Damaris Catherine Mary Boever-The Story of your Birth
Today, you are four weeks old. I won't even begin the "I cannot believe you are four weeks old" as I know in my head we just walked in the door with you last night eager to introduce you to your home and family. I have not yet written your story as the days have been drawn together. Time. What is it and where is it? You spent nine months living inside of me. Now, you begin your earthly life on the outside. I feel as though the world has vastly changed for you. I want things to stop and realize that YOU WERE JUST BORN. "I feel like yelling "LOOK AT HER. NO ONE has ever seen this person ever before." I get it though. I sit and stare at you. I know you are new. I am thankful I know you are brand new.
Your birth evokes many emotions for me. I feel as though I brushed death twice and then felt the intensity of the emotion of meeting your first child all over again. You were due Monday, April 9th. Starting Sunday night, I had contractions during the night, but nothing consistent. The same thing continued Monday night, but I knew they were the real ones that would make one go to the hospital but again they weren't consistent so I stayed home. Although, for quite some time in the night the contractions were really hard and I just knew I was dilated to a twenty-seven. I went to my regularly scheduled doctor's appointment Tuesday morning half hoping that I was dilated to something exciting that would warrant immediate deliver at the clinic. I was only at a three and everything had basically stopped. Dr. McNeely let me choose what to do. He told me that we could watch to see what would happen the rest of the day or I could go up to the hospital to get things moving along. We joke that you came out hungry and sneezing.
I decided after already missing two nights sleep that I would head to the hospital to see if things could get going. I hesitated though because I couldn't decide if God was trying to tell me to stay home because things weren't consistent or if He was prompting me the last two nights to head up. John thought we should go. So after my sister arrived around 11:00, we headed up to St. Elizabeth's.
Leaving our home to go to the hospital always brings so many different emotions. I always feel sad saying goodbye to the kids. Dominic always is hard because I feel like it was yesterday I brought him home and now I have a ten-year-old boy waving to me from the window and handing me a note that read, "Have a great time, Mama! I will miss you. I wish you could be at my football game. Eat a lot of great food. I can't wait to see the new baby! I love you. Love, Dominic." The youngest is always hard because I know this is the last moment she will be my baby. I watched Clairvaux waving to me and felt that horrible tug on my heart as she had no idea what was about to happen to her world. When we turn north on 70th street, I feel as though it really is real. Walking down the long corridor together always seems so surreal every time. Here we are again getting ready to welcome our new child. Who is it? How will it all go? We have waited a long time for this very moment and now we are here. Sometimes, I want to say "WAIT! It is happening to fast. I can't take it all in. Let me watch all this all over again so I can really understand what we are really doing." I will remember John loaded down with bags, cameras, pillows. All the things I have mentally and physically prepared for the last nine months. For some reason, it all seems so insignificant. All the days spent cleaning, organizing, packing, and planning...seem so funny now as I am getting ready to meet our new family member.
Once I was checked in and dressed in my backless gown, the nurse informed me I was still at three centimeters and wanted to start Pitocin to get a regular rhythm of contractions going. Dr. McNeely ordered the epidural and he arrived promptly. This is the part of your story that will probably always strike fear on my heart. Before putting the epidural in, I remember him saying "Now, you know all epidurals aren't perfect." I've never had any trouble before at all so when he made that comment I remember being afraid. The epidural worked IMMEDIATELY. Usually, it takes about 15-30 minutes to kick in, but I felt it instantly.
He finished his work and they rolled me over and suddenly I went from feeling numb to feeling like my sudden death was near. I turned to John "Something isn't right." I panicked as a feeling of doom came over me. I remember slinking down in my bed and the nurse saying, "LINDSAY, are you alright!!! Do you feel like you are having a heart attack?" All I can say is that for about 20 seconds, I knew I was about to meet my maker. I felt as though I was having a heart attack. I couldn't grasp what was happening nor could I vocalize what was happening. Several nurses came in to check my vitals and remove various tubes. They called the anaesthesiologist back. He concluded that the epidural went too high and my lungs were asleep compounded with the baby sitting on the vein going to my heart. The only thing I told the nurses was that I felt like 500 people were shoving me in the back. I told her, "I can't breathe." These events happened around 1:00 and weren't resolved until her birth 9 1/2 hours later. I never found comfort or relief. Even my natural births were more comfortable than this birth. I was afraid. There is a difference between being in labor and being in labor and feel like you are suffocating to death.
I was dilated to a three until 5:00. Dr. McNeely came back to check on me. He decided to go home for dinner and said he would be back around 6:00. From 5:00-6:00, I quickly dilated to a ten. Praise God. I couldn't believe it. I, along with the nurses, knew we were going to see you very shortly. You were even really low so I just knew in a couple pushes I would see your face. I started pushing then and continued until 9:42 PM, the moment you were born. I pushed for over three hours. This beat all my other labors by far. Dominic was two hours, but every one after that was 20-30 minutes. We tried everything and every way to get you out. By that time, the epidural was long gone so I was exhausted from not being able to breathe and from pushing for so long.
AND THEN...a moment like I've only had a few times in my life. I saw you for the first time. I felt that crazy pain of the last moments of labor and then your little body leave mine. I will never, ever, ever forget seeing you. You were so beautiful. You came out face up with the cord around your neck and over your shoulder...the explanation of it all. Your little head had a big bruise on it for the first couple days because of your position.
Our eyes met immediately. Your face is what forever will be etched in my memory. Beautiful and perfect. You cried right away. When we first saw your face, we both said "It looks like a boy." Probably, because you resembled Dominic, but then they flipped you over and everybody said, "It's a GIRL." Six girls!!!!
We didn't have a girls name picked out for sure so we didn't name you the first day and a half. The first day you were Helena, the next morning you were Margaret Mary. My mother's name is Damaris. I love her and knew one day I would name somebody Damaris. It hit both John and I at the same time. I called him and said, "I think we should name her Damaris." He said, "That is her name. It is perfect." His mother's name is Catherine so it fit perfect having both our mother's name in your name. All of our children have a form of the Blessed Mother's name in their name so we added Mary at the end. Damaris Catherine Mary Boever.
How many times will I thank this wonderful man for being so fatherly in the delivery room? He is everything a good and holy doctor should be. He is patient, calm, prayerful, assuring, gentle, tender, funny, and most of all appreciative. He appreciates every baby he delivers. I love how he talks to a new baby. I love watching him hold them. What a good and holy man he is. He is the father of 12 of his own children. His wife is such a lovely and wonderful woman. I always write her after our deliveries to thank her for allowing him to do his work. I know the sacrifice on her part. They are both such gifts to so many families.
One my greatest memories of your birth will have been sharing with our extended family. Your grandparents along with several aunts and uncles waited by phone or in the hospital for your arrival. Your birth reminded me so much of Dominic's. It was so fun to know they were waiting outside to hear the great news. It was so fun to have John go out and tell them you had arrived. It was so wonderful to have them come into the room right after you were born to see you. You sat on my chest looking at everyone as if you already knew them.
The next day in the hospital was uneventful. I held you ALL day right up in the nook of my neck which is my favorite. I wish I knew the number of times I unwrapped you to look at your newborn body. I wish I knew the number of times I looked at your legs. I wish I knew the number of times I took off your little pink beanie just to stare at your face and head.
The final day in the hospital was a different story. Around 2:00 PM, I was watching a show, but suddenly felt ill. I sat up and thew up in my bed. Right after that, I had the exact same thing happen to me again what happened in the delivery room. I felt like I was having a heart attack again. I started sweating and my body felt limp. I called the nurse and she immediately called Dr. McNeely. He ordered a CT scan wanting to check my heart for various things possibly a blood clot. I remember the nursery coming to get Damaris which made me sad. I remember the tech coming in with a wheelchair. John was not there so I felt very alone and afraid again. Getting ready for the CT scan, the tech asked if I was allergic to iodine as they were doing the scan with contrast and had to inject it into my vein. I didn't think I was so I told them NO. Well, I guess I was wrong. I had an allergic reaction to the iodine. As a result, my backside broke out in massive welts everywhere. The itching was unbelievable. The welts were as round as basketballs for about two weeks which didn't respond to the shots they gave me so needless to say, I hope I used that time well for eternity because it was crazy town. I will leave out the details.
Damaris, I know I tell you often, but I am crazy about you. We were immediate friends the moment we locked eyes at your birth. Your gentle little ways touch my heart everyday. I will be forever grateful you made it into this world. How good God is to give the love for each child in the mother's heart!