What a treat! You guys get to read about meeeee! 🙂 My mom asked if she could share my birth story for my 30th and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I’ve heard this story a million times, but it’s great to have it on record now. This may explain some of the reasons why I’m slightly off my rocker, but good news is I wasn’t born with any extra limbs! Or maybe there is more to this story, I do have that funny scar on my right rib cage…wait. a. miiiinute! JK. But I do have a 6th toe on my right foot. Enjoy the story!
September 11, 1983
This story begs to differ from all the other birthing stories on this blog because it starts way before I was actually pregnant. Indulge me please while I share the story of how Melanie Tracy Pace came into our lives since we are celebrating that entrance 30 yrs ago today.
We had had a very rough road of life losing my father-in-law to suicide in 1981. Then we were living in a very critical financial situation and both of us working every possible job for income in 1982 only to find out that our only help in the form of a raise was postponed but would be retroactive in September. To make matters worse, my father, whom I was very close to, ended up really sick from a staff infection that summer. During that July, I kept feeling a baby kicking in my stomach. After 2 previous pregnancies I knew what that sensation was all about. At first I laughed it off as we were not planning any more children in such a strained situation. After the kicking was only happening every time I was with my dad, who was in a coma at the time, I finally went to the doctor and he assured me that they could find nothing wrong with me and we already knew I wasn’t pregnant. I would often talk to my dad and I finally asked him one day if this was his way of cutting out of my life. Was I receiving a sign that a baby would somehow replace him in my future? I knew how much he loved children but I surely didn’t want to give him up. While in the coma, he squeezed my hand. That Aug 24th, my dad passed away and broke my heart. The following 3 weeks later, we learned that my husband’s raise was completely canceled due to someone at work compromising the business, so no retroactive pay that we were holding our breaths for would happen either. We both laid on the bed and cried our hearts out. Way too many things for us to handle in such a short time.
Skip to the end of December when I keep telling my ob/gyn doctor that I believed that I was pregnant. He kept telling me “no” but I had all my normal classic symptoms. So the Ultrasound that is ordered to satisfy my brain and sanity in the beginning of Jan showed no baby. The doctor then put me on meds that have lots of side effects including missing limbs and brain damage to an unborn baby. I remained on those meds until late Feb when I would be completing my first trimester of pregnancy. Insisting that I had to be pregnant, the doctor shaking his head thinking I was nuts, does an internal examine. I had all the signs of a baby. I was scared to death by the meds that I had been taking at this point. He told me that since I was also a ‘high risk pregnancy’ (due to blood clotting) that he would sign me up for an abortion immediately. I knew that I was at least 3 mos and didn’t think it was legal but he assured me that I could medically go up to 5 mos and he didn’t know how 4 of us could live on our salary much less 5. But I couldn’t even think of an abortion, plus I always wanted a very big family. When he pulled the chart out and told me that the baby was due on Aug. 24th, I started crying uncontrollably. He didn’t understand that I knew then that this baby was the miracle that God had announced to me months before. My husband was so shook up that all he could think of was how much more pressure this was going to be on us and told me that he couldn’t handle it or he could end up like his father. I never prayed so hard in my life. My husband or our baby? I assured him that if God had brought us that far, He sure wasn’t abandoning us now. He started trusting and we forged on.
Now this part gets even rougher. A few months later in April at Easter time, the day after the second anniversary of Kev’s dad’s death, we lost our 3 1/2 year old beautiful little niece, his sister and brother-in-law’s only child. A very rare condition and talk about a nightmare and shock. We were like second parents to Sarah. To make matters even worse, if it was possible, at my check-up the day after burying Sarah, the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat on my baby. I was told that I was probably not pregnant the whole time and this was a false pregnancy which I knew was wrong right away. Another option was that the baby had died or finally, that was it was a tumor growing the whole time. What a shock! So we had to sweat it out and pray every prayer in the book to make it until the Ultrasound, 4 days later. For a parent to doubt whether they could want or handle another child and then to have it possibly taken away from them is unbearable. You are filled with nothing but guilt and promising God everything you can to let this baby survive. Well, Melanie was vegging so my low back so they couldn’t locate with the doppler, but her heartbeat showed up loud and clear with the Ultrasound!!!! Thank the Lord. Wait, was this the reason I started all the back surgeries later on in life? HA! And what an expensive little tumor she turned out to be!! We’ve joked about that her whole life! Soon after that I was bedded down with phlebitis in my leg from all the sitting I was doing in the long hours of designing and sewing to earn money. Fun times with two other kids running around, let me tell ya. Thank you family for all that help!
From 7 mos on, I had false labor constantly. I often said that I would never trust when this baby would actually be in real labor because of all the prodromal contractions. Aug 24th came and went and I was disappointed that nothing happened on that day thinking I had misread the signs from earlier. Then low and behold on Sept. 11, 1983, “Grandparents Day” that year…haha…I’m sure dad was laughing since he loved his little jokes, I had my bloody show at 6 in the morning. I didn’t even wake Kev or the kids up, just went back to bed. By 9:30 I thought that maybe he should wake up since 3rd kids tend to come a little faster and I was in good contractions by then. We got the kids taken care of and left for the hospital arriving a little later than planned. Melanie in her familiar pattern later in life, was on high speed and didn’t want to wait for an epidural that I would need so they could immediately tie my tubes. I tried my best to go natural with the first two deliveries and wouldn’t you know it, when I finally could push her on out easily, I couldn’t. The doctor had to tie my tubes after the delivery since I wasn’t allowed to have more kids due to being ‘high risk’ and they needed that epi fast. They pulled it off against all odds but the doctor barely made it into the room when out shoots Melanie. She hasn’t stopped since, I swear, but I guess if I have to admit it, she does come by that trait honestly! Kevin jumped up and yelled ‘it’s a boy!’ and the doctor tells him very apologetically that it’s another girl, just the umbilical cord wrapped around her leg. He cried like he had every other time because he was so overwhelmed by the miracle of it all and he does love his girls! Kevin sat down laughing, only to my shock, the doc can’t get Melanie to breathe right. I freaked when they sent her to the NICU but Kevin didn’t understand any of this and he left to go tell everyone the ‘good news that it’s a girl’ and make some calls. Then the doctor tells me he can’t do the tubal ligation, first because my husband was crying that it wasn’t a boy (laugh, laugh…I’m the one that wanted all the boys, not him!) and second, that our baby could easily die and I might want to try to have another one later on. I assured him that one child does not replace another child and that Kevin needed to proceed to help me raise Brittany and Ali if that should happen. Little did I know what I would have to face later on in life without a 3rd child. I again prayed so hard that Melanie would make it though another hurdle and low and behold, I finally got to hold her 10 hrs later. They had to clear her lungs out since she decided to fly out of me instead of taking her time to clear her own lungs in a normal delivery. What a battle this child had coming into this world and I knew it had to be a special purpose that God had in store for her. She was actually an easy child to raise and so talented. Now I look back on all of this and believe the Good Lord set her up to be a warrior for Him from conception on to the present. She has spent her life doing His outreach work and found her calling with not only her profession, but her blogs that are connected with it. This birthing blog brings such joy to families. The amount of people she has reached through Ali’s and our family’s struggles is unbelievable on her loft3pd blog besides all the beautiful camera work that she and Adam continue to do for weddings and family shots, etc. . I can’t imagine how much more she could do to teach the world to have faith in the Almighty. We have had so many more struggles over the years but God has taught us that He is always right next to us and willing to carry us through to the next day. I never would have dreamt that those first kicks I felt would have led us through all those fun years of soccer (that now I miss so much!) and that I am now watching her day by day as great mom and wife. We are all very proud of her and and love her, but as her mom I get to be the proudest and love her the most. I believe no woman can ever separate herself from a child that they carried and delivered and I can’t imagine wanting to do that. I loved being pregnant each time and marvel in awe at each pregnant woman I see over God’s greatest miracle that He ever could have blessed us with. I hope you can always keep up at your crazy high speed pace (!!) Melanie, and that you continue as one of God’s brightest lights. Love, love, love you and Happy 30th Birthday. Mom
BTW…at 22 mos old after asking Melanie repeatedly to stop saying Bepa’s name (Brittany’s name for my dad) because it hurt me so much since he wasn’t with me anymore and made me cry and besides she didn’t even know who Bepa was. She insisted she did and I said that she couldn’t have since he had died over a year before she was born. In her broken baby language she looked straight up at me and said “uh huh, mommeee, I see Bepa in heaven before I came here.” God’s honest truth. I sat down and cried.
Thanks so much for sharing Mom! Love you too! Thanks for not aborting me! That was probably one of the better choices you’ve made in your life! 🙂
Love, 30 yr Melanie.