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Trish - Meet Trish, and learn about her activities and interests

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Diana's Room - This is Diana's space to share her stories, artwork, and whatever else strikes her fancy.

Steven's Crib - Steven is growing and changing fast! Stop by here often to see his latest news and photos.

Steven's Birth told by Melissa Olsen, Birth Doula

(Our doula Melissa now operates Operation Doula Care, which provides free doula support services to the pregnant wives of U.S. Military men (Active Duty, Reservists, National Guard, Coast Guard) that have been called up, deployed, injured or have become deceased as a direct result of Operation Enduring Freedom.)

Trish and John before the birth
Trish and John anxiously await the birth of their baby boy.
Trish first contacted me by email in December of 2000. She explained to me the birth of her first child, Diana, and how the whole experience was not a good one, save that she had a beautiful little girl to love. Due to circumstances beyond her control she had become unhealthy during her pregnancy and during labor she became plain unlucky. Her first birth ended in an unwanted cesarean section. Don't get me wrong here. Trish realized she needed the cesarean in order to have a healthy baby but it was still a painful process for her, both physically and emotionally. Anyway, Trish and John wanted to try for another pregnancy and they were in search of a birth doula. She wanted to know if I could possibly support her and all of her "issues" as she put it. After reading her birth story and listening to her questions and fears, I figured I was up to her challenge. On January 10th, 2001 Trish wrote in an email to me, "But alas... I must get pregnant first... and I am not... I just started the tedium of charting and am hoping that I will not have to do it for too long... please keep your fingers crossed that the fertility gods will smile on me!" I liked Trish already.

We kept in touch and on April 14th, 2001 I received another email, which read, "Not pregnant yet, but just started seeing an RE in Bethesda. I just had a bunch of bloodwork yesterday so we'll see if it reveals any clues." Four months of trying so far!

A few more emails and a few more months and then I received this email from Trish, "Guess what??? WE DID IT!! I'm pregnant! Due date is Feb. 9, but I wouldn't be surprised if it went a little earlier." I was so happy for Trish and John! We scheduled to meet in October. Obviously Trish and John asked me to be their doula or I wouldn't be writing this, huh?

The C-section begins...
The C-section begins... soon Steven will be born!
Trish and John had a bumpy pregnancy and feared or felt certain that it would end in a cesarean section just as her first pregnancy did but they remained optimistic and decided that each day had to be taken one at a time. Trish knew she could control, to some extent, the health of her body so she ate right, took good care of herself and paid close attention to her needs. John was a tremendous help, no doubt, and Trish managed to avoid most of the pregnancy related problems she had the first time around. Things were going much better! In fact, about the only thing that wasn't cooperating was the little boy inside Trish's belly. Near the end of her pregnancy, he would not turn head down! Instead, he wanted to lie on his side. That's fine and all, but babies don't come out too easily when they try to put their shoulder through first! After much discussion with Dr. Downing, Trish and John decided that their second baby would also be born by a c-section and a date was set! Trish tried to get some rest the last few days of her pregnancy, but it was hard. Imagine knowing that someone will be cutting you open in a few days and try to sleep peacefully. Ha! Aside from the anxiety of impending surgery, baby boy inside was getting very large and mommy Trish was getting very uncomfortable.

As a doula, I take birth notes during the hours before a baby's arrival. Here are my notes from Steven's birth. I did elaborate on some of them as I remembered more and more. But, for the most part, this is exactly what I wrote down as the events of the day unfolded in front of us.

Any minute now...
January 28th, 2002

7:10 a.m. - I arrive to hospital. Trish gets into the hospital bed with John's help. Nurse Elizabeth assigns herself as Trish's nurse because she remembers being Trish's nurse when Diana was born. Trish and John are happy to see Elizabeth. Elizabeth is in a hurry to get Trish admitted. Trish is wearing purple. I'm wearing purple. Trish's chair is purple. I look to see if the nurse has purple on. She doesn't. I didn't even bother to see if John had purple on. There are a couple of other nurses here helping to get Trish admitted and ready for surgery. There are electronic fetal monitor belts around Trish's belly, a blood pressure cuff around her arm, an oxygen reader on her finger, an IV trying to be placed (there have been 3 attempts already) and a thermometer (in her mouth, of course). Nurse reads Trish's birth plan out loud, back to us. Trish tells her nurse that most of the birth plan doesn't apply and that she should just skip down to the C-section part at the bottom. I don't think Nurse Elizabeth heard her as she continued reading. Referring to the birth plan, nurse Elizabeth says, "You want low voices? Well that's too bad, cause you got me!" We all chuckled and Elizabeth told Trish and John that she would do her best to follow their wishes.

Steven's head is being delivered...
Steven's head begins to emerge...
7:25 a.m. - Anesthesia talking to Trish and John. It's decided that Trish will probably get a spinal block with an epidural block as well. Neither will contain narcotics because with Trish's last birth, something in the epidural made Trish sicker than a dog! The temperature today is supposed to be in the low 70's. A record for this time of year!

The nurse is having a hard time with Trish's IV. "Three strikes and you're out!" says Trish to Elizabeth. In walks a medical student and he wants to know if he can watch Trish's C-section. Before she can answer him, Elizabeth breaks in because she has forgotten to get some of the blood she needs from Trish's IV and for some reason is starting her search for the 5th time. Trish says, "I can give you a couple of clues on where to find my veins!"

Steven being born...
Steven comes into the world LOUDLY... he's not even all the way out yet, and he has definite opinions about being born!
Medical student is still here. He says to Trish, "Can I ask you a question?" Trish quickly replied, "As long as you don't touch me." He smiles and says, "Okay, I won't. Can I watch your surgery?" Trish repeated herself with, "As long as you don't touch me."

8:10 a.m. - John's mom sticks her head in the room to let us know she's here.

8:20 a.m. - Dr. Downing is here. He places a pillow roll under Trish's knees. He is very quiet otherwise. We talked about John going back with Trish for the preparation part of surgery so he can help move Trish properly. Dr. Downing thought that would be a great idea.

8:30 a.m. - Nurse Elizabeth taking more notes and asking more questions.

8:50 a.m. - Trish is getting a physical exam by Dr. Jo. Trish explains some aspects of CP to Dr. Jo. Someone from Trish's work calls to see where Trish is. I think they must've called her home and not the hospital?

Steven grabs the clamp
Steven is grasping the doctor's clamp, and doesn't give it up without a fight!
9:10 a.m. - Trish is getting a headache and her hip is beginning to hurt quite a bit. Dr. Downing is here to help take Trish down to surgery. John is changing into surgical scrubs as quickly as he can. I take a picture of John. Someone will come get me later. I put my cap and shoe covers on.

About 9:50 a.m. - I'm brought back to surgery and have my camera in hand. Trish is on the surgery table asking for a mirror or a way to see her baby boy come out. The staff helps her with that. John sits to the left of Trish and stays as close to her as he can. I ask if I can stand up to take pictures and the staff is fine with that. Everyone is getting excited! Trish's pain control is good right now. I take a couple of snapshots before surgery begins.

Steven is presented to mom and dad
Dr. Downing shows Steven to his proud and happy parents; Steven, on the other hand, would rather be back in the dark.
10:02 a.m. - In no time at all Steven James is out! Out of his mom's belly, out of his swimming pool, out of his temperature controlled cozy shack and into our cold, bright world! He screams and cries right away and looks wonderful! In the mirror, Trish gets a peek at him being lifted up out of her and she can't wait to see and touch him right away. Dr. Downing holds big Steven up so I could take a couple more pictures. He then does his best to show Steven to Trish, although Steven's cord wasn't real long and it was hard to make the stretch. In no time, Steven is with the nurses who clean him off a bit and checks him out. John goes right away to see his new boy and to give Trish many descriptions of what is going on a few feet away from her operating table. Trish asks if her new baby is doing okay and yes, he is. I take quite a few pictures.

By 10:15 a.m. Steven has had his blood sugar tested and it came back a little low. The nurse (still Elizabeth) has insisted that Steven go to the newborn nursery for a feeding. Trish and John try to discuss this, as does Dr. Downing, but it seems this nurse isn't going to budge. Out Baby Steve goes and out Daddy John goes behind him. Next goes Trish - it's time to cry. Cry for her baby, for her pregnancy being over, for the pain she will go through in the next couple of weeks, but mostly for her new baby boy. How she wants to be with him! Dr. Downing says he will do his best to get them reunited as soon as possible. I stay with Trish and massage her forehead as she's getting a headache now. I feel bad that Steven needs to go to the nursery over what really could be handled here in the operating room.

Steven gets footprinted
Nurse Elizabeth does Steven's footprints; as with every other aspect of being born, Steven looks thrilled...NOT!
Time? - We're nearing the end of Trish's surgery and she's beginning to feel quite a bit of pain so the anesthesiologist administered some medication into Trish's epidural. That helped. John has come back into the OR and reports that Steven is doing great and that "he has taking over the nursery!" He also proudly announces that Steven weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds and 13 ounces! I step out of the OR and John helps the staff move Trish from the table to her bed. We walk and wheel ourselves down to Trish's room and begin the long wait to get Trish reunited with her new little boy. I stay with Trish and John goes to the nursery to check on his son.

1:45 p.m. - John went to get Steven because his blood sugars were climbing up to the normal range last time we checked. When I walk in from eating lunch, I see Steven is snuggling with his mommy and Trish is wearing a huge smile on her face!

I left the hospital a few hours later, but not until I witnessed extended family members offering support, a little girl turned big sister experience the wonder of a tiny sibling, a loving new-again father shine with pride, a new-again mother soaking in elation that her newest babe was finally in her own arms and a sweet babe all bundled with a wonderful world waiting for him.

Back to Steven's Page

©2004 John and Patricia Day; All Rights Reserved.
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