping. Wham! Contractions started. I was in business!

I paced around the house, fed the boys their breakfast, prepared a bed for the birth, and paced around some more- until the contractions became too strong. Then I went in and laid down. Tom watched some TV, played with the boys, checked on me from time to time. He got me a bucket when I felt ill- a sure sign of transition for me. At a few minutes past 9- Dolores called to see if labor had picked up. Tom answered the phone. He chatted for a few minutes, telling her I was great, yes, laboring since about 5 am. In between horrendous contractions, I told him to tell Dolores to "GET HERE, NOW!"

Tom says calmly: "Tammy is fine, but I think she might feel better if you came on over." (That was so NOT what I said!)
Labor progressed. I suddenly felt I needed to have a bowel movement, so between contractions, I waddled the few steps to the toilet. That was when I discovered it wasn't a bowel movement I needed to pass. I yelled to Tom, who tried to pick me up and carry me back to the bed. I screamed at him, no uncertain terms- to put me down and DO NOT touch me. (Hey, I was in the middle of a contraction!)

Just then, the doorbell rang. Tom went to let Dolores in. I was still standing in the hall in the midst of a contraction- Tom was freaking out saying I was having the baby RIGHT NOW and I WOULDN'T go to the bedroom AND I was screaming at him... Dolores took one look at my face- washed and gloved herself up-led me back to the bedroom (the contraction passed)- and told me to PUSH.

About three or four good pushes, and there was a baby. And it was a girl. Tom was beyond caring- he was in love. He asked me, "What were you going to name her?" I told him, "Rebekah Rene". He held the baby up over his head, turned his eyes to Heaven, and Thanked God for his beautiful, healthy little girl. He said, "Lord, I give Rebekah Rene back to you in dedication, that she may serve you". Becky was born at 10:16 am, Dec. 16, weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz.

Dolores gave us some time for bonding with Becky, and went out to the back porch where Chris and Bill were playing. She brought them in to meet their new sister. Bill looked a tiny bit disappointed- he was hoping for a little brother. He says, "That's OK, Mom. You can have a boy next time." (And I did)

My Mom arrived about then. She had been worried about a home birth, and when she learned I was in labor that morning, hurried over. She arrived just in time to give Becky her very first bath. After visiting awhile, and taking a few instant Polaroid pictures, Mom took the boys home with her for a few hours so that I could rest. She also took them to lunch at the Deli where she worked. One of her friends was there, and teased Chris and Bill about the new baby. He offered to buy her for a dollar. Bill Joe declined: "We just got her, " he says "But we will sell you her picture for a quarter!"

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