Kay’s Birth Story – Final Chapter

Kay, my oldest child and only daughter, has been a wonderful gift to me. My recount of Kay’s birth story left off with Duncan and I walking around the mall, since the nurses at labor and delivery said my contractions had to be strong enough that I had to breathe through them and 5 minutes apart AND THAT WAY for 1 to 1 1/2 hours!

August 2, 1993

You hear from the pros to walk to get contraction going, but where do you walk in Arizona in August except in the mall? So, around and around the mall we went. I remember being embarrassed when leaning on Duncan and “breathing through contractions” in the middle of a crowd. Once I leaned up against a drinking fountain (pretending to take a drink of water) and nearly cried I was so frustrated that this painful experience wasn’t “painful enough.” I wanted to go to the hospital so badly. When Duncan finally got worried that we had waited too long, we both agreed and were out-of-there.

From my journal, “What a weird feeling to be actually going into the hospital to have a baby. We signed papers and the nurse waited for my contraction to end before she asked me to get in the wheel chair, which was embarrassing. I am eternally grateful for Duncan’s company and support. He was there, by my side the whole time and that gave me GREAT comfort. I am also grateful that we had been so open to each other and that he had made himself such a part of the labor so far…. When the nurses checked my dilation, I thought for sure I’d be at, oh – an 8 and the nurses would be amazed at how I had endured so much…, but I was at A THREE!”

Dr. McCrea FINALLY came in, introduced himself and decided to break my water. There was meconium in the fluid. Dr. McCrea tried to ease our minds, but I knew this was a sign of stress from the baby. The contractions were more intense and closer together. I had full faith in Duncan and my Lamaze class when I entered the hospital, but that confidence was wavering. It seemed that Duncan’s guiding rhythm was too fast or two slow, so I took that over. His voice was grating and in the way, so I told him not to talk, but his teeth! Oh, his teeth! I loved looking at his teeth.

In Lamaze class I had decided my focal point would be a beautiful visual of a calm beach. FORGET THAT! All I wanted to do was look at Duncan’s beautiful straight white teeth. So, I often pulled him close and asked him to smile big.

Two hours later I was astounded that I was still at a 3! I was still insistent that I not get an epidural, but the pain was so intense and constant. My back felt like someone was cutting it open from the inside with a knife. I had endured this for so long that I was literally shaking in between contractions. Was it possible to stay alive through this? What if it continued for another 12 hours? The time was absolutely crawling!

I finally agreed to take some Stadol to help me relax. “I felt a little droopy eyed at first, but was fully aware and still felt it ALL – it seemed – but at least I wasn’t shaking in between contractions. … A half hour later I was dilated to a 5! I wanted to push already too – couldn’t yet. Dad came to pick up mom and assisted Duncan in giving me a priesthood blessing. Soon I was allowed to push to help the baby down and then I was dilated to an 8! then a 10. It was such a relief to really push, which I must have done for nearly an hour. The crowning, I couldn’t see, but I could sense the head emerge and the doctor holding it. The rest I did see and WOW! What a neat feeling. A whoosh, a relief.”

Remember, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, so this added to our anticipation. Again from my journal, “I wasn’t even thinking of the sex of the baby, which is all Duncan was concentrating on, but I wasn’t too surprised when it was a girl! The dreams I had had scored 4 to 3 in favor of a girl, you know.”

“When Kay came out her head was very oblong and she was purple, cried hard from the very start, and had her umbilical cord draped around her like a Mrs. America banner. ‘What side of the family did this attitude come from?’ The nurses asked and called her peanut.” She weighed 6 lbs. 10 1/2 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long and was absolutely perfect in every way.

As it turned out, I was in labor for 22 hours (starting from when I had to breathe through contractions) partly because I had a vaginal septum, or extra membrane wall running parallel to the birth canal. Kay had to rip her way all the way down. This added to the stress on Kay and my recovery, but all ended well. I went into labor on my due date, but had Kay the next day on August 2, 1993. WOW! What an ordeal and what a beautiful blessed miracle.

Here is a journal entry on August 14, 1993:

“It is a wonderful thing to know that a beautiful NEW baby recognizes your voice and seems to even recognize your face. It is also wonderful, but scary to know that someone is totally dependent on you. I like to think that she is smiling on purpose, especially when she grins while I am talking, singing, feeding, or playing with her. I also like her “talking” as long as they are happy sounds. Her eyes add so much to her gorgeous face. … Well, I’m being summoned. Good night.”

Kay, I loved you as a baby and I love you even more now. I have watched you play, grow, run, drive, serve, work, study, and learn. Though I have fed you, taught you, and guided you, you have become your unique self. You are beautiful, free spirited, smart and good. I have devoted so much time (Remember the long walks to library classes when you were 4? or the late nights studying with you in 7th grade? or tireless care during your recovery of a broken leg your junior year?) and yet, I feel that all credit goes to a loving Heavenly Father, who loves you far more than I do and who has protected you and guided you in the most crucial times. May you always listen to His whisperings and be open to Christ’s saving grace.

The End.

4 thoughts on “Kay’s Birth Story – Final Chapter”

  1. This is so sweet to read. How funny that I had an attitude and a personality right away! I feel so blessed to be your daughter, and I really REALLY appreciate all the constant care and love you’ve continually given me! I am so lucky… And it’s one of my favorite things to be a big sister as well! I love my 4 brothers. How can I convey my thanks for all of this? I love you Mom.

    1. Every minute being your mom has been worth it, Kay. You ARE the only girl in a family of boys (except for me – I often had to remind you) and that isn’t easy. I remember taking you to see Curt’s ultrasound when you were 12. Dad and I were sure that our 5th kid would be a sister for you. BUT no! And you were so mad. After our attempt at a personal bonding sonogram moment failed, you slammed your bedroom door and wouldn’t talk to me for 2 days. Thankfully we had a few months to get used to the idea of a fourth boy and MAN! You and Curt have been the best-of-friends from day 1! ALL of your brothers LOVE you! And so do Dad and I. You were the beginning of it all. xoxoxoxoxox

      1. Kay Shaeffer Zulanas

        I sure do adore Curt, but my 12-year-old emotions were real (and justified in my opinion). Of course YOU didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of my unfortunate reaction, from what I hear it’s actually the male (Dad) who determines the sex of the baby, so maybe I should have been mad at him instead haha. But it’s true, now I couldn’t imagine my life without each of my brothers!

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