Sunday, January 23, 2011


It's time for a Sunday Favorite, hosted by dear Chari, over at Happy to Design. (You can click on the button in the left sidebar to get the directions for joining the party, or go straight to today's meme there by clicking on the link at the end of my first sentence.)

This entry is from March 18, 2003. The baby born is now fifteen years old, and a lovely young woman. Lots of words, but an amazing story, I think.

I went to a baby shower at my eldest daughter's Saturday. As often happens at that sort of party, the women talked a bit about doctors, pregnancies, that sort of thing.

One of the doctors in town, who had been my youngest's OB/GYN, has been forced out of practice, apparently for incompetency. Talking about him, that daughter stated, "Well, I don't know, but I lost two babies with him, and he was great." Those miscarriages had been so emotionally painful for her it was both a shock and a relief to hear her talk so matter-of-factly about them.

I'm remembering how, I think during the first Revels show she was in, the cast was circled up on stage before the house was opened, all of us gathering and joining our energies in preparation for the performance. One of the cast members suggested, since Revels is all about the cycle of life and death, light and dark, that we share the names of those loved ones who'd died during the year, and honor them. It seemed like a loving thing to do, as several cast members had lost friends or parents that year. But suddenly I realized December had turned and practically run from the stage. I followed her to the women's dressing room and found her standing alone, sobbing.

"December. December, what is it, baby?" I asked.

"Mom, I lost two babies this year, and they didn't even have names! I can't even say I lost them, because they didn't even get to have names!"

I don't know what I said. Something. I just remember holding her in my arms, my spirit weeping with and for her, until she quieted, and was able to stop crying.

I'm glad she's healing.

Then I remembered this morning what it had been like, being with her in the delivery room when Caitlin was born.

They'd induced labor. I seem to remember that something wasn't quite right about the baby, but that wasn't something December shared with us until later. She was in labor thirty-six hours, and by the wee hours of the morning was so exhausted she was falling asleep between contractions that lasted two minutes or so and were spaced only about thirty seconds apart. She was sitting up on the bed, and a contraction would start and she'd get through it as best she could, and then as it ebbed her eyes would close and her head would droop and she'd be asleep, only to lift her head with a kind of shrugging roll as the next wave of pain spread its ugly mantle over her belly.

By the time she was ready to push, and the baby was coming, we were all exhausted. I have no pain during childbirth, and watching my youngest, my own baby, my joy, suffer so much was excruciating. And then the excitement, layered over that fatigue, when she was finally able to push and we could see the baby's head crowning. I think I must have hyperventilated. I was standing next to her bed, and I looked across at her husband, who's a paramedic, and I said, with more surprise than anything else, "I'm going to pass out!"

He looked at me and said, "Yes. You are." I didn't want to cause a disruption. I went slowly to my knees, still holding the railing of the bed with one hand, and as I knelt there, the room spinning in blackness, someone put her hand on my shoulder and said softly, "You don't want to miss this." Oh, she was right! I shook off the vertigo, and rose. Just a couple more pushes and the baby was out! She had a girl!

I realized in a great sweep of fear that the nurses weren't handing her to December. They'd whisked the baby over to a little table and were working over her. I heard them urging the infant, "Come on, baby. Breathe. Breathe!" I was horrified. December didn't know what was happening. I stood there, holding her hand, listening to the nurses, listening to my daughter. She said, "I have a daughter, mommy! I have a daughter!" I looked down at her and said calmly, "Yes. Yes you do," but all I could think was "Please let it be a live one. Please let it be a live one!"

The nurses were bagging the baby--they had a bag with a mouthpiece on it, and they were squeezing it, squeezing air into her lungs. "Breathe, baby!" My eldest daughter was videotaping.

On the video you hear the little cry as Caitlin finally, finally, finally gasped air into her tiny lungs on her own. You see the room spin, the floor is on the screen, the sides of hospital furniture, and you hear December's sister and mom sobbing with relief, but you don't see the baby. There was no control left for filming.

Later, I was talking to my eldest, Melody. I asked if it had been she who'd put her hand on my shoulder and spoken to me when I almost passed out.

"No, Mom. I was too busy with the video camera."

"Oh, then it must have been one of the nurses."

Melody gave me a puzzled look. "No, Mom. There wasn't anybody near you. You were the only one on that side of the bed, except for me."

I will believe until my dying day that an angel was in that delivery room, too, and that I felt the touch of its hand, and heard its gentle words.


Franstuff said...

Thank you for sharing this touching story. Yes, I am sure there was an Angel there too. Fran

storybeader said...

golly!! I was in tears!!
I'm so glad the baby came!!

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