Birth Story… Alexis

I have been meaning to do this for a while. So here we go: My pregnancy with Alexis was easier than Karissa’s. It wasn’t new so I knew what to expect. I did get pretty sick a few times. I had the stomach flu and though I didn’t want to eat, I was told to eat. I had the flu, which I was closely monitored. With Karissa’s heart surgery, the doctors wanted to watch my pregnancy with Alexis more closely. I had ultrasounds every few weeks and more prenatal appointments. Since I was given level 3 ultrasounds outside of our hospital, Kevin and I found out that we were having a girl. Which made things a bit easier on planning for her.

I knew I wanted to name her Jaime. Kevin’s family has a tradition where the girls had the middle name of ‘Joy’. Kevin didn’t like that, but I decided to have Lexi’s middle name as, Jaime. I decided on Alexandria, though her last name is long so I shortened it to Alexis. It was a popular name at the time, which I did almost decide not to call her that. I like the name so I stuck with Alexis.

When I was just over 6 months pregnant, Kevin was called to go to Iraq. With me being pregnant and him being out of the military right after Iraq, we decided it was best that I move back to California to be closer to the family. So we packed up, put things into storage, and Karissa and I headed back to California while Kevin stayed in Oklahoma to get ready to head to war. My parents drove us to California. Being 6 months pregnant in the car for that long isn’t fun. At all. Really, not recommended. This was about the end of January 2003. So Karissa is almost 3 years old. She had been delayed because of her heart, so she just started walking at 2 and talking around this time. She still had a lot of trouble with speech and doing some things that kids her age should already be doing, but she was always happy and with a smile. We knew she did have a hearing problem, though we didn’t know the severity yet.

We settled at my parents’ house in Rosamond. My appointments were over at Edwards AFB now, for every two weeks. Karissa loved being with grandma and grandpa and all her relatives. She loved seeing my friends come over. Kevin headed off to Iraq in February. Of course, my stress and anxiety flared up. I was more scared of this deployment over any of his other deployments.

At the end of February my parents were getting new flooring put into their house and decided that with Karissa, it would be easier if she and I stayed over at Kevin’s aunt’s, Charmaine’s house. We were there for a week. I believe it was a Friday, Charmaine wanted to take us to the mall for shopping. This became a 6-hour shopping trip to the mall. I never knew it was possible to hang out at the Antelope Valley mall for that long, but apparently, you can!

Around 10 at night I had noticed that I was spotting blood. I did the same with my pregnancy with Karissa before I went into labor. I was concerned so I called my parents to take me to the hospital. My mom didn’t want to come until I told her that I was going into labor. She mentioned that it isn’t time yet. I told her that she needs to tell Alexis that. I went to the hospital and they said I was three centimeters dilated and having contractions. I can’t feel the contractions yet. So they set me up in a room at the hospital where I was to stay for the duration of my pregnancy with Alexis.

Alexis was not due until the end of April to the very beginning of May. The doctors said the safest time for Alexis to come would be during her 36th week, so I was in the hospital for about three and a half weeks. There isn’t much to do in the hospital when you are on bed rest. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom! They were afraid the baby would just pop out while I’m in there. I couldn’t walk around or anything. The war with Iraq started while I was in the hospital. My dad had called the hospital to make sure that I had no access to the news. I had books, magazines and drawing stuff with me. Though not so much tv access. I couldn’t call Kevin cause there wasn’t any way to from the hospital. Kevin’s brother wrote to him and told him that I was at the hospital cause Alexis wanted to come out early.

I filled out the papers for Alexis and changed the spelling of Jaime to Jaimie. I just thought it was neat.

Week 36 came around and it was time for Alexis to make her appearance! I was a mix of excitement that she was finally able to come, relief from finally being able to get out of bed after this, and nervousness about the birth. As with Karissa, I wasn’t feeling my contractions so I felt no need for medication. They took me off the medication that kept me from contracting, so I was contracting all day but my water never broke. They finally went in and broke my water around 4 pm. Mine and Kevin’s family was in the room with me, waiting for labor to start. At the end of Friends, about 5:30, I started feeling the contractions. I was 8 centimeters dilated and they prepped me to start pushing. It was getting to the point where Alexis was about to make her appearance yet the doctor wasn’t in the room yet. They called for the doctor to come to the room and at 5:56, Alexis was born. I got to hold her for a little bit. Then she was taken for some tests.

When they were getting me ready to go to my room, my mom told me that they were taking Alexis to the NICU because she was having trouble breathing. Her lungs weren’t completely developed yet. I was scared, but there were so many people with me and talking to me at the same time that it was hard to get a thought in. Around 8 I pretended to fall asleep so everyone would leave the room. They finally did once the nurse kicked them out at 9. Then I actually fell asleep.

I woke up at midnight and made my way to the NICU. She was in an incubator. I couldn’t touch her cause they wanted to make sure she stayed calm. Then I looked at her crib card and noticed she was born on March 24th. Her sister was born on May 24th. I went back to my room and wrote Kevin a letter. My dad called the Red Cross that I had given birth to Alexis, but they couldn’t get the news to him unless I called them. I wasn’t allowed to call the Red Cross from the hospital so it will be a few days will I can get the news to him. She was born with brown hair with blonde tips. I didn’t know her eye color yet cause she wouldn’t open her eyes. After a few weeks, her hair turned red and found she had greenish blue eyes.

After a few days, I went home. Alexis had to stay in the hospital. She spent two weeks in one part of the NICU where the babies were most critical and then she spent four weeks in the regular NICU. They were thinking only two more weeks, but after those weeks, they found she wasn’t ready yet to go home. I made trips to the hospital from Rosamond every day to visit Alexis and give her some breast milk. She was getting stronger every day. She was also the biggest baby in the NICU at 6lbs and 21 inches long. She didn’t look like a preemie.

Alexis was on oxygen when she first came home, then she just needed it when she was eating. She was a colicky baby! Actually, she still is persistent and vocal about her wants and needs. It took a while to figure how to calm her down. She refused the pacifier, refused to be swaddled. Found that she just wanted her blanket and not to be in a crowded place. I still don’t see much difference in her right now. Haha!

For the first four years of her life, she was in and out of the hospital on breathing treatments since her lungs were still developing. I’m surprised and blessed that she does not have asthma, which the doctors were afraid she may develop. I had to keep her sleeping space very clean and sanitized at that time. Her toys were disinfected daily to keep her from breathing in too many germs.

Kevin met Alexis when she was 8 months old. He passed away two weeks after her first birthday. Alexis says she feels her dad is just a dream and doesn’t like to talk about him much.

Today she is a healthy 16-year-old, who is as much of a headstrong girl now as she was as a baby.