Our Birth Story: Part Five
This is part five of the story of the birth of our daughter.
Excited, I leave recovery and start toward the waiting room where I know my in-laws are. I decide against it because I figure my wife would want to share this moment with them. (Thankfully, otherwise they would have seen my daughter before my wife.)
Eventually they wheel my wife in. She looks weak and exhausted, and I choke back tears. I pass my daughter to her Mommy, and watch as my wife looks at my daughter for the first time. It is 11:45pm; over an hour since my daughter had been born. Then, the nurse does the whole weighing and measuring thing while I take some pictures. And finally, my wife gets to put my daughter on the breast (something she had wanted to do as soon as she was born). I heave a sigh of relief and offer to go get my wife’s family from the waiting room.
I go and collect my MIL from the waiting room (only one visitor at a time in recovery) and rush off to the pay phones to call my parents and tell them the news. Three successive calls go straight to voicemail (they have call waiting). I would later learn that my mother fell asleep with the cordless phone beside her and rolled over on it, pressing the “talk” button and effectively taking it off the hook. I call both my sisters and tell them the news, asking them to continue trying to call my parents. My younger sister would reach them shortly after 2am.
After my in-laws leave they wheel us to a ward (4 bed) room. I try to explain that we asked for a private room, or failing that a semi-private. I am told this is the only bed they have. It is cramped and dark (because, after all, it is after midnight by this point). The night nurse comes in and takes my daughter away. The panic in my wife’s eyes tells me I should follow the baby and not worry about my wife. I follow them to the little room where they do the assessments (you know: prick the heel to check blood sugar, test the grab reflex, weigh them, etc). When they lift her and try to turn her to her stomach (to make sure she has the reflex/strength to turn her head to the side and not, you know, suffocate herself) my daughter puts her arms out; stiff. She won’t lie on her tummy and instead does a push-up. The nurse looks at me and says, “You know, I’ve been doing this twenty years, and your daughter is the only one I have seen do this.”
I follow the nurse back to the room and am told that I have to go now. I express concern, but they tell me that I cannot stay in a ward room; it would not be fair to the other mothers. I kiss them both (my wife and daughter, not the nurse) and leave.
Read Part Six
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