All in Due Time: Perspectives on Childbirth from Deaf Parents
Stacie introduces herself and gives a little bit of her background. (0:35)
Stacie was born and raised in Minneapolis. She was born deaf, and has a twin sister who is hearing. She graduated from Highland Park High School where they have a deaf program mainstreamed into a public school. She went to Gallaudet where she got a degree in Theraputic Recreation. She moved back to Minneapolis in 1997, met and married Scott. They’ve been in South Dakota since fall.
Scott introduces himself and gives some of his background. (0:42)
Scott was born in South Dakota where he attended the residential school for the deaf. He has 2 brothers and 2 sisters and is the only deaf person in his family. After graduating in 1987, Scott went to Gallaudet, going to school for four years, taking two years off and finally returning to finish his degree in 1994. He works for CSD in South Dakota as the interim Building Project Manager.
Miller: How We Met
Stacie and Scott explain how they met (and then met again) in a way that brought them together as a couple. (1:22)
Stacie and Scott actually met at Gallaudet, but at the time, Stacie though Scott was too laid back and was not interested in him. Then, when Scott came back to Gallaudet to finish his degree, he was totally focused on graduating and getting back to South Dakota. He had kind of pursued Stacy without success and eventually they lost touch with each other. Stacie contacted him via AOL IM and that’s how they got reconnected. They met again in Canton at a small restaurant with her family and other relatives. Scott proposed on New Year’s Eve. Stacie goes on to explain that they re-met in 1999. At Gallaudet when they first met, Stacie did think he was too laid back. He was always trying to get her attention and she was not interested in him. In 1999 Stacie was browsing profiles on the internet and came across Scott’s screen name. When she checked the profile, she realized it was him. She contacted him to see how he was doing and the rest of the story is, as they say, history.
Miller: Finding Out
The Millers married in Minneapolis and went to Maui for their honeymoon. That is where they got pregnant. Stacie found out she was pregnant on January 12. She will always remember the day because it was so emotional. She was shocked, scared, excited…very emotional. Stacie had suspected she was pregnant because her period was late and she didn’t feel like herself. Scott didn’t believe her at first. When she took the pregnancy test and found it was positive, she skipped up to Scott (who was on the couch) and told him. He wouldn’t believe it until she showed him the test stick with the plus sign on it. They were both surprised and a little shaken by getting pregnant so soon after they married.
Miller: Difficulties with Pregnancy
Stacie and Scott describe the early parts of Stacie’s pregnancy, which included some difficulties. Technical terms include: Ultrasound and Bicornuate Uterus. (3:17)
Stacie’s first month of pregnancy went fine, (which is when she found out she was pregnant) but she started experiencing some bleeding in the 2nd month. She was quite frightened, having never been through a pregnancy before. The doctor told her she had a 50/50 chance of miscarrying the baby. Stacy was scared because she knew a miscarriage would be very traumatic and felt very unsure about what would happen next. The ultrasound showed she had a bicornuate uterus, meaning that the shape of her uterus was abnormal and that the baby had attached itself to a part of the uterus that might not support the pregnancy. That was the reason for the bleeding. Stacy was put on bed rest. She had a job as a supervisor at a group home for adults with disabilities and the job required a lot of activity, so she had to just stop work for the week. During that week, she worried and prayed for everything to work out. After a week, the pregnancy stabilized.
The interpreter they had at that time was not working out. The interpreter could not understand Stacie and it was very difficult to deal with the communication problems. The interpreter had been sent from a different agency than the one Stacie usually worked with. She asked the doctor’s office if she could change interpreters and at first met with a lot of resistance. She had to explain how critical it was for them to have a consistent and competent interpreter, in part because of the complex terminology required. Eventually they relented and Stacie chose her own interpreter. She approached an interpreter that had been referred to her and asked if she would be willing to take on the job. The interpreter agreed and continued with them through the rest of the pregnancy.
Scott also remembers how terrifying it was when Stacie started bleeding. He had no idea what could be wrong and decided to take her to the ER. Stacie’s mother and sister came and offered their support. The ultrasound showed that the baby was still alive and moving, so that was a big relief. When they found out about the bicornuate uterus, they knew where the bleeding was coming from, but it was still very scary. For the rest of the pregnancy he was paranoid that it would happen again and monitored everything closely.
The pregnancy went ok, but Scott does remember how Stacie’s hormones really changed her. She would blow up at him for no reason and he just tried to be patient and understanding. It was tough going, but eventually they got through that hurdle as well.
Stacie remembers how she also suddenly reacted differently to some foods. She sometimes wouldn’t let Scott cook chicken because the smell of chicken made her nauseous. Surprisingly, she really did not experience morning sickness at all. She does remember her hormones kicking in, feeling angry and overwhelmed at all that was happening in their life. They had just gotten married, moved into an apartment, were looking for a house, and now they were going to have a baby…it felt like too much was happening all at once.
Miller: The Delivery
They describe having a C-Section at 31 1/2 weeks into the pregnancy (as well as Scott’s documenting the procedure on video.) (3:41)
Stacie was at 32 1/2 weeks and in the hospital. They planned to take the baby at 34 weeks, so they already knew she wouldn’t be carrying the baby to full term. That night after dinner, Stacy started to feel sick and feverish. The nurse told her they probably would have to go ahead and have the baby that night because the baby’s heartbeat was running high. They were concerned about the heart rate, thinking the baby might also be sick.
The nurse came in to take Stacie up to the delivery room. Stacie was nervous and caught off-guard by everything that was happening. Luckily her mother and family were there to support her. They put in the catheter, knowing they had to do a C-section because the baby was breech and couldn’t be delivered vaginally. They asked her about allergies to medications and then the doctor scheduled to do the c-section arrived. They had met Dr Rolfe when they first came into the hospital. He was a wonderful doctor. Scott put on scrubs and was ready to come into the room. The interpreter arrived at that time and was there with them. Stacie doesn’t clearly remember the rest of the delivery because of the medication.
Scott picks up the story by saying he was expecting that night to be just another night of bed rest for Stacie. When the nurse told him it was time, he couldn’t really grasp what she was saying at first. He recovered his wits and went up to the room. They gave Stacie an epidural. She was nervous but sat quietly and got through it ok.
Scott was ready with his video camera. They allowed him to take it in with them. He filmed the whole thing (not all the gory details). In the delivery room, they set up the drape and started the C-section. Scott wasn’t bothered by watching the surgery. It was just like they’d seen before on the TV show “A Baby Story” on TLC. Scott was totally engrossed in the whole procedure. At one point the doctor leaned over to look at something and Scott (who was just behind the doc) leaned along with him so he could keep the shot clear. The medical team came rushing over, thinking he was fainting. The whole procedure just mesmerized Scott.
Scott felt bad for his son because when the doctor actually delivered him the baby’s head wouldn’t come out. He came out feet first. Because Stacie didn’t have any contractions, her muscles were very stiff, making it harder to finish the delivery. The doctor had to really pull on the baby to wrestle him out. Scott was kind of shocked at how rough the doctor was because he always thought babies were very fragile. He was a bit concerned as he watched all of this, but had to assume the doctor knew what was best.
After quite a bit of tugging, the baby’s head finally came free and he was out. Stacie’s interpreter let them know right away that the baby was crying, a sign that everything was fine. The interpreter said that the baby looked perfect. The baby was bigger than they expected for a preemie. They’d had an ultrasound the week before so the doctor could prepare for the surgery. At that time, they thought the baby would be about 3 pounds and 15 inches. Turned out the baby was actually 5.3 pounds and 18 inches, which is pretty big for a baby born at 32 1/2 weeks.
Post-Delivery in NICU
This video describes what happened in having a baby born so prematurely and how they dealt with care until they were able to bring their son home. (2:49)
The baby was in great shape after the birth, but Stacie was totally out of it because of the drugs. Scott was torn between supporting Stacie and wanting to be with his new son. It really hadn’t hit him yet that he’d become a father. It wasn’t until he walked out and saw all of Stacie’s family lined up to see the baby that he realized he had a son. Everyone wanted a look at the baby and everyone was crying. It was really exciting.
They took the baby to the NICU because they had to monitor him to make sure his lungs and everything was working right. He was in a “cubicle”/isollete overnight, but really he was doing very well. He was a healthy boy.
Stacie remembers how they took the baby away and she had to stay in the recovery room until the medicine wore off. All she could think about was getting to see her baby. Finally the doctor let them take her upstairs on a gurney where she got my first good look at her son. That’s when the reality of the birth really hit her. She was not allowed to hold the baby because of the incubator, but she could touch him. She touched his hand and face. They sent her back to her room to get some rest, but she was too excited to sleep, just wanting to have more time with the baby. The baby was born at 11:33 p.m. and she had just gotten her first real look at 2 in the morning. She went to sleep in her room with her mom and Scott by her side.
Stacie was worn out, but couldn’t wait to hold her baby. The next morning she was all swollen and sore from the surgery but she was allowed to go back to the NICU and hold her (well, their) baby at last. It was a wonderful moment.
The doctor told them the baby was doing very well and was breathing on his own. They moved him from the isolette to a regular bassinet. They still had an IV in his arm for hydration. He had a feeding tube in his nose. They used Stacie’s breast milk to feed him. She and the baby also learned how to breast feed properly. After a week, they transferred back to the original hospital Stacie went to when her water broke. (She then was transferred to a hospital in Burnsville). One week later they discharged him. Even though he was only 35 weeks old and technically should not even be born yet, he was healthy and strong.
Miller: Going Home
After all of their trials, Stacie and Scott finally are able to bring their son home. This video tells of their pride in their “miracle baby.” (2:27)
The day they brought the baby home was overwhelming because they did not have time before he was born to set up the nursery, or even have a baby shower. They had to buy everything, crib, baby seat and other supplies, on the same day they brought him home.
Stacie stayed with her mom for the first week so Scott could work on their house. They had bought a new house just down the street, so it was easy for him to go back and forth. Because Stacie was in the hospital long before they expected her to be, they never had a chance to really get the nursery ready in their new house. While Stacie stayed at her mom’s, Scott did the renovation and painting for the nursery.
Scott remembers how Stacie got very sick a few days after the baby was born, which was another reason she stayed in the hospital so long. She had a very high fever, 104-105 degrees. Stacie says she felt sick just a day or two after the baby was born. Stacie does an aside where she tells us that the baby’s name is Addison. She also explains how his name sign is reminiscent of the sign for PROUD. They chose that name sign deliberately because they are so proud of him. He is a miracle. Stacie then goes back to explain how her fever spiked and she got very sick. She was shaky and went from sweating to chills. The doctors did all kinds of tests to try to figure out what was wrong including a CAT scan. They finally called in a specialist who diagnosed a uterine infection. It was a terrible week. Stacie then thanks Scott for reminding her to tell that part of the story.
Scott tells how protective Stacie was of the baby when she first got home. He explains that she was afraid their cat might bite Addison, even though the cat was very easygoing and not a threat at all.
The baby is doing very well. He’s been sick a couple of times, but overall is very healthy. Scott repeats that he’s very proud of his son. He’s 20 months old now. He’s actually over the top on the growth charts – a real miracle baby. Stacie also says again how proud she is of their son.