Fiona Irene Dettinger
Fiona Comes Out
“Hmpff…” I let out a deep sigh. I was in pain, in line, and wishing I was in labor. “So when are you due?” the postal worker asked. “March 31st,” I replied with a half-smile.“Don’t you know today’s April first?” he said jokingly, pointing to the calendar behind him.That wasn’t a funny April fool’s joke. My half smile turned to a scowl.I had imagined my labor beginning for over two weeks, because how could I possibly be over-due? I was planning on having my baby on March 31st. I got my stamps and stepped out into the early spring air – ahhhhh …it even smelled like the perfect day to have a baby. It was about three in the afternoon and about time for me to go pick up my husband so he could come with me to our last prenatal visit with Paula. On the ride over to Menomonie, Jake tried to prepare me for the fact that the baby might not come for another two weeks.“When does Paula think the baby’s going to come out?” he asked.“She says it could come any day,” I said with another sigh. It was so hard to get comfortable in the passenger seat. I could hardly stand the pressure on my lower back. Labor had to be better than this, I thought. The twenty minute ride from Eau Claire took forever. I gingerly tried to climb out of the car that sat way too low to the ground. Jake lifted me up with a smile. We got to Paula’s office, and she greeted me with one of her sympathetic hugs that I didn’t even need to tell her I needed. “Hi, how are you doing? Paula asked in her soft, calming voice. “Hi Jake, good to see you.” “Well, to tell you the truth I’m really frustrated.” No, I thought to myself – I am so sick of being pregnant. “That’s ok – you can be frustrated. You won’t be pregnant forever!” Paula chuckled. Then she turned more serious.“You know, Knelly, you should really enjoy every minute of this, because your baby will only be inside you for a short time. A short time. And then it will be gone and you’ll be on to a new phase, and that will be great too – but you will never have that phase with this baby again.” Paula is so wise.
The prenatal visit went as planned. I was only dialated one centimeter, not the three or four I was hoping for. Paula explained to me the usual home remedies that could trigger labor. Enema? No way. Castor Oil? Definitely not. Nipple stimulation? That sounds just too weird.As we headed back home to Eau Claire I was convinced that I was going to be pregnant for at least two more weeks. Seeing my discouragement Jake encouraged me to try the nipple stimulation. It’s ten minutes on, ten minutes off – with a twenty minute ride ahead of me, what did I have to lose? Jake dropped me off at home, and had to go back to the office for a couple of hours. I reheated some leftovers and felt really sluggish. Oh great, I thought, now I’m getting the flu. I DO NOT want to be sick right now. So I went to bed around 7:30. At 9, I thought I was having contractions. No, just Braxton-Hicks – and I went back to sleep. At 10, the contractions got me out of bed, I started timing, called Paula and started making the birthday cake! So much for the flu!Paula was a little skeptical, and told me to take a shower and call her back in 45 minutes. I took a bath, and the contractions still were getting stronger – I called her back and told her it was on! I woke Jake up, who was sleeping in the living room and told him that our baby was coming out tonight. “Are you sure?” he asked.He could tell that I was running around crazy and advised me to save my energy. Around 12:30 am Paula arrived, and I sent Jake to the store for some Jello snacks – a half hour later, he returned and I was really relying on him and Paula through all of the contractions. It was too uncomfortable to lay down, I had to be up walking around. I ate a Jello snack – it didn’t stay down long.
Around 7am I was only dilated to 4, and my energy was fading. Paula told me she was concerned that if I didn’t get some rest, I was going to have to go to the hospital, but I couldn’t stand the thought of lying down. She gave me the most bitter drink I have ever tasted. “C’mon Knelly – just pretend you’re on Fear Factor,” my husband encouraged. I drank it and somehow, I could relax, and the pain wasn’t as bad. By 11 o’clock I was fully dialated, and the real work began. It took us 9 months, 2 days and 17 hours for us to finally meet our daughter, but looking back now, it seems like a minute.I have never been filled with so much joy as the moment Paula slid Fiona onto my tummy. Her dark hair was thick and all I wanted to do was rub and kiss it! I cried,”Is it a girl or boy?”Paula said, “I don’t know, Jake you look!”“It’s a girl,”he said. “Oh, Fiona! Hi! I’m your mommy!” We were both crying. I was so shocked by how little and tiny and beautifully perfect she was, all I could do was smile. Fiona was born at 3:11 in the afternoon on April 2nd, 2003.We did have to leave our tiny little house in Eau Claire later on that night to go to the hospital for stiches. On the way home, Jake said to me, “Wow, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you.” Choosing to have Fiona at home was the greatest test of faith I have ever been faced with, and like with all great sacrifice, it came with the greatest reward I have ever received.
Would I do it again? Paula delivered our son, Castle Thomas on May 1st, 2005 – but that’s another story.