The Biggest and Middlest were born at a hospital with one of the best maternity wards in our area. Not just state of the art, the rooms were comfy and pretty and private. My obstetricians experienced and from a well respected group. And that is what was paid for. In 1994 the company The SeaMonkey worked for went under and we decided to take a risk and start our own. It paid off in the end but in then beginning, we were in tight circumstances and uninsured. Without making this story longer, yes I knew how babies were made but still unexpectedly became pregnant again when Mid was about 13 months old. I had to make some changes. For prenatal care I learned to make use of a clinic that would work with our income and the birth would have to be at an associated teaching hospital that would do the same. No frills, no familiar obstetrician, no warm fuzzies. It was a deeply stressful time in our lives. But that was ok. I prayed and I wished and sometimes wonder if possibly I Willed another girl. This was fulfilled. I was having another daughter.
I was a month away from turning thirty and had two kids already so when the pain came I knew what was up. So we packed up and headed out about 5 PM. It being labor day weekend I figured they would be prepared ; ) After they checked me and told me to go back home I was pretty annoyed. But, they didn't seem to think it was time yet. I usually would dilate very slowly and then very suddenly-wide open. I also had a tendency to develop inconsistent double contractions that didn't really even out. I would just suddenly be ready to go. I told them this but they just nodded. I went home and laid in bed in agony until my water broke and I knew they couldn't shuffle me off. When I arrived, as always the first thing I made clear was that I wanted an epidural. I have a credit card. I'll pay for it now. Just get it. I told this to every person I came in contact with and they all nodded, mmm hmmm, ok. And I waited. I was there an hour and dilating. My epidural? Mmm Hmm, she'll be here. Two hours? We just called because you're getting close. You what? Don't worry. Needless to say when the anesthesiologist showed up I was having hard contractions and couldn't stay in place. And she said, " I can't do this if you can't stay still. Then she said to the nurse in charge, "We can't do it at this late stage, she won't be still." Like I wasn't even there and marched out. Which is when the 'Nurse in Charge' said, "You should have said something sooner.." And I said
While I waited the 'nurse in charge' bustled about my room. A tall young woman in her twenties, she was loud, bossy, falsely cheery and condescending and extremely curt with the other nurse in the room, A short, older woman with caramel skin, wise dark eyes and a rich island accent, though she was very compassionate with the SeaMonkey. Now the poor SeaMonkey wasn't much help on this trip. He was used to me being all numb and happy and even though we took Lamaze classes all three times, he was lost. I know many people endure natural childbirth with grace and pride. I am not one of them. It was horrifying and even though I was breathing it didn't help. "Don't Scream", bossed the charge nurse, "You need to stop that screaming", she admonished, standing at the foot of the bed looking exasperated. I told The SeaMonkey, "if she doesn't shut up I'm going to slap her." He said, she's just doing her job, she's trying to help." I said,
Which was when the obstetrician was hurried in.. I assume she was finished with medical school but I'm not sure. She looked about 20 and she was very sweet, and pretty, tucking her long brown ponytail under her cap, and reassuring, at least she seemed to know where everything was. The SeaMonkey was back up helping and with him on one side and my hand holding angel on the other, I finally pushed and I had a baby. The sweet young doctor was ready, hands in place and caught my little shooting star firmly in her grip. She didn't lift her up right away but I could see the doctors smile as she was turning her around head up to look in her face , "a girl" and then without any prompting my Littlest took her first gasping breath of life..and at the moment I hemorrhaged. The blood and fluid flowed down into the face and mouth of my baby girl as she sucked in her first breath of life, and she drowned. The first breath was the last. She stopped breathing. They cut the umbilical cord rapidly and rushed her a table and began trying to revive her. The pediatric emergency team was called in. There are no words to describe the feeling of helplessness. No way to describe seeing the obstetrician back away from the table as pediatrics took over, her hand held against her mouth, her eyes terrified as she turned to me and said, "I'm so sorry." The SeaMonkey and I were frozen in shock watching the team work over her tiny body, pumping air into her lungs. All I could see was the top curve of her forehead..and her little calves and feet, still as a doll, lifeless. It was only minutes but felt like infinity, while the obstetrician returned to finish delivering the placenta with the contractions still waving through me to finish the job. The 'nurse in charge' was busy being important somewhere but the little nurse remained by my side, holding tight to my hand, her eyes closed. When I looked her way I knew she prayed and I continued to cling to that anchor.
Finally I saw the shoulders of the pediatric team relax, an unheard but deeply felt sigh of relief in the room. She was breathing. She would have to be observed because of the fluid that had been aspirated but I could hold her just for a few moments before they took her away. Her eyes were round and dark squinting up at me. I tried to nurse her a bit as I had the others, gently wiping at flecks of dried blood in the corners of her mouth. but the 'nurse in charge' hovered expectantly, ready to snatch her back and send her to the nursery for whatever it was they still had to do, I'm still not sure. But I relinquished her to their care. The nurses began the cleanup process. With annoyance I heard the 'charge nurse' snottily and loudly reprimanding the older nurse about something with the paperwork. The older women stood quietly listening and nodded her head. When she looked my way again, a tinge of embarrassment on her face I was furious. I don't know how I would have made it that day without her. Someone arrived to wheel me to my room and suddenly it was just too much. I sat in the chair and my throat constricted. I had held it together all the way through. I burst into tears. I couldn't stop the stream from my eyes. I was so exhausted I didn't even lift my hand to wipe them away, letting them flow across my chest and seep into my hospital gown. As I passed the older nurse I told her thank you, so much, and The Seamonkey thanked her too. The 'nurse in charge' was ready, smiling at the door, to say you're welcome and wave goodbye. When she saw my tears, she asked in a peppy voice full of surprise and concern, "Oh! What's wrong?" What's.Wrong. ?
I lay in a gray blue cubicle of a double room, curtained off. I can't recall the actually color of the curtain but in my mind it is black. I lay alone in a black hole that suited my mood perfectly. The SeaMonkey was sent home to the other girls. They kept her in observation for several hours, so I lay in my pit of frustration, fear and sadness. I still didn't know how she was doing or what damage this could have done to her. I kept asking when she would be brought in. I breast feed, I told them. Should she be going without this long? I was patted and condescended to some more. They wouldn't give me details. The assumption seemed to be that if you were there because of financial reasons, you were obviously ignorant and uneducated and wouldn't understand anyway so it was best to keep it simple and keep you in the dark so you wouldn't kick up a fuss. But finally, they brought me My Littlest.
And she was my Littlest. 7lb.8oz. The other girls had been over 8 lbs. Her head was round and what little hair there was downy white. Oh look! I got a blonde this time! But her eyes were deep deep gray and foretold the brown eyes to come. When she looked up at me, instead of helplessness and newness in her eyes I thought I saw knowledge. I felt I looked into full and complete comprehension. A disconcerting wisdom in her face that threw me off balance. An old soul? Did I believe in such things? I didn't know. But from that moment I recognized and watched the strength. The independence, the inner compass automatically guiding right and wrong. I saw indomitable will and a sense of purpose that self directed and did not falter. I saw a Star. Shining with Power from within. Shining with Promise. Shining with Purpose. With Destiny. With Love and Empathy. Vulnerability laced With Strength
My Littlest has turned Seventeen. When I look in her eyes I see a Star. Bright with Promise. Shining with Purpose, with Power, with Destiny, with Love and Empathy, with Strength. I remember the day she was born with mixed feelings. A frightening day. A miraculous one. And I have to ponder how she may have been affected by these moments of her birth. Are these things possible? Could the moment of life being snatched away have returned a soul with deeper strength and created a fighter? As I lay there holding the hand of the nurse and pulling my strength and calm from her, could the wisdom of years and perseverance have seeped through my skin and into my child, giving her a sense of self and maturity way beyond her years? And most of all...could all of the F words I swallowed during labor have passed through the bloodstream and circulated within her for years only to burst out of her mouth in unexpected public explosions as a teenager? As you can find HERE and HERE. ; )
But I can overlook that because she is a great kid in every other way.
Happy Birthday to My Star Light.
Shine On. You have a purpose in this world.
To meet your destiny head on..... and apparently tell it where to go. ; )
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