A few of my healthcare experiences happened as I waited for the grand entrance of my first baby, scheduled to arrive late January 1988.
As a wife and soon to be new mother, it was the happiest of times. As a daughter it was challenging times because of a mother with cancer in its seventh year. Those years spent with Mom at oncology appointments, emergency room visits and hospitalizations definitely prepared me for the many healthcare obstacles I faced.
Due to my Mom’s declining health, I felt the limitations held inside joyful anticipation when multiple life altering situations are happening at once. The days my Mom prayed to live long enough to see me walk down the aisle were now being replaced by new prayers for another gifted opportunity. To hold another grandchild and see one more of her children have a child of their own. I understand her deep desires much better now.
My baby was born January 18, 1988 making that particular day a one of a kind, very special day. The pediatrician’s words of, “it’s going to be a couple weeks yet”, which he spoke to me a few days prior, made it an unexpected and welcomed early birth date miracle.
My birthing experience was dramatically altered by a nurse working the early evening shift on 1-18-88. My water had broke the day before and trickled without any contractions. I was admitted to the hospital that evening. In the morning with no sign of contractions, a medication drip was started. That produced immediate and intense labor contractions that continued for ten hours with only fifty percent progress.
When that evening nurse came on duty, discussions and preparations for a cesarean birth were already underway. I’ll never forget the moment she came face to face with me and said, “Theresa, you are not having a c-section”. Minute by minute she instructed me and provided laboring techniques that worked! At 10p.m., weighing 6 pounds 12 ounces, a princess was born - without surgery.
Unfortunately, I have never spoken to that nurse again. Her skill changed the whole experience. Not only on that birth date but in the days and months that followed. Her commitment and conviction impacted both my medical and human experience. If I had the chance, I would tell her without a cesarean birth, I had the energy to care for baby Jessica and for my seriously ill Mom. Both things equally important to me and were made possible by her outstanding labor and delivery expertise.
Those were extremely happy times, despite the challenging ones mixed in. I can recall the look of awe and wonder on my Mom’s face as she held baby Jessica for the first time. I hope I have that same look every time I see that baby’s face. Even now, twenty four years later.
Happy Birthday Jessica! Be The Change girl,
Be The Change!