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"This Baby Has Gotta Be Something"

In honor of my Kiserian's birthday, I share how it all began...

In 1999, still recovering from the surprising energy of my first man-child, Kamari, I wasn't so sure about a third. "Girl, boy. We're fine," I thought. But we'd planned on three, and we wanted to have our children while we still lived in Michigan around our extended family, so I got back on the reproductive train (did I hear someone say "choo-choo"?).

As with my first two pregnancies, this baby was late. "You carry your children well — they like it in there," my midwife, Joyce, joked. "Yeah," I replied and, unlike the others, "this one is pretty easy. I'm not really complaining. Definitely a chilled one here. Peaceful, laid-back"

Several days later, on Monday, May 19, 2000, I checked into the University of Michigan Women's Hospital at 9:15 a.m., after experiencing some contractions and what appeared to be a water leak (why does that sound like a faucet?). My midwives were excited: They expected an easy delivery because my oldest son had been born so quickly.

Unfortunately, the contractions subsided, and they decided to put me on Pitocin. But the Pitocin didn't seem to be working, so they had DH and I start walking and walking around the hospital.

"Honey, this is weird," I said. "After all this walking, I'm not feeling any progress or movement from the baby. Something's wrong. Let's go back to the room." Soon my water broke, and they found meconium, which meant I was regulated to the bed to prevent infection (at least, I think that was why).

Several hours of strong contractions later, I was feeling a little discouraged. I'd had two vaginal deliveries, drug-free, no complications, and now what had been the easiest pregnancy was turning into a challenging delivery. Something was not right.

My speculations were confirmed when I saw my midwife come in with a doctor: "Shawn, you're not progressing enough and the cord is wrapped around the baby's neck. Every time you contract, its heart rate is going down. We have to perform a C-section."

Am I hearing things? Did she say C-section?

How could they say I wasn't making any progress? I was having serious contractions! I knew my body. I was not going to let them perform surgery out of convenience.

"No, I can't do that!" I insisted. "I just need to walk around more. I just need to rock on the ball. I planned this differently." My husband could see the fear, anger, and frustration in my face. He and a nurse had to hold me back on the bed because I was moving so much it was effecting the tubes in my arms. "I want to see some proof that the baby is in distress. Show me on this monitor."

A contraction came and I saw the baby's heart rate diminish to almost non-existent.

Oh my God. The baby is choking. I have to save my baby.

"Honey, you have to stay with me," said DH. "I don't know what's happening. Just save the baby."

I guess I was going into shock or something because I vaguely remember different professionals coming to talk to me, and then they moved me to another bed and rolled me down the hall. Immediately, I felt like I was part of an ER episode that had gone bad. They moved me to another table. "Jesus!" I screamed and sat straight up (so I was later told).

"Shawn, honey," said my midwife, "you gotta stop moving. We're getting ready to put you under because you're hysterical."

The word "hysterical jarred me back to my senses. I've been considered crazy in many circles, but I am real good at keeping my composure.

"NO, the baby is free. I am going to push now."

"You can't. Shawn. We showed you what's happening."

"Correction. What WAS happening, Joyce. I'm crowning. Check!"

"She's right."

"I have to push."

"You know what to do."

Two pushes later, Kiserian Isaiah Leroy Spence was born. It was 8:00 p.m., and he weighted 7 pounds, 8 ounces, my smallest baby.

His full name (which is representative of both of my husband's grandfathers and my maternal grandfather) means peaceful, salvation of God, the King. The name truly fits the soon-to-be man. At age 7, he is considerate of others' feelings to a fault, always wants to be together as a family, can find a friend no matter where he goes, and has even been nominated for a scarlet letter. He stretches me, and everyone in our house, to be more caring and compassionate.

I can't believe that it's been seven years since those night-shift nurses came in my room and said, "We heard about this miracle. The doctors are still talking about you screaming and calling on Jesus. This baby has gotta be something. They've never seen anything like it."

Happy Birthday YPW, the ultimate love machine! Continue to have fun and be you.


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