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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Entry 124: 1977 Robin's Summer of Testing

          No matter how many times you tell a person not to do something sometimes they just have to test what you are saying.  This was Robin’s summer to test and find out if mommy and daddy really knew what they were talking about when it came to two things in particular. 
We had warned Robin never to put anything in the electrical socket but sometimes people just need to try things out.  Robin was playing in her bedroom by herself.  Heidi was at school, I was in the kitchen with Adam, and Larry was in the field knocking almonds.  I heard a loud “pop.”  The refrigerator stopped humming and the lights went off.  After a few seconds Robin started to scream.  It wasn’t just a scream for attention…there was an element of pain in her voice.  I raced for her bedroom.  It seemed to take forever to get to her. 
          When I got to the door of her bedroom I could see her sitting on the floor leaning against the wall.  She was gripping her right hand with her left hand.  I noticed the wall socket looked burnt and one of my metal curler pins was stuck in it. I heard someone knocking loudly at the back door.  I scooped Robin into my arms and went to the door.  Uncle Jay was working on the huller for us that summer.  He wanted to know if everyone in the house was alright.  I took him to show him the socket in Robin’s room.  He let out a big laugh and said that sure did explain what happened.  The electricity had blown in the house and in the shop and at the huller station. 
          It wasn’t long before the house began to hum again.  Larry came in with a huge grin n his face.  He scooped Robin into his arms.  He hugged her hard and spun around repeating, “I love you, I love you,” over and over again.  Then he sat her on the kitchen counter, looked her square in the face, and asked her, “What’d you learn?”  Without skipping a breath Robin looked him in the eye and said, “I think it must hurt to be a light bulb and I don’t like “tricity!”

          About two weeks later she forced her head through the slats on the end of her bed.  When I asked her why she did it she said she just wanted to know if it would fit.  Well…yes and no.  It fit through but it didn’t fit when she tried to pull it out.  Again I was in the kitchen when she started screaming.  This time Adam was in her room with her.  He started crying too.  Robin looked pathetic down on her knees at the foot of her bed with her head lying on the mattress through the slats.  I picked up Adam and went outside to get help. 
Junior Lariosa was working outside.  He gave me a silly grin when I explained the drama going on in the house.  He grabbed a little hand saw and followed me to Robin.  He had to saw out one of the slats to free Robin.  I must admit for the next few months she didn’t do any experimenting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Enter 123: 1976 Adam is Born

          For the third year in a row I was going to have a baby!  Dr. Bigelow told me since we had five little girls so far there was a good chance we would be having another little girl.  I like to think I can turn my troubles over to God.  I turned everything over to him when I went to bed at night.  I know He can handle my problems but as soon as the sun would come up the following morning I would find myself worried again.  
I was afraid; no I was terrified, something bad would happen to this baby too.  No matter what our pastor said, no matter what the doctor said, no matter what anyone said, I worried.  Although I was enjoying Heidi and Robin it was the longest and hardest nine months of my life.  
To save my parents just a bit of worry we told them I was two months pregnant when I was actually four months.  When my tummy began to expand I said it was because it was so soon after Cari and I was still chubby from her.  My parents believed us.  The middle of May, just a week before our baby was due, I told them the truth.  They questioned why I had done it but soon realized I did it for them as much as for myself.  When they understood our baby was due any time they were excited too.
          We went into the hospital around 7 o’clock on May 30.  Labor progressed as it should until about 3 the next morning.  I was given a shot to relieve some pain allowing me to rest and I reacted to the shot by stopping labor all together.  It was a nice relief but very frustrating.  Dr. Bigelow came in around 8 the next morning.  When he found how the night had gone and checked me he said the baby was certainly ready.  He gave me a shot telling me it should start some progress again.  He was off to a dentist appointment.  He joked as he left asking we please give him time to get his teeth cleaned.
          He had been right.  Our baby was ready.  When that shot hit my bloodstream it went right to work.  Within a few minutes labor was underway again.  By 9 it was hard labor and the nurses were asking one another how long before our doctor would be back.  At 10 they called the dentist office!  A few minutes later Dr. Bigelow was walking by my side as I was being wheeled into delivery.  He patted me on the hand and said, “Joyce, I only got the right side of my teeth cleaned; now I will need to go back once this baby is here.”  He laughed.  I laughed.  The nurses laughed. 
          Mrs. Mott was a wonderful nurse.  She had been with me each time I had delivered a baby.  She had celebrated with me when Heidi and Robin were born.  When Joyce, Jayne, and Cari were born she cried with me.  I think she was nervous going into the delivery room.
          We had been given the option of Larry being with me during delivery this time but had declined because we knew things could go terribly wrong at the last minute and I didn’t want him there if it did.  He didn’t want to be there if it did either.  I always felt he got cheated out of watching a miracle.
          When Adam was being delivered Dr. Bigelow exclaimed in a loud voice, “Well, look here, this one is different!”  I had no idea what he was talking about, for a brief instant I thought something was wrong again, then he said with a loud laugh, “We got a boy!”  Dr. Bigelow was beaming!
          Dr Bigelow instructed one of the nurses to go get Larry.  I looked at Miss Mott, she was wiping her eyes, “Joyce, he’s beautiful, He is a keeper!   What do you say, let’s quit while we’re ahead ok?” I assured her this was definitely the last baby we would be having.  She gave me the biggest hug I can remember ever getting.  
One of the nurses led Larry into the delivery room.  She laid Adam on a blanket and handed him to Larry unwrapped.  Dr. Bigelow laughed and told Larry to look close at this one because it was different from the rest of our babies.  That is how Larry found out we had a son!  After a few minutes the nurse took Adam to clean him and dress him.  Larry couldn’t get out of that room fast enough to call his sister and tell her he had a son.  
Adam was perfect, not a bruise or bump or red spot anywhere and I looked him over good!  Adam was definitely the prettiest baby I’d ever seen! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Entry 122: 1975 Heidi Goes to Kindergarten

          Heidi’s first day of kindergarten was fun.  She cried when she realized I really was going to leave her.  I stayed for quite a while trying to get Heidi involved with some of the kids.  There was a little play house inside the room.  Finally, Heidi went to the roof of the playhouse with a little boy named Danny Oie.  Soon two or three other children were there with them and they started passing around little books.  As they scrambled to look at the pictures I went close and said good-by to Heidi.  Finally, she was alright with me leaving.  By then it was nearly 10:00 so I took Robin to visit my mom instead of heading home. 
We were back to get Heidi at 11:30.  Her teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, said she did fine and participated well with the other kids through the morning.  The next day Heidi acted like a different child.  When I pulled up next to the door, she was eager to get out and begin her day at school.  I was glad she had an easier time the second day but I think I was also glad she didn’t want to leave me the first day. 
It is hard for kids to let their parents go and it is hard for parents to let them advance to another stage of life.  I know that sounds silly but I realized now a new world would open for Heidi.  She would have more freedom, more friends, and more adults influencing her.  Larry and I would no longer have total control of what she would learn, where she would go, and who she would choose to have for playmates.   
Friday of the first week of school when I picked Heidi up her teacher notified me Heidi had been in a little trouble for standing on a table and squeezing a bottle of glue down onto the table.  At home it was Heidi’s job to tell me what Robin was doing, especially when it was something she shouldn’t be doing. 
By the time the first report cards came out Heidi had managed to become the class tattle-tale.  Mrs. Wheeler said she never told on anyone to get them into trouble.  “She simply keeps me very well informed of everyone’s behavior,” she said.  “I can tell she must be a little mommy at home with her sister because she really tries to take care of and watch over everyone in her class.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Entry 121: 1975 Cari is Born

Except for the devastating end to my first pregnancy I loved being pregnant.  To me there was something  wondrous about having a baby, another human being, living and growing inside me.
As the months flew by with this pregnancy I didn’t even consider something might go wrong.  I was taking care of my two beautiful daughters and another baby was soon to arrive adding to our joy.  My doctor had made it very plain everything was proceeding as it should and all our bad experiences were in the past. 
Heidi was excited to be getting another baby in the family.  Robin was too young to understand another one was on the way.
Our due date of April 1st quickly approached but the joke was on me as no baby came.  On April 10th my labor began.  The labor progressed slowly.  After several hours Dr. Bigelow ordered an X-ray to rule out or discover any problems.  When he ordered an X-ray it frightened me.  I thought X-rays were harmful.  There are always signs up in the X-ray labs saying to notify the technician if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.  A familiar fear began to creep into my tummy.
Dr. Bigelow said he was hearing lots of heart beats and wanted to know if perhaps there were two babies in there again.  My fear turned to joy.  How exciting.  Could I now be going to have twins after all?  When I got to the lab the technician had a puzzled look on his face when he saw my belly.  He didn’t say anything.  When he was finished he was very quiet and wouldn’t look me in the face.  I figured if he had discovered twins he’d be happy.  A feeling of dread began to flood over me.
I had been back in my labor room for only a few seconds when Dr. Bigelow and Larry came into the room.  They were both an ashen color.  Dr Bigelow looking me square in the face and said, “Joyce, we have a problem.”  He proceeded to explain to me our baby was going to die.  He told me we were having a baby girl.  She had a devastating life-ending problem and would either be born dead or die in the following hours.
Dr. Bigelow must have been thinking back to the time when our twins were born.  I know I was.  It had not occurred to me that something so horrible could happen to me again!  The doctor left and Larry took his place by my side.  He didn’t leave me again for even an instant.
My mom and dad, Larry's mom, and several friends and relatives gathered in the waiting room.  My dad came in to my room.  He didn’t try to offer any false hope.  He simple climbed into my bed with me, held me in his arms like a father trying to comfort his little girl, and cried.
The morning passed slowly.  Little progress was made.  In a way I just wanted it over.  We had chosen Cari to be the name of our baby if it was a girl.  Our little Cari continued to move and squirm about inside me.  Every time I had a contraction I was torn between wanting her to stay inside me alive and wanting the agony of labor to be over.
At one point I was hemorrhaging quite badly.  One of my favorite uncles, Johnny Stevens, was in the waiting room.  When he found out I was in trouble he went to the nurse and said, “She can have my blood.”  I only mention this because he didn’t say “some of my blood.”  The nurse even laughed when she told me later that he seemed quite willing to give me all of his blood. 

Larry and I held one another.  He stroked my brow, he rubbed my back, and he caressed my swollen belly.  I cried.  He cried.  Then we prayed together that our little one would be born dead so no one would be starring at her and waiting for her to die.  I couldn’t believe we were praying for our baby to die.  I couldn’t believe we were loosing another precious child. 
About noon I noticed something odd.  I put my hand down where the baby would be coming out.  I felt a little foot.  I ran my fingers over the five little toes, down the bottom of the arch, and around the heel.  When I rubbed the arch the foot straightened out.  I was tickling my daughter and she was reacting.  She was in the position that one leg would come out and then the other leg and body at the same time.  I was so uncomfortable. 
I honestly looked for and expected to see Cari’s angel come for her as I had with our twins.  I guess God knew this time I would be strong enough.  He knew I knew the angel was there if I saw it or not.  As He always is, God was right.
It was about four in the afternoon when Cari was finally born.  Much to our relief our beautiful 8 pound 12 ounce little one was stillborn.  The nurse gently wrapped her and carried her from the room.
Once again Larry had to make funeral and burial arrangements for a child.  On the stone for Joyce and Jayne, who are buried together, he had inscribed “Our Darling Daughters.”  Now on Cari’s stone he had “Another Darling Daughter.”  The three of them are at the Lakewood Cemetery in the baby section. 
I stayed in the hospital for three nights that time.  Labor had been long and hard.  I was exhausted.  I think Dr. Bigelow had me stay in the hospital partly to recover from delivering Cari and partly to keep me from Heidi and Robin. 
I remember getting into the wheelchair.  I had many bouquets of flowers.  I took only a couple flower arrangements and asked the nurse, Miss Mott, to give the rest to other new mothers.  When she took the flowers from the room she had tears in her eyes.  She said she’d find just the right rooms to put them in.  She walked us to the car.  When she helped me stand and transfer to the car she stopped me and gave me a long warm hug.
I had been too ill after Joyce and Jayne were born to attend their funeral but I went to Cari’s.  I don’t think I heard much of what was said.  All I could hear was silence.  I don’t know if I am saying this right but I only heard a sound like a waterfall.  Maybe it was my blood rushing through my aching heart or maybe it was God’s own protection.  Maybe God knew I didn’t need to hear what the pastor was saying.  I remember seeing a tiny beautiful pink casket.  I remember seeing a handful of my friends.  I remember walking, with Larry’s help back to the car.  My arms and legs felt so heavy I was amazed I could move them at all.
Mom and dad, Larry’s mom and dad, and Heidi and Robin were home when we got there.  Life needed to go on.  When driving sometimes we hit speed bumps.  This had been another “Life Bump” but I had so much good in my life I was eager to get on with living!
I visited the cemetery the Easter after Cari was born.  The other little graves were covered with Teddy bears, Easter rabbits, balloons, flowers and messages.  It was very sad.  Realizing my little girls are not actually at the cemetery I have not returned more than a few times in all these years and then it was only to show our other children where they were buried.    
I take great comfort in knowing they are alive and in Heaven.  Often I stop and think of just how many wonderful people I know there with them.  My dad and mom, Larry’s mom, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, relatives and many friends wait for me there.  It will certainly be like going home some day to see all those familiar faces and so many new ones as well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Entry 120: 1975 One Huge Surprise

            I was sitting on the couch watching Heidi play with Robin.  I was amazed at what a big help a three year old could be.  Heidi was on constant guard for Robin.  Heidi disappeared for a few minutes.  When she returned she was pinching her nose with the fingers on her left hand.  In her right hand was a clean diaper.  “Here mommy, I think you need this.”  Heidi was a huge help to me.
          Larry had burst into the house announcing we could leave for an unexpected three days at the beach.  We quickly packed swim suits, clothes, bags of food, diapers, sleeping bags, tent, and all the rest that goes with a vacation.      
 I hadn’t been feeling very well for a couple days and knowing this might be our last opportunity to get away until Spring, I grabbed the remaining morning sickness pills I had from my Robin pregnancy.  I had five pills.  We would be gone three days.  Perfect!  We had a great short vacation and I felt wonderful the whole time.
The first morning after we were home I felt bad again.  I managed to get the laundry finished and put away.  Both Heidi and Robin needed good scrubbings in the tub to get all the sand out of their hair.  While sitting in the bathroom watching Heidi play in the tub I got a real familiar sick feeling.  The idea hit me.  Could I possibly be pregnant? 

I still had two morning sickness pills left in the bottle.  I took one immediately.  I finished cleaning the girls and got the house in order.  I made a simple dinner and relaxed.  I took the last remaining pill that evening.  The next day I felt great.  We spent a good deal of the day in the orchard watching Larry run the almond knocker.
The next morning I woke up running to the bathroom to be sick.  The feeling was just too familiar to be anything else. I knew I was pregnant.  I called Dr. Bigelow, made an appointment, and saw him that same afternoon.  When he asked why I was there I told him, “I just came to let you know I’m pregnant again and I need some pre-natal vitamins.”
Robin was only seven months old.  We had taken precautions but the test came back positive.  Having another baby so close to Robin was not planned but within a matter of minutes the excitement of another new one in the house began to fill our hearts and thoughts.
Dr. Bigelow checked me out and informed me I was indeed pregnant and would be having a baby in the Spring.  The estimated date of arrival was April 1st.  How appropriate - April Fools Day!