When we were preparing to get married, I made my first visit to the ob/gyn. What an experience that was!!
Even though my parents had seven children, there was never much discussion of the facts of life in our home. Most of what I learned about the birds and bees came from the maturation programs at school, after school specials or reading the encyclopedia. I remember when I was about 12 or 13, I watched an after school special about birth. It briefly touched on that a man's sperm and a woman's egg combined to fertilize the egg that would go on to become the baby. I was unclear on how the sperm got from the man to the woman, so I asked my mom. I remember her calling for my dad and demanding he listen to what I had just asked her. I figured that whatever I said must have ranked right up there with swearing and I was in trouble. It took some persuading to get me to repeat my question to my father. His reaction further confused me. As calm as could be, he walked to the bookcase, retrieved an encyclopedia, flipped through the pages, brought it back to me and told me to go ahead and read. After I had finished, he asked me if I understood what it said - I was in shock - then told me that now that I knew all about sex, it was my job to tell my sisters.
Needless to say, there was not my discussion with my mother prior to my visit to the ob/gyn. I did have a few questions for him based on my observations of my friends. My biggest concern was that even at 21 years of age, I had yet to have a regular menstrual cycle and those that I did have were so incredibly painful and heavy that I couldn't leave the house at times. I was concerned that this might impact my ability to have children. The doctor that I went to was my mom's doctor, the man who had delivered me all those years ago. I remember walking out frustrated because instead of answering my questions, he basically patted me on the head and told me not to worry. Even then I was not one who took being dismissed well. In his defense, I know he was just trying to be reassuring and the answer he gave me I'm sure would have been fine for some, it just wasn't right for me.
When I finally became pregnant with Hunter, I did not know what I was going to do for a doctor. My dad took charge this time and called one of his former scouts who was now an ob/gyn. Al Hartman was exactly the doctor I needed. He would answer all my questions honestly and completely. If there was a decision to be made, he would provide me with all the options available, offer his opinion on what he would do, but let me make the choice. I know there were some of my friends that found him too blunt, but that was one of the things I appreciated most about him. I did not need things sugar-coated. I am a child raised on Dragnet and fully appreciated the concept of "Just the facts". I also credit Al Hartman with the fact that I even have any of my children. None of them came easily and I know that his training and instincts allowed them to be born alive and healthy.
I learned I was pregnant with Hunter when I couldn't stop being sick. After a week of my throwing up, my dad called me to tell me that he had made an appointment for me with Dr. Hartman. To this day there are smells that will make my stomach try to turn inside out. I soon found out that there was a limited selection of items that I could eat and know that they would remain with me. These items included Cheetos (most disgusting "food" ever, I only tried them because I was desparate one day), 7-Up and anything spicy. In fact the spicier the food was, the greater chance it had of staying down. It needs to be noted at this point, that of all my children, Hunter is the one who enjoys spicy foods the most. The hotter something is the better for him.
In November of 1989, we went to have an ultrasound. Dr. Hartman was one of the few doctors in the area who had an ultrasound machine right in his office. He could operate the equipment himself, but for this he brought in a technician. Rick and I had debated on finding out the sex of the baby, but since I'm the one who given a choice will peak in the packages at Christmas, it really wasn't much of a discussion. All along, Rick had said that he wanted us to have a little girl. He had dreams of daddy-daughter dates, dancing with his little girl at her wedding and sitting on the couch cleaning his guns when boys showed up to take her out. When we heard we were having a boy for a split second I was worried on how Rick would react. That is all the time it took though for his face to light up and for him to exclaim, "A son! I'm going to have a son!" He had to show the video of the ultrasound to everyone, pausing the tape everytime to point out the important parts.
Also about the same time, I took what is called an AFP test. This was the one and only time I ever took this test. We had just come back from visiting Rick's dad in California when Dr. Hartman called me at work to tell me he had the results of the test. The results were not good. The tests indicated that our child would have serious birth defects. Options were discussed, including abortion. Yes we were young, yes we would be able to have more children, but we had seen this baby. We had watched his heart beat and seen him suck his thumb. He was no longer a theoretical idea to us. He was a living, breathing person. Because of the length of my pregnancy, a decision would have to be made soon. Only there really was no decision. If this was the hand God had dealt us, so be it. We were young, we were a team and we could handle this. We kept the secret of the tests results through the holidays. We did not want to upset anyone since they were all so excited. It was right after the New Year, that Dr. Hartman called me again to let me know that the lab had run the test incorrectly - the wrong due date had been input. As a result the test did not indicate anything wrong with our son. Even though this was the new result, it wasn't till he was born that all doubt was removed from our minds.
During the last months of my pregnancy, I developed pre-eclampsia. This entailed my making regular trips to the doctor to have my blood pressure monitored and fetal stress tests done. On one visit, about three weeks before my due date, everything appeared to be going along as usual. Dr. Hartman told me that I should go home, relax and enjoy the weekend, then we would induce labor on the following Monday. I was just about ready to leave when he came back into the room and said he wanted to do an ultrasound before I left. The results were that there was no amniotic fluid left, the placenta had shut down, but Hunter had not yet gone into distress. If we had waited till Monday, the chances are good that Hunter would not have survived. Richard Hunter Wixom was born on March 17th, 1990, after 27 1/2 hours of labor and 1/2 hour before they would have done a C-section to deliver him. This tendency of putting things off till the last possible moment has continued to be a theme with him throughout his life.
Here are some other things to know about Hunter -
1. He does not adjust well to change. Serving a mission for the LDS church is helping him overcome this. Change is not bad he has learned. It is just different. With change we are given the opportunity to experience new things and to grow. 2. He is goal oriented and very talented. Whether it is playing sports, achievements in school or performing musically, Hunter will set a goal and then work to achieve it. I can remember when he was in dance, he would spend hours on our deck going over the steps of a routine again and again. I could always tell when he became frustrated, because he would shake his hands and pace. He also shakes his hands whenever he is excited about something.
3. He appears to be a social butterfly, but he is really a very private person. In this he is a lot like his dad. Hunter is a great listener and attracts people to him because of it. When someone he cares about it, he often seems to have a sixth sense about what needs to be done to find a resolution. Unfortunately, he holds his feelings to himself. It is very difficult for him to open up. It has always been a very select group to whom he will share his feelings. Unfortunately, as he has gotten older, his parents have not always been part of the group.
4. He loves Winnie the Pooh. He received his first stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh when he was a year old and had collected every single one. He often fancies himself as Eeyore - always sad and looking at the negative. Yet when it comes right down to it, he is more like Pooh - optimistic, friendly, caring, and when he does get in over his head, he has good friends to help him out. He is also very loyal to his family and friends.
5. He has a strong testimony of Heavenly Father's love for His children and of the mission of Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind. It is this testimony that has guided him throughout his life. It has always been a part of him. When he was three years old, he learned the Primary song "On a Golden Springtime". This remains his favorite Primary song. He has never been afraid to share his testimony or stand up for what he believes is right. This testimony is what has led him to put his "life on hold" to serve a mission for the LDS Church in Montana. While there, he has strived to teach people that we are all brothers and sisters and that the true love of Christ is shown when we serve one another.