My worst labor and delivery were not mine at all. Like a dear friend recently told me, “Childbirth is a whole different thing when it’s your baby doin’ the birthin’.” My daughter had labor induced because her first baby was not arriving when expected. I think she was a couple of weeks late when the decision was made to induce her.
We arrived at the hospital along with my daughter’s husband about 6:00 a.m. Things went pretty routinely for a lot of hours. It was hard to watch my girl panting and sweating with contractions, and I was relieved when she finally accepted an epidural. The first loud vocalization I heard was when the doctor put in the needle for the anesthetic. She yelped and then began apologizing for crying out. By this time she was dilated to about eight.
I wondered at her strength and her ability to deal with all of this. I remember yelling and carrying on during my first labor, to the point that one of the nurses encouraged me to quiet down. In response to her directive, I promptly vomited all over her. (Tell me how to act when I’m in labor, will you!) In contrast, my daughter was stoic and determined. She had been like that from childhood. Pain, discomfort, illness couldn’t stop her. She went to her Junior Prom with a fever of 103 degrees and a raging strep throat. I have also know her to have brutal medical procedures and to say “Oh it wasn’t that bad.” She’s a trooper!
About fourteen hours since our arrival at the hospital had passed when the doctor came in and seemed concerned about something on the monitor. Apparently the baby’s respirations were not right so they decided to do a “Stat” C section on her. The nurse warned me calmly that things were going to go really fast. I waited with her until they took her into the operating room, where her husband accompanied her for the delivery. Her only concern was that her baby would be okay. My only concern was that My Baby would be okay.
I went to the chapel and prayed. I’m not religious, but I prayed. I went back up to the waiting room. As soon as I got back, my daughter’s husband walked to the window with the most beautiful bundle I’ve ever seen in his arms. He pulled back the wrapping so that we could see the baby was indeed a boy! This was the best surprise of my life!
My daughter was fine. Four days after delivering her son, she went to a recruiting session with United Airlines. She’s something!