I don’t want to panic anyone, but the clock is ticking. I’m sighing a huge sigh of relief because I managed to get everything shipped off to my family by the postal suggested date of December 10. That includes birthday gifts for my twin granddaughters, their birthday was on the 10th. My eldest daughter’s birthday is today, in fact. Writing this blog takes me back to when she was born. Denny was in the Marine Corps and had been transferred from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to the Marine Corps Air Station in Southern California. Because there was no hospital on base I was assigned a civilian doctor who took military patients. I was young, in a new place, and Denny was being shot off to parts unknown at a moment’s notice. Our first baby was due around Christmas.
I didn’t like the doctor. He was gruff and smoked cigars that made me sick. He wasn’t an OB/Gyn—the Marine Corps didn’t have one on the roster.
I started labor on the 18th. My water broke but I wasn’t making progress. The doctor said I should walk up and down the halls of the hospital. The nice thing—it was a fairly new hospital and the staff was compassionate. I kept laboring to no avail. Early on the 19th the doctor decided to give me a shot of Oxytocin because he wanted to speed up my labor so he could go on vacation. Late that day he ordered a second dose. I can tell you still, the pain was terrific. Thankfully Denny flew in from Japan.
By the 20th I wasn’t doing well, although a nurse said I’d made a little progress. The doctor ordered me set up for delivery. I’m not sure what happened after we all arrived in the delivery room, sans Denny. (Back then they didn’t allow husbands at a birth.)
The doctor said he’d use forceps. I don’t know what he did, but I remember feeling faint. I remember hearing a nurse say she was losing fetal heart tone and my blood pressure was thready. I’d been a medical record technician and medical transcriptionist, so in some part of my mind I knew it wasn’t going well. Then the doctor said, “I can’t deliver this woman.” And he didn’t.
I later learned in bits and pieces that he literally threw up his hands and walked out of the delivery room. One nurse stepped into the hall and luckily snagged a well-known OB/Gyn who was sauntering past. He came in, took a look, said: “they’ve let this go too long to do a c-section, but put this woman out, I’ll have scrub up and turn this baby ASAP.”
And he did. Kelly was a footling breech with the cord wrapped around her neck once. Every contraction jerked her up instead of letting her head down the birth canal.
What I know is the doctor who delivered her didn’t get paid a cent. The military had already paid an up-front charge to the derelict doctor. The good man said he didn’t want anything, and to just tell me Merry Christmas, and enjoy my miracle baby.
A nurse relayed all of this before I was allowed to go home on Christmas morning. Denny had found time to put up a tree in our little mobile home; a 3 ft silver tree that Kelly still has, though it’s seen a lot of miles.
In fact, neither Denny nor I were savvy enough to sue that doctor. We felt blessed to have our first baby, who on this December 20th is a beautiful, talented, kind woman, and a wonderful mother herself.
There were some good things that happened back then. She was the 100th baby born in the hospital. They gave us a photograph plan along with a gorgeous leather album. And because they listed her birth in the local paper, including her name, Kelly Fox, the radio station in the area with call letters KFOX, swooped in and gave us a complete layette, a convertible stroller and a lot of other gifts. I haven’t thought about this in a long time. But I continue to believe that Christmastime is a season of miracles.
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful, touching, personal story. I too believe in the miracles of Christmas. As I read this, having had three children of my own, I didn't like where it was heading and worried. I'm glad everything turned out well in the end with your labor, and the delivery of your daughter.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful ending to a story that could have gone either way. She is a miracle baby, the best present you and Denny could have given each other. And cheers for doctor-heroes. Thank God that doc didn't worry about getting sued for stepping into a difficult delivery like yours. Merry Christmas, Roz. May the new year shine brightly for you and your family..ReplyDelete
Roz, this post made my eyes tear up because it was reminiscent of what I went through with my first born...and I was in a regular hospital with an OB/GYN, but she was too busy to handle my failure to progress properly. Thank God for doctors who are good and gifted at what they do. I'm so glad a miracle came your way at Kelly's birth. And I love the bit about the KFOX station ;).ReplyDelete
I forgot to add that my first born is now 16.Delete
Hi all. I got up early to text Kelly a happy birthday. She tells me Michigan's snow has turned to ice. (Jody, you probably are in the throes of that too.) Maybe we should visit Linda in sunny Florida. I started to go out for my morning walk and discovered it's dark and raining. I need to dig up an umbrella. That's something I rarely need in Tucson.ReplyDelete
Thanks you all for your comments. Rula, I'm sorry you had a bad experience too. Good doctors are a godsend. I wish for you a lovely day.
What a story! Thank God everything turned out for the best. I believe that God puts people in the right place at the right time. Thankfully that doctor was there to deliver your sweet girl. I hope you have a wonderful holiday! happy birthday to your daughter :)ReplyDelete
Roz, sharing your story is a blessing to us all.ReplyDelete
I have tears in my eyes after reading about the miracle of Kelly! It was such a terrifying, yet blessed time. God was certainly there because he sent that wise and caring to save your lives. Thank you for that beautiful story. Merry Christmas :-)ReplyDelete
Roz, that's a beautiful memory. I have an idea of the pain you suffered, as my first labor was similar, with that awful Oxytocin creating none-stop contractions for hours and hours and hours. My doc had to use forceps too, and I emerged with a fever, cracked tailbone, really bad tearing...and a beautiful baby girl! A miracle, indeed! Merry Christmas Roz--hope to see you in 2014! - CJ CarmichaelReplyDelete
Carla, it's good we have the capacity as mothers to forget or put aside all the trauma. I know you have more than one beautiful daughter and so do I. Have happy holidays.Delete
Wow, Roz! What a story - complete with the angel-doctor sent from heaven, the comic relief of the KFOX thing - that's so cute! - and the happy ending - you and Denny and Kelly, all together on Christmas Day with your little silver tree. All I can say after listening to all the birthing stories here, is "Thank God for adoption! "ReplyDelete
Isn't it wonderful that angels find us when we need them most. The doctor showing up when he was desperately needed reminds me that the angels have always been here when I need them.So glad you and your daughter lived to tell the story--the world is a happier place because you are in it.ReplyDelete
Beautiful story Roz! I am one of the fortunate ones where childbirth was okay, so I marvel over the strength of women such as yourself who labor so long with complications. What a miracle baby she was and a miracle doctor who stepped in:)ReplyDelete
It's been a long time since I looked back on that time. I think when you're going through any traumatic event a person tends to just take a step at a time to get through it. After my experience I wasn't surprised to learn that we in the U.S. don't have as good a record of safe births as we should have.ReplyDelete
Oh, Roz, that's a lovely story! (At least most of it.)ReplyDelete
And as a mother who also welcomed my own firstborn on December 20, I'm tickled at knowing you share the joy of remembering your blessed event every time you see the baby in a Nativity creche.
I smiled, laughed, chuckled through your entire story, comparing it to what I went through when giving birth. I can't believe you went on for days after your water broke. So happy everything turned out okay. What a wonderful Christmas story.ReplyDelete
I failed to mention how my stomach knotted at all the horror you went through. I prefer to think of the positive and how wonderful everything turned out.Delete
What a horror story, Roz! I'm glad the ending was happy, and you ended up with a beautiful baby girl. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
I can see you found your calling as a writer. You took a scary, personal story and made it an inspiring story to read.
Laurie, Marion, Shelley and Laura, Thanks for taking time during this busiest of seasons to drop by the blog. I so rarely write personal stuff, but since today was Kelly's birthday it made me reflect back and count my blessings. I do believe that all things happen because they're supposed to be. Blessings everyone.ReplyDelete
Roz, happy birthday to your oldest! What a hair-raising experience, but at least you got a beautiful daughter out of it. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete