by Kristine John
**I am sure many of you have written similar stories if you have children. This is story #1. I never thought I would have 7 to tell!**
Late last Monday night (8-14-1995), and early Tuesday morning, I kept being woken up by contractions. Finally, about 4:40am, I woke Pat up and asked him to rub my lower back because it was hurting so badly. He was a little reluctant…mostly because he thought he’d be leaving for work in an hour. I finally rewoke him up about 10 minutes later and asked him to start timing my contractions because I couldn’t go back to sleep. We started timing them, and were surprised to find they were between 2 and 3 minutes apart, and lasting for 30 to 45 seconds. After about 1 ½ hours, we called the doctor-Dr. John D. Holmes-, and he said to call him back in another hour. I decided to go and take a bath to help relax my back, and that threw my contractions totally out of synch. We called Dr. Holmes back and told him that the contractions had become really erratic and his conclusion was that I was having false labor. (Pat and I had gone for a walk around the (Mesa) Temple after the bath to try and get the contractions to be regular again, and it hadn’t helped). After we called the doctor, we both decided another hour or so of sleep would be good and then Pat could leave for a ½ day of work. During our nap, I kept waking up—in pain—from contractions. Finally, about 9:30am, when I was having to hold back tears and really breathe through the contractions, I called the doctor’s office and explained how I was feeling. I was told to come in for a check-up, which Pat and I left for immediately.
Dr. Holmes checked me and told Pat and I that I was dialated to 3 cm and effaced 80% and that we needed to go to the hospital and check in. We went to Mesa Lutheran Hospital and checked in. We were assigned to room #625, and from there we called Mom and Becca Lunt (who had planned on leaving for Thatcher to move Becca into her dorm on Tuesday) who were at our house, and Susan Ludwig (a very dear friend) who was at Johnson school. All of them showed up within an hour and stayed until Stephen was born. (Boy, we were naïve…thinking my first baby would show up fast!!)
The day progressed quickly. I chose to take some Stadol, a painkiller, and although it helped some, I decided to get an epidural as well. The interesting thing was that at one point I felt very strongly that if I wanted an epidural, I needed to ask for it then. I did ask, and then waited 45 minutes to an hour for the doctor to come and take care of it. They also had to try 3 times before it was properly inserted.
After the initial insertion of the epidural, I rested for about 20 or 30 minutes, and then, the medication wasn’t having any effect any more. At this point, I was dialated to 7 cm and going through transitional labor. In other words, my contractions were extraordinarily strong, and I had little or no painkiller in my system. Mom Lunt, Becca, and Susan had left just before the pain got intense, (This is the point where my mom started talking about the palm trees swaying in the wind and I very tersely said, “Mom, BE QUIET!) and Mom John and Coleen John (my sister-in-law) had just showed up. Mom John, Coleen and Pat were there to help me through this part of my labor. (Mom John really did make the comment about the pain just getting worse, and if I could have said anything other than “MOM!” at that point, I would have told her to shut up…and that is not like me…but hey, transitional labor brings out the best in all of us, right?)
At about 7pm, Dr Holmes came into the room and checked me and said I could start pushing. From then until 8:47pm, I was working with everyone to help Stephen be born. I could feel a little bit of movement, and the others in the room kept me posted as to what was happening from their perspective. Finally, (at the very end), Dr. Holmes came rushing in and gave me an episiotomy, and four pushes later, our first son, Stephen Joseph John was born. Dr. Holmes put him on my chest, and when I spoke to Stephen, he looked right into my face and stopped crying. Pat cut the umbilical cord, and we were able to just hold and love Stephen his first minutes of life. (The funny thing was that even 3 or 4 minutes after he was born, no one had checked to see if he was a boy! Finally, one of the nurses asked, and of course it was Stephen, but it was somewhat comical.)
The labor and delivery were things I would have done again the very next hour for a joy and reward as special as my little son. I have no serious complaints—just the rejoicings of my heart and of having a healthy child.