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Amy and James Jr.
Epidural, Vaginal Delivery

My husband James and I had been married for four years before James Jr. was even conceived. We got married at the ages of 18 (him) and 19 (me). When I was 18, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and lost my left ovary and tube due to cysts and the cancer. Thank God it didn't spread but just knowing that you have had cancer is a scary thought. I had numerous surgeries to remove cysts here & there on my right ovary & many exploratory surgeries to follow.

We were both getting worried that we may not be able to conceive naturally when I had went to the doctor's to figure out what we could do to have a baby. He told me to just relax and try not to "try" to get pregnant. Yeah, easy for him to say; he wasn't the one dying to have a baby!

About four months later after a day of being late, I took a chance and used a home pregnancy test kit. I almost fell over when I saw the little pink + in the window. I screamed "James get in here!" He came into the bathroom and said, "What the hell is that thing on the counter? Is that what I think it is? Oh my God, are you pregnant?!!!!" Yes was all I could say. I was crying, and he had tears in his eyes. He looked at his watch and said, "I won't be here when the baby is born." James is a United States Marine and was scheduled to go out to sea in January of 1996. It was already August 1995. We both held each other & cried over the pain of him not being able to be here the last few months of our pregnancy.

The pregnancy went off without a hitch. I chose to see a civilian doctor; actually the Naval Hospital decided it was in my best interest to have a civilian doctor treat me as a high risk pregnancy. I had the most wonderful pregnancy anyone could ask for ~ mild sickness and only 31 lbs of weight was gained. In November of 1995 we went in for an ultrasound and decided that we would find out what we were having because of the fact James would not be able to be at the birth. I thought it was a girl; I just had that motherly instinct that it was. Was I in for a surprise! The nurse said, "I'm sorry; it's a BOY!" I couldn't have been happier. The look on James' face was the best in the world. All he kept saying is, "I'm going to have a son."

That dreaded day came in January. January 26th to be exact. I dropped him off at his battalion and cried for the next week. I knew I had to go on but my life felt like it was over. The happiest time in our life had now turned into a sad one. I decided to focus on dealing with it and being strong for our new family.

My mom and sister-in-law decided that they would come and help me during labor. We were stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC at the time and my sister-in-law was in Chesapeake, VA and my mom in Ohio. As my due date drew closer, (April 11, 1996), I got more and more nervous. My mom flew down to NC on March 23 (our anniversary) just to make sure I didn't go early and no one would be there. We walked and walked and walked some more . . . nothing! I swore this baby wasn't coming early--haha!

On April 10th I had a backache and just wanted to sleep. I blamed my mom for the backache because of all the walking we had been doing for the weeks before. Well the next morning I had an OB appointment. I was in a bad mood partly from having my mom there & partly because I was so sick of being pregnant. I really think I was feeling sorry for myself because the one person in the world that needed to be there wasn't! The doctor came in and asked me how I was doing. I was rude and said, "I'd be better if you'd get this little boy out of here!" He laughed at me and then checked me. He looked up at me with shock on his face. I thought something was wrong with me! He said, "Have you been having any pain or complaints?" I told him about my back. He looked at me and smiled. I was dilated to 4 cm and didn't even know it!! haha! He sent me directly to the hospital. No going home to get my bag or the video camera that my sister-in-law was going to use so James wouldn't miss a thing.

My mom made about 10 phone calls. My best friend showed up the hospital with the video camera, & my mom told me that my sister-in-law was on her way (she had to drive four hours to get there). They hooked me up to the fetal monitor, and I was not having contractions . . . nothing at all! The doctor on call ordered me to WALK . . . and boy was I sick of walking but then I thought if walking would get this baby out I'd do anything.

At about 5 pm, the doctor came in to check me, and I was at 6 cm and still no broken water. He decided to break it for me and ordered an epidural for me. I just looked at him and laughed. Why did I need drugs? This labor stuff didn't hurt; he was crazy. About 10 minutes after he broke my water, KAPOW! I had a contraction that squeezed the breath out of me. Thank God for that doctor of mine ordering that epidural. I wimped out and took the wonderful stuff! Wow was that great going from pain to no pain in a matter of a few minutes!

At about 7:30 he came back in to check me again and said he could see a head full of dark hair. REALLY?? WOW! The end was in sight for us! My sister-in-law and my mom were at dinner, and I was alone in the room. Uh oh! I was by myself, and this baby was on his way! What about the camera? Would they get back in time? I started to panic when they showed up and everything started to happen really fast.

The doctor came in and told me I could push when I felt the urge to, so I pushed for about 30 minutes. He decided to cut me so I wouldn't tear. One snip was all it took. My son's head emerged with the cord wrapped around his neck three times. Everyone in the room fell silent, and I wondered what in the world was going on. Dr. D. said, "Whatever you do, DO NOT PUSH!!" He got the cord unwound from his neck and gave the order to "Push hard sugar!" At 8:12 pm, James Brian Hillyer Jr. entered the world weighing in at 8 lbs 4 oz and 22 inches long. With a gusty cry and lots of tears from everyone, he was finally here. My little man was here. He had a head full of black hair and the biggest feet I had ever seen on a baby! He was beautiful!!

Later on that night I was in the nursery nursing him, and the nurse came in and said there was a phone call for me. It was my husband on the phone! He was in the middle of the Adriatic Sea and had just gotten his Red Cross message stating his son had been born. He was crying, and I was crying and all the nurses were crying! It was the best day of our life!

On July 23, 1996, James Jr.'s daddy came home. As he stepped off the bus, I handed him his son and watched this big strong United States Marine sob as he held his son for the first time. Every single person there that day stopped what they were doing to watch him and feel his pride! He was so glad to be home but so happy to finally meet this little person he had been waiting for for what seemed like forever! WELCOME HOME DADDY!!

We are now expecting baby #2 in March. This time DADDY will be there! :o)

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