Our Birth Story: Part Four
They call me over to the assessment table (where they are giving her an apgar of 9) and encourage me to come see her (through the throngs of people all crowded around my little girl). I approach, and as I wander about the space in a confused daze I turn. Toward the operating table. And I see something I will never forget. You know those scenes you see on TLC of a surgery, where the person is open and you see things inside them? Those scenes that most people cringe and quickly flip the channel as soon as they realize what they are looking at? I saw my wife like that.
I recoil back. I keep saying to myself, “I did not need that. I did not need to see that.” A nurse grabs my shoulders and guides me to a stool where I can see neither my wife nor my daughter. The anesthesiologist comes over to hold me down as I am insisting on getting up. The nurse tells another that I am very pale. My wife hears a nurse call over the intercom, “Can I get a nurse for Dad here? He isn’t doing too well.”
My wife asks what is going on. No one will tell her anything. I cannot hear her over the nurse yelling at me.
I am arguing with the nurses and anesthesiologist that I am fine. I was stunned, I was scared, but I am no longer a concern. They refuse to believe me. They want me to leave. I refuse to leave my wife and child. As I sit there I hear the following…
Voice #1: one, two, three, four, five
Voice #2: one, two, three, four, five
loud clang of metal
This is repeated a couple more times before it dawns on me what they are doing: they are counting clamps or instruments or whatever and making sure they haven’t left any in my wife. I am too much in shock to cry at this point.
Finally, I negotiate the right to hold my daughter. They insist that I remain seated. At this point my wife calls out to me, and I tell her I am OK, and that the baby is beautiful (all I can see was her face as she is wrapped in like five blankets). Eventually they allow me to take my daughter into recovery to wait for my wife. I would later learn that no one showed the baby to my wife, and that the first time she saw my daughter was in recovery afterwards.
Check back tomorrow for Part Five
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