Thursday, April 2, 2009

The past revisited

As you know my fourth grandchild will be along in the fall. The mama is seeing the same midwife that delivered her first, five and a half years ago.

I taught childbirth classes, as did S2, many years ago. I had all of my children outside of the hospital, attended by a licensed midwife. All were very easy unmedicated births. As a teacher (this was before there were support people with the label "Douala") I was invited to many of my students deliveries; some at home and some in the hospitals. I did not cater exclusively to home births.

I have been blessed to be at the births of all of my grandchildren. At this moment I am reliving the trauma of the birth of my first grandchild. She is apparently well remembered by the midwife, and likely by any staff that are still working at the hospital. The labor was pretty standard, but my daughter had some blood pressure issues so an IV was started and pain meds given as she was not allowed to be up and walking. yada,yada,yada. Any way, when the baby was born she did not breathe. She was not blue, but she didn't even try to breathe. I was sent over to the isolette so that I could assure the mama that all was well. All was NOT well. This baby would not breathe. In the whirlwind of events that began to occur I somehow stepped off the crazy roller coaster and everything began to go in slow motion. The two minute check time came, but this baby was still not breathing, and was still not blue. The cord was cut immediately when the midwife realized the kid wasn't doing well, so she was getting no oxygen. Five minutes went by, and she still was too quiet. The code cart was outside the door and equipment was being passed thru the curtain. I quietly began to plan the funeral for my first grand baby. After 7 full minutes she finally took her first breath. So...apparently this delivery ended up going before the Board of Review. The midwife kept telling the nurses to call a code and they didn't do it; the baby wasn't blue. I remember the midwife asking for the code to be called and I remember resuscitation equipment being passed thru the curtain and I made an assumption it was called. A part of me is glad that it happened the way it did, as I am sure that many more people would have been called into the room and I would have been forced out of my front row "seat" and certainly could not have hidden my pain and worry from my daughter. Being it was the first baby, I don't think they really understood the gravity of the situation. I did. Once she took that breath, all was good. She was not taken away, which she likely would have, had the code been officially called. Because time stood still for me I really did not understand how much time had really elapsed until the next morning when a very stressed midwife came to check up on the mom and baby. I remember asking how it was possible that a baby could go for seven full minutes and she could not answer. She still cannot.

Luckily there are no problems that can be detected so far.

This time is different. My daughter is much healthier and in great physical shape. She has promised me that they will be taking classes this time, so the dad will have a better idea of what is going on and I won't have to argue about whether his wife is in labor (which is a long story that is best left buried). It is difficult to try to be Dad's coach, Mom's coach, mother of the Mom-to-be, and soon-to-be grandma.

I think it will be a good thing to replace those scary memories. I had successfully buried the memories, since the baby is doing just fine. I must admit that I again have the little catch in my throat. I think that was the scariest thing I have ever gone through. How do I let that go? How can I permanently erase those memories? I really cannot find any good that has come of that whole experience. Truly. I have been on the code team at the hospital where I worked. I've been on codes that went well, and codes that didn't go well. I have very few memories that haunt me now. I learned to let them go. Perhaps I should have spent more time with the medical staff back then so that I could work through this.

I think I need to spend some time with the grand kids. I need to hold them. I need to just feel their "life." I also am glad for the choices that my children have made for the deliveries of my grandchildren. I never really thought I could love anyone as strongly as I have loved my babies. I was wrong.

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