Thursday, November 15, 2007


After another half hour, Sheila came in with a man and introduced him as a surgeon from the big clinic in town. They had been watching together from the monitor at the nurse’s station, and wanted him to come in and see me and form an opinion of how things were going. He sat in the room for about an hour while I pushed. The baby never made it past the +2 station it had been in earlier and, in fact, seemed to move back to +1 (or maybe she never was that far). The consensus seemed to be that she was stuck on my ischial spines. After two hours of pushing, they let me try some other positions for another half hour. They manipulated the bed and I got up on my knees and tried pushing that way and I also tried lying on each side and pushing. Nothing…the c-section was on. I felt that if time wasn’t an issue because of the baby’s heart rate decelerations, that I could have pushed her out. I was feeling strong and not really tired. My biggest worry was that the epidural had been turned down too low (at my request) and that I’d feel everything. As soon as the decision was made I started asking them to get the anesthiologist back in to turn it back up. I was worried that they’d turn it up but wouldn’t take into consideration the 20 minutes that it would take for it to take effect again. There was some discussion of whether we’d like for the baby’s birth date to be that day or the next day since it was nearly midnight. We didn’t have a strong opinion on the topic. We were trying to decide if 17 was a prime number. As it turned out a good friend’s birthday was the 18th, but we didn’t know that at the time. My thought was that if it was so freaking important to get the baby out quickly, why would we wait around another 15 minutes to make it the next day? We headed to the O.R.

The O.R. was really cold and active. There were nurses and doctors and a pediatrician. Our family doctor who was supposed to take care of the baby wasn’t there. When we asked about it, everyone seemed a little embarrassed and said that the hospital wouldn’t let him be present at the birth because his infant CPR certification had expired. I wasn’t too excited about someone I’d just met taking care of the baby, but what could we do? The surgeon narrated every step of the surgery. I’m cutting the skin, the subcutaneous fat layer, etc. I could see a little in the reflection off the overhead light. He made a comment about my appendix scar and how there weren’t many adhesions. He asked who did it and when I told him that it was done in 1980 in my hometown, we found that we’d grown up near each other. The surgeon had gone to high school in El Paso, TX, about 90 miles from my hometown in New Mexico. Just a few minutes into the procedure he pulled the baby out and announced that it was a girl. There was a brief heart-stopping period of silence before she started crying. He held her up for me to see and then handed her over to the pediatrician who started suctioning her madly to try to keep her from breathing any of the meconium. Ken went over to the side of the room with the baby. I had an amazing sense of detachment. I couldn’t believe that the baby over there was OUR baby and that it was a GIRL. I kept picturing her hair, which was the first thing I’d seen of her.

I heard them announce the Apgar score, it was eight and then five minutes later it was eight again. It was a huge relief. Eight is a great score at altitude since virtually all babies are born blue due to the lack of atmospheric oxygen. They wrapped her up and stuck her in Ken’s arms. He brought her over to me. He was holding her so high up that I couldn’t really see her face. I kept asking him to hold her down where I could see her. He later told me that he had been terrified of dropping her. Dana took a couple of photographs and then they came and put the baby in a rolling bassinette and took her to the nursery to be further checked. Ken and Dana went with her to the nursery. I told Ken not to name her while he was gone. We’d originally planned on Dana staying with me in this scenario, but I wanted her to go and take pictures. I was hardly alone. I had the midwife and the surgeon closing me up and the anesthiologist, Rex, up by my head talking to me.

Finally they were finished and they wheeled me into the recovery room. They removed the epidural right away. I was surprised that I no longer needed it. I was shaking uncontrollably even though they kept putting warm blankets on me. They asked me if I’d like some something to stop the shaking. I asked if it would be a problem with nursing and they told me that it would not. I didn’t question them and said yes. I knew they’d never let me hold the baby if I didn’t quit shaking. One quick shot later and I stopped. Dana came back and told me that she’d weighed 6 pounds, 8 and ½ ounces. Ken, the baby, and a nurse came in. I asked Ken if he’d thought of a name. He said he had, Celia Francis. I’d thought of M*ira Francis. We didn’t decide right then, but I could tell that he liked M*ira. The baby was starving and the nurse helped me start feeding her. She latched right on; she appeared to know what she was doing. They wheeled us down to our room. I made a couple of phone calls to my mother and my sister. It was the only time my cell phone worked in the hospital, every other call we made in the four days we were there had to be made from Ken’s cell phone. We decided sometime that night that Mira would be her name. I made Ken write it out along with his last name so that we could see how it looked. It looked great.

Safer Toy Guide 2008