Three years ago today I was in the hospital trying to have a baby. Hooked up to pitocin? Check. My ob-gyn, nurses, YOUR ob-gyn and nurses, the janitors, receptionists, other patients all coming by to stick their hand up my throat via my jay-jay to “check on my progress.” Check.
After nearly 2 days of being made into a hand puppet and pin-cushion, I obviously wasn’t progressing. At all. “I’ve never felt a cervix this weird, ” my ob said, his face scrunched in confusion and fascination. “It feels like… fishy…. And it hasn’t changed in like… 24 hours.” Yeah. It’s charming how he used the word fishy in reference to my crotch. Also charming how I was hooked up to labor inducing drugs for MORE THAN 24 HOURS. My ob suggested a c-section. I thank God every day for my nurse Beth.
Karma had sent her to me twice: once 11 months ago when we’d lost our baby and then that day, when we were happily awaiting the arrival of Olivia. Eleven months ago when we’d lost April she had said, “They’re going to try to talk you into leaving before your time is up. Don’t let them. We don’t need the room.” She looked into my swollen eyes and said, “You’ve had a baby. Just like most of the women on this ward. You deserve everything they do.” This time she looked into my tired eyes and said, “He’s going to push for a C-section. Don’t let him if you truly don’t want one. Your baby is fine and she isn’t due for another week, and obviously she has NO plans to come out today. You’re healthy. You’re exhausted and hungry and vulnerable, and it’s going to be easy to say yes, just to get it over with, but it’s not what you want and it’s not what’s best for you and your baby.”
Both times Beth gave me what I needed to get through another minute; the validation that sweet, quiet, tiny April was indeed as important as Jack and I knew she was, and the support to do what was best for Olivia. Both times because of her I held firm and did what was best for me. I stayed and received the care I deserved with baby April, and this time, I checked out, had a fine chicken dinner and went home to be with my family and give baby Olivia the extra week she obviously felt she needed.
Thank you Beth.