Hannah's Story

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The Story of Hannah

I remember that we had returned home from a party at the home of Dr John Spencer when we utilized a EPT and discovered that indeed Jill was pregnant. I was scared to death. I was not thrilled, joyous, delighted or celebrative. Just scared.

Over the next months I learned more about biology, physiology and the stages of pregnancy than I ever wanted to know.

The church, St James United Methodist Church in Danville IL, was nothing but supportive. The gifts, the attention and the sharing of their joy was incredible.

By the time the summer of 1991 came to a close we had that shocking feeling of "this is really going to happen." And more incredible, "thereís only one way this baby is coming out of there." I was anxious about what all the delivery process would be like. I was scared for Jillís health, scared for the baby also.

2 weeks before the due date on a Friday, we grew concerned that Jill was no longer feeling many movements. We called Dr Fayís office and they encouraged us to come right over. When they hooked Jill up to the fetal monitor, it did detect movement. In fact, it showed a pattern of contractions. The nurse practitioner encouraged us to go to the mall and walk and make preparation to give birth. "Youíre going to have a baby before the weekend ends" were her words.

This was not in the plan. The suitcase had not yet been packed and stowed in the car. We hadnít yet purchased the things we would need. We went to Market Place Mall and bought a Baby Book. At the nearby grocery store we bought film, snacks, and drinks.

My brother Chris and his wife Valerie were in IL for a family vacation. Just earlier that week I had been with them at Nashville IN Ė checking with Jill back home every few hours. This day, they had traveled to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. As soon as we left the clinic we called my Grandma, Dorothy Robison, and she was working on contacting them all. They were sure surprised to get paged over the PA system at the fairgrounds that day!

By late afternoon we were back at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana checking into labor and delivery. By late that evening, after Jill had received some fluids, the contractions dwindled to nothing. All those snacks and no baby!

We lived the next 2 weeks in fear. The suitcase was promptly prepared and ready in the car trunk.

On Tuesday, I had called in to a talk-radio show Ė The Dolans on Talknet. They were financial experts. I forget what inane question I asked. Iím sure it was very intelligent. On that Saturday evening, the 7th of September, I was working late in my study and listening to the radio. The Dolans came on at 1am. I was ready to hear myself on national radio. I DID hear myself and was finally ready to come to bed about 1:40am.

I had just crawled into bed when Jill stirred and asked "What is wet in this bed?" "Well, honey, could it be your water has broken?" Sure enough it had. A quick call to the hospital and we were advised to eat a little something, get a shower and get to the hospital in a little while.

I panicked. Where is the "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" book?" "Itís in the suitcase, in the trunk, in the car, in the garage." Jill claims that sheíll never forget the sight of me standing in the garage reading a book with the trunk lid open dressed in only underwear.

Jill showered and I did something. Soon we were on our way to Jillís motherís home to pick her up. We arrived at the hospital by 4am or so. My parents arrived by 6:30am. Jill was feeling fine. True to the Showalter family tradition, we decided to go eat. Jill was walking the hallways and feeling fine.

By the time we got back from breakfast at about 8am, Jill was beginning to feel some contractions. I donít remember all the details about what came next but in a little while I was dressed in scrubs and was surrounded by interns and feeling very nervous.

Jillís labor was relatively easy and quick and Hannah was born at 11:09am. Dr Melinda Dabrowsky was the doctor on call that weekend. She enjoyed the CD of classical music I brought to play all through the ordeal.

As soon as Hannah was born, she seemed to be gasping a bit for breath. They let Jill hold her briefly but then wanted to take her to the nursery to monitor her. I had specific orders to accompany the baby wherever she went. I did as instructed. I do not regret to this day missing the post-birth necessities.

The name "Hannah" caught our attention when we saw a movie entitled "Sing" some time before even getting pregnant. The lead in that movie was named Hannah and we thought that would be a good name for a little girl. "Cecil" is the name of my paternal grandmother, Ida Cecil, who bore 7 children of her own including my father, Albert Jr, in 1929. Ida lived a healthy life of almost 101 years.

Visitors were quick to arrive including Don Houts (a friend and the pastoral counselor for the Central Illinois Conference of the UMC at the time). Uncle Mike and Geri came to (later taking "Nada" back to Danville in the back seat of his Corvette)

Iíve never been so tired in all my life as I was that evening. I went to the mall to have pictures developed and get Jill the double chocolate brownie fudge whatever cake from Olive Garden which she had lived without for 9 months due to gestational diabetes.

I ate that evening at Garciaís Pizza before coming back to spend the night with Jill and Hannah at the hospital.

On Tuesday, I believe, we went back home to Danville and were greeted there by our friend Gary Koerner and lots of others.

We, of course, were very nervous (not ever having had a baby to care for) and battle between elation and exhaustion over the next few days. Within a few days, we grew concerned again about the same "squeeking" noise when Hannah breathed. Dr Frank Stephens diagnosed it as an underdevelopment of cartilage in the throat and we relaxed a bit.

Within time, Jill went back to work for Carle Home Care. I stayed home one day a week to care for Hannah. I can still remember how anxious I would become when Hannah would get hungry to nurse and I would have to page Jill who would be 30 minutes away. We enjoyed strolling through the mall with Hannah in that pink and gray terry outfit that I always chose because I like the colors and I knew how to work all the snaps.

There are some of my memories of the birth of Hannah.

This page last edited: 12/16/2000 05:55 PM