The End of an Era

Today is Shane's birthday. As I mentioned previously, he is at Scout Camp--and he is not too happy about that.  But somehow he will survive and we will celebrate when he gets home.

 Shane turns 13. So this marks a milestone for our family as the last of the eight young 'uns becomes a teenager. No more "little kids" in the Gale Family. Luckily, we have grandchildren coming along to fill the void but it is still a big change for us.

A few days before Shane was born, we celebrated the Fourth of July with the neighbors in our cul de sac (that was back when we lived in the house behind the church--as it is affectionately known). I waddled out to see the fireworks and did my best to keep a very excited Sam and Shayla from bodily harm with so many rambunctious youngsters flailing around sparklers and the like. Shane was due on the 14th which happens to be Shayla's birthday and I remember hoping he would come sooner. Partly because I was a bit weary of pregnancy after spending a total of 6 years in that condition--and also so that they wouldn't have to share a birthday. Shayla was already indignant that she was getting another brother, I didn't want to compound her resentment by having her little brother usurp her birthday.

Luckily, he was very accommodating and I started into labor 2 days later. I  had early stage contractions off and on during the day. Nothing tough but steady and constant.  I hadn't packed a bag yet so I thought I should get that done. I also kept busy all day doing laundry and cleaning house. We had family scripture and prayer and tucked the little ones into bed. Later, the older kids were gathered in our room wondering if I was really in labor. I told them I was sure it was the real deal but the contractions weren't really as strong as I thought they should be. I didn't want to go in too soon because I wanted to walk through labor and not be tied to a monitor too early. We watched the news and Jay Leno. By 12:30 the contractions were five minutes apart and felt stronger. Andy got ready to go and I threw in one more load of laundry. When we got to the hospital, I was dilated to six--I was glad to know it was for real. We walked around for 30 minutes and the contractions got harder and closer. Andy had a sore knee (this according to my journal--I don't remember the injury--it was a few years later that the whole thing gave out so maybe this was some foreshadowing) and he didn't want to walk anymore. So we went back to the room and he dozed off on the couch while I paced back and forth another half hour or so. At 2:30 am I knew transition was beginning so I woke up the hubs and sat on the bed.

Shane was posterior presentation so the last bit of labor was very painful. It didn't feel like the contractions were making progress--just putting a lot of pressure on my back. It was hard to relax between contractions because my back hurt so bad. It brought back memories of my first labor--Scott was the only other posterior baby. I remember telling the doctor to just cut a hole in my back and get the baby out that way. That got some laughs but I wasn't really kidding.  My water broke right before the last few pushes and there was meconium in the water. The doctor wanted me to back off after his head was delivered to allow for some suctioning but I really couldn't finesse the pushing and he came out all at once. He was born at 3:08 am.  She suctioned him quickly and he was fine. He cried once and quickly calmed down.  Andy cut the cord and  the Dr. laid Shane on my chest. He had so much hair it flowed around his head and it was light like Scott's. He looked small to me and I thought his head looked smaller than Sam's so I was surprised when they told me he was 8 lbs. 11 oz.--exactly the same weight as Sam. He was 20" long.

The doctor and nurses told me his face was bruised because of the posterior birth. I looked over him carefully and I just couldn't see it. To me he was precious and perfect. I kept him in the room with me after he was born and after the crowd dispersed, I nursed him and enjoyed some bonding time with him. He looked up at me and smiled and gave a little giggle. That gave me a glimpse of his adorable dimples. A few weeks later when his hospital pictures came in the mail (kids--that was in the days before digital cameras--we actually had to wait for pictures to get developed. Archaic I know!) I was surprised to see that his face was bruised pretty badly--he looked like a little prizefighter! I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before; and the bruises must have healed quickly because there aren't any in pictures a few days later.

Andy came to pick us up around noon and we bundled up our little bundle of joy and took him home to meet his siblings. He was welcomed enthusiastically and rambunctiously by his seven brothers and sisters and he settled in quickly to our lively household. He was born on a Tuesday and on Thursday there was a Mother/Daughter Relief Society activity. Siara and Shanna had been looking forward to it for weeks because it involved making jewelry. I recovered a little faster with each child (amazing how much better you feel when you don't have to deal with stitches!) so I pulled it together and took Shane and the girls to the church for the evening. A few people gave me a hard time for being out so soon and I said "Hey, I was at church last Sunday and I felt A LOT more miserable than I do now!"  Siara and Shanna had a good time making cute bracelets and necklaces with their friends and I enjoyed visiting with friends.

Andy was the Bishop of our ward (he had been sustained as Bishop two years prior-- the day Sam was blessed--that was quite a day!) and President of a rapidly growing company. He had to travel a great deal and we were at full capacity with the various ages and stages of our family. Shane came into the middle of all that and carved out his own special niche in the family. He loved trying to keep up with the brothers and sister just ahead of him and he basked in the attention he got from the older kids and their friends.

On July 8, 1998 I wrote in my journal:
"Pregnancy and childbirth are painful, difficult and a true test of endurance. The baby that is the result of the pain and sacrifice make it worth it. That awful pain always turns to exquisite joy when that baby is laid up on my chest--and that is how I have felt with every one of my babies."

That could also be a good description of raising teenagers: It is painful, difficult and a true test of endurance. But the adult that is a result of the pain and sacrifice make it worth it. 

So Shane, here we go.


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