Thursday, January 6, 2011

God of the Impossible - Part Two

We had no health insurance when I got pregnant with Daniel. Fortunately, there was a program through a local hospital where a one-time fee covered all prenatal visits and the delivery. The drawback was that most, if not all,of the doctors were interns and I rarely saw the same one twice when I would go for my check-ups. I was substantially past my due date when I finally went into labor and was admitted to the the hospital, but if anyone thought it a concern, it certainly wasn't communicated to me.

When I dilated from two to four centimeters within an an hour, a cheerful nurse assured me that mine was likely to be a short labor; how I wished she had been right! Seven hours later, I was still at four centimeters with contractions so intense that I was passing out between each one. In my delirium, I vaguely recall the comings and goings of nurses and interns, but no one seemed able to make a judgment call on what should be done. Guessing from the time of Daniel's birth, around 8:00 a.m., a doctor I had never seen before entered the room, took one look at the situation, and began barking orders that lit a fire under the others in attendance. All I remember hearing her say was, "You have fifteen minutes to get that baby out of there!"

A hastily administered epidural which left my legs paralyzed for hours after the delivery thankfully relieved the monstrous pain of contractions, and I was hurriedly wheeled into the operating room. To my immense surprise and immediate comfort, there appeared a friend of mine from high school, a nurse, who held my hand and spoke words of reassurance during the entire ordeal and let me know what a beautiful baby boy, albeit, a bit "over-cooked", I had had when it was all said and done.

Back in the '80s, the standard length of stay in the hospital after a C-section was five days. In all that time, I was visited and examined by many of the interns whom I recognized from various check-ups, but though I waited with great anticipation to meet and thank the doctor who got the ball rolling in the delivery room, she never showed up. I didn't even know her name (and don't know why I didn't think to ask someone) until I saw her signature on Daniel's birth certificate. Scrawled in a neat cursive hand that could have belonged to the most meticulous of fifth graders was: Hannah Smith, M.D. While at the time I thought this most peculiar as doctors are notorious for sloppy writing, I didn't dwell on it then. After all, I had a brand new, 9 lbs. 4 oz. bundle of joy with a voracious appetite to care for and I was beside myself, awed by the wonder and responsibility of motherhood.

Part 3 - January 7, 2011 Stay tuned!

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