The Fotheringham Clan Normal Baby after Complicated Pregnancy

Pictured above with her little nephew, "Presston" 5 months old, Kristi age 16, shows the world she beat the odds.

This page last updated on December 1, 2004

Kristi was considered a "Miracle Baby" when she was born. The pregnancy was not an ordinary one in any way. Complications set in before I even had a chance to suspect that I was pregnant. We lived in Spokane, Washington where my now ex‑husband was stationed at Fairchild, Air Force Base, a mere 25 miles south of our home.. Being in the military, we were subjected to who ever and whatever doctors or medical personnel were available. In the military, doctors seem to fit one of two categories, either they are there because they want to make great doctors and do, or they are there because they do not have the personality to match the skills needed and jerks who could care less about each person. My original OB/GYN was one who fit the latter description. He just plain did not care.

The side of life I had not yet been introduced to was just about to embark upon me in a most profound way! I was no better prepared for this, than any young mother who really wants a baby learns of the impending doom of a lost pregnancy. Life is wonderful, but in the learning process, we often times have some pretty rocky, difficult paths to travel to get to the peaceful place we all dream of being.

This particular Friday night started out like any normal evening. I prepared dinner, fed the family, did the dishes and got the younger children ready for bed. I had not been feeling the best, and figured it was a cold or flu coming on so didn’t pay much attention to it. We were pretty busy, preparing for the Holiday season that would soon be in full swing. Our weekends were spent gathering pine cones, and pods of all sorts which we made pine cone wreaths from and sold them for added income for the holidays. It was when the children had settled down, and I was ready to slip off for a well deserved soak in the tub, I realized I needed to see a doctor. I told my husband I needed to go in, so he handed me the keys to the car and said he’d be inside to watch the children. I left for the emergency room at Fairchild Air Force Base, Regional Hospital. Although I had been bleeding excessively, it was there learned I was 5-6 weeks pregnant. The actual development of the baby was about s2 weeks behind, because here in America, the doctor figure the pregnancy at 40 weeks, beginning from the date of the last menstrual period. I was placed under the care of the head of the OB/GYN, due to the complexity of this pregnancy. He carefully went over the options before me. In his mind, the pregnancy couldn’t possible progress as normal and I should be taken to surgery immediately for an abortion. I refused. This little embryo was more than a mass of cells to me. I was carrying a developing baby! I could never dispose of a baby! I could never choose to end someone’s life, and certainly not a baby of my own flesh and blood! How this man felt he could play God and make the determination so early in the pregnancy that this baby was not worth fighting for, was beyond my imagination. This subject would come up again and again. Each time it would be brought up, it would anger me deeper and deeper until one day I would not take it any more!

One week later I found myself back in the emergency room again. This time they did an ultra sound, it was the first of many that would be performed. Each time the scan proved a live and growing baby, and each time that doctor tried to convince me to end the pregnancy right then and there. Each time I told him very sharply and firmly, “NO WAY!!!” I felt within my own heart that this pregnancy would provide me with a healthy, happy child. No way could I destroy her life! To destroy her would go against every grain my morality, and what my personal constitution stood for!

I will call the doctor, Dr. Ugly, that name fits him very well!; and even seems to make me feel a bit better to think of him in those terms. Dr. Ugly finally came to lock horns with me. He was determined that I was going to abort the baby and that is all there was to it! I was convinced it was the wrong thing to do and that my child had the same chance for survival that any other baby had to live, and nothing was going to change my mind, NOTHING!!!

I was in the exam room and he tried to distract my mind from the desire to keep the baby alive. He mentioned several times that I would feel much better as soon as the abortion was over. I glared at him and stood my grounds refusing to listen to his so called reasoning. In a cold, stern voice he said, "There is not one possible chance the baby could ever be normal, if the pregnancy continues. You need to go straight upstairs to surgery and I have already told them to get it ready for you." I refused. We would have this same situation come up over and over again the next few weeks’ Dr. Ugly simply did not like my determination. He did not agree with my choice, and made things pretty miserable for me. I was going in for appointments 3 to 5 days a week. If I was seen last on Thursday, I had to be seen on Friday and Monday, without fail.

About six weeks had passed with the routine just described. I was going in for a routine check up. I had been hospitalized 3 times for excessive bleeding, and released each time without any improvement in my condition. . The doctor did another ultrasound, expecting to tell me that the baby had died. He wanted me to sign papers to do the abortion. When I refused, he said, "Wait here". Then he snickered, "You really don't have a choice. I will be right back with enough evidence to prove you wrong. You MUST abort that baby, for if for some reason it lives, it will only be a vegetable and you don't want that to deal with, do you?" He told me to wait and he would bring back the papers, then left the exam room. Well, that was the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak! I quickly got dressed and left his office in a mad rage. Nothing could convince me my baby’s life was not worth giving it every chance there was to get the baby here safely. I prepared myself to fight this to the very end. I knew they could not do anything I did not sign papers for, and I was not going to stick around to hear any more of what this doctor had to say.

At birth Kristi was only 5 pounds 8 ounces. She was about 16 inches long but very healthy. Although she was small, she grew at a steady pace. She never experienced complications of the birth in any way. She is also a perfect example that women can have a natural birth after having more than one C‑Section.

At 4 months, her hemoglobin levels were at a dangerously low level, because I was having problems with iron deficiency myself. I was breastfeeding, which meant, I did not have iron to give, unless it was supplemented somehow, it was not there for her to receive. That was easy and quick to remedy without ill effects to the baby. She was given 2 Tablespoons of liquid chlorophyll daily for two weeks. I was told to take her back in two weeks to see how she was doing. However, the doctor called only a week into her therapy and said she had to be checked that day. Her blood was taken, processed and I was told she was back to normal, acceptable limits. At her next check another week later, she was in great shape with her levels at the top. Her pediatrician said, "I don't know what it is you are doing, and I'm not sure I even want to know, but keep on doing what you are doing. This baby is wonderful health." I had told her about natural approaches I was going to use to improve Kristi's health.

The doctor had just told me: As I was ready to walk out the door, the staff was calling my name trying to get me to return. By that time, the doctor was also calling my name trying to get me to go back. This was a military base hospital, and the hallway was narrow, the floors, walls and ceiling all covered in heavy, ceramic tile. If you have ever been in a military hospital, you know how it sounds just to walk through the hall ways. Each step echoes. Imagine the sound when a door is slammed shut. Well, when those heavy doors slammed with as much force as a mad pregnant woman can muster up, it makes the spine on the most rigid person stand straight in a split second! Believe me, it echoed!!! The door shut with such force it sounded more like a bomb going off! If ever you have been around an angered pregnant woman, you know what I am referring to. It is no different than someone standing between an mother animal and her baby. Human mother's have an instinct to protect their young too, even before they are born!

The door closest to me was an emergency exit. I had been angered enough that no longer mattered to me. I opened that door, setting off the alarm and left for the car sitting only about 40' from that exit. I could hear the siren screaming loud and clear, echoing across the entire hospital grounds, I simply just did not care. My baby was not going to be disposed of. If t he pregnancy ended in a miscarriage I would deal with the situation. If that happened, I would know I did everything in my power to keep the pregnancy alive and the baby well. I had handled several miscarriages in the past, this was not a new situation to me. The doctor’s attitude was, however. This was not my first complicated pregnancy. This was the first time I had ever been asked, then forced to give agreement to allow a doctor to abort a pregnancy. My own personal convictions would not allow such a thing to happen! One of my best friends was a practicing OB/GYN in Spokane, a mere 30‑mile drive away from the base. Dr. David R. Claypool had been in the Military and had been my physician until he got out to do his own private practice just before I became pregnant with Kristi. As far as I was concerned, he was the best in the field. He had handled other complications with dignity, and ease. Never once has he ever, or will he ever encourage a woman to abort her baby. If this world had more doctors like Dr. Claypool, there would be far less contention and far less complications in pregnancy, labor and delivery. The world simply needs more doctors like him.

To make a long story shorter, I had a very complicated pregnancy that ended with 17.5 weeks straight in the hospital before the baby was born. I had many sessions where I had to remain in the hospital for a weekend, a week or longer. Somehow, through it all, I knew all along the baby was a girl and she was going to be fine. I knew she was going to be a tiny, healthy, little girl.

Here is my story:

I had been more or less a confinee in the hospital wing. I had my own room, and everyone knew what was going on. In the middle of the night, November 19th, 1981, I woke with contractions. Nothing out of the ordinary, that is what I had spent the last 17.5 weeks in the hospital for. Reluctantly I called the nurse into the room and told her the contractions had started up again. She felt them and sure enough they were there. This time they were different, she even commented on that. She hooked up the monitor and for the first time I had been hospitalized, nothing was showing! She checked me, and no progress was being made. She said she really should call the doctor, but Dr. Ugly would be on call until 6 A.M.

I had him kicked out of my room and off my case early on in the pregnancy, and would have nothing to do with him at all. The nurse was not sure what to do. "It’s simple", I said, "You can't call him in because the monitor does not show anything this time, therefore you have no proof." She finally decided to go along with this idea. Besides, when he was called in the middle of the night a few nights prior, he came up literally kicking the walls and stating, "Can't these women choose decent hours to have their babies!" Not one of the staff wanted to work with him, and I had been commended several times for having stood up to him, kicking him off my case. This was the doctor the military had labeled as the HEAD of OBSTETRICS!

I was checked several times through the night, with very little progress being made. I kept telling myself, “I cannot have this baby on Dr. Ugly’s watch! No! I will not allow progress to be made.”

5:45 A.M. came and the nurse let me know she had called Dr. Hiss, my doctor. He would be in right away. I knew it would be okay to allow labor to progress, and said, "You mean I can go into labor now?" Her reply was quick and pleasant, "Yes! It is okay this time. The baby has progressed to the point it will survive! You can have contractions without us doing everything to stop them." Immediately, the contractions started up full force. I could not believe the way I had obviously slowed labor telling myself I could not go ahead with it. I had heard of this happening in the case of cats, if they cannot find an adequate place they feel safe with, they simply would not progress until they feel comfortable with their surroundings.

By the time the doctor had arrived, I was making good progress. He checked with the pediatrician, who said she felt that there could be complications with the baby recommended that we transport to a Spokane hospital for the delivery.

The only hang up was he needed to have an accepting physician. "Dr. Claypool is the one." I told him. The phone call was made. Dr. Claypool’s wife answered. The doctor was unavailable, as he was out chasing down his calves that had escaped the fences and were scaring the kindergarten kids waiting for the school bus. Someone had called the police, and another neighbor had informed the Claypool's that the police were out there in their patrol cars, sirens blasting, lights flashing, chasing them in their cars! (Doesn't everyone know you don't round up calves in a police car with lights and siren going?!!! Where are the video cameras when they are needed most?!!! This was not quite a John Wayne movie, but should have won a $10,000 place with America's Funniest Home Videos!)

It took a couple of calls before things were rolling in the right direction. Cattle in place, Dr. Claypool stating he would take the case, I was already being prepared to transport to Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Washington. Dr. Hiss, who had taken good care of me while at Fairchild hospital, would be going with me to Spokane. I had talked with Dr. Hiss about having a vaginal delivery, which was not going to be possible if I were to deliver at Fairchild Air Force Base Regional Hospital, due to not having proper supervision for “such a risky situation”.

By the time we arrived, there was no question that I was going to get my way with a vaginal delivery. I had two previous C‑Sections, and did not want this baby C‑Section. Dr. Calypool was hesitant, and not willing to take the chance. He had no experience to help judge whether or not this would be a good outcome. At this time the statement was still, “Once a C‑Section, always a C‑Section” He wanted to allow a vaginal delivery, but without a case history or study cases to help him, he decided against the idea. The Lord was on my side, however, and we had progressed to the point that delivery was going to be taking place within a couple of minutes. There was no time for preparation, no time for a C‑Section, and Dr. Claypool was about to enter into a new realm of his practice. In 1981, at the hospital where Kristi had been born, a V‑BAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean Section) was just not done. This was a shaky situation in all aspects as far as the medical personnel were concerned. I was ecstatic! I knew everything would be fine and this was what I had wanted anyway. I was like a giddy schoolgirl, but did not want to upset the doctor of make him feel I did not have every confidence in his abilities or decisions. He is absolutely the best in the field!

When Kristi was about 3 weeks old, I took her in to show Dr. Ugly the baby he tried to force to be aborted. I know it wasn't the nicest thing to do, but I said, while looking directly into his eyes, "This is the baby you said could not be normal in any way. As he looked into her face, Kristi locked eyes on him and gave a grin as if to say, "Not worth working to save my life, huh? Well, I am proving medical science wrong!"

At 9 weeks old, Kristi looks more like a Newborn, than the two month old she is in this photo. She continued to grow, gain weight on a steady basis, and began to fill out to look more like a real baby. She was a happy, easily contented and a very good baby.

It does not take a trained eye to view the photos above and see a beautiful, healthy, normal baby. Had I been inclined to believe Doctor Ugly, who felt that for my own good, she must be aborted, Kristi would not have been born, nor would she have been able to experience life as she has. Not only Kristi would have been cheated out of her life, unable to experience it, we as a family, and all those who we have come in contact with would have been cheated out of knowing her. Cheated from the love and joy she brings to everyone around.

Kristi 3 years old

Kristi with her youngest sister, October 2001

Kristi with her youngest sister, October 2001

Kristi with her own baby

Our little Grandson, Kristi's little boy. More proof you just don't abort a baby because a doctor states the baby cannot be normal

Anthony 2 weeks old.

Kristi calls us often with reports on how her little guy is doing. It is wonderful to hear the reports of his progress, when he first rolled over, his first giggle, his first attempt to sit up, his first attempt to walk, when he emptied the drawers out all over the room for the first time, his first words and all. Babies are such a joy and such a wonderful part of our lives. Every time I think of her, I cannot help but to think about the doctor who told me she would never be normal and I must abort her. I wish I could tell him to take a good look at her now and at her beautiful, happy, healthy little son. How can doctors who destroy life live with themselves! How can a parent who does not choose to seek a second opinion? Kristi and her little one and soon to be second baby, are living proof that doctors do not always make the right decision.

As of Dec 1, 2004, Kristi now has two adorable little son's. Both children are healthy, happy and growing just as they should. I reflect back often to those haunting words, "you MUST abort that baby, for if for some reason it lives, it will only be a vegetable and you don't want that to deal with, do you?"

Please, if you are told your baby is not worth trying to save, get another opinion. Pray about it! Talk to others who have gone through this same experience. You may end up with a totally normal and healthy baby like Kristi. Each case must be evaluated as an individual situation. With this I rest my case!

If you have questions or want to chat about your own decisions you are facing,
e-mail me let's talk about it.

This page has been visited times. Thanks for visiting this page. If ever in doubt that you are doing the right thing about making the decision to give your baby a fighting chance, take a look at these photos, and rememember that a doctor once said "She will never be normal. All she can ever be is a vegetable. You certainly don't want that on your conscience all your life, do you?" Never let someone talk you into destroying a life, if you feel the baby is alive and doing well.

If you have questions or want to chat about your own decisions you are facing,
e-mail us

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