Her due date was February 15th, but she hung in there an extra two weeks just for kicks. Finally, the contractions began and by this point I. Was. Ready. I’d had my previous two children naturally without drugs and with a midwife, my preferred method, but it HURT. And I’m gonna be real honest here – I HATED the actual birthing process. Still do. SO THANKFUL I never have to do that again. P. coming late was a blessing, I was past the point of fearing the pain and at the This Needs To Happen stage.
So, whoopdeedo, February 28th rolled around and I was ready to go at last. I called my doctor to let her know I was coming in and, you guessed it, here comes the wrench in the plan, the hospital lady who sleeps next to the phone at night informed me that my doctor was in Mumbai for the weekend. And just like that, I was doctor-less and had nowhere to go.
By eleven o’clock at night my husband had driven to six maternity hospitals in the city, one by one. No one would take me. I wasn’t their patient, why should they? I get it. I can now relate to Mary in Bethlehem. No doctor in the hospital? Won’t take new patients? No room in the Inn? Been there. All I really wanted was to find a place to squeeze this baby out and a person to catch her at the other end. A stable makes perfect sense.
After several phone calls from my husband on the road informing me there was nowhere to go, I finally said, (I honestly said this) “Go to the slums, find a midwife and bring her to the house. We’ll do it here.” I was totally serious.
In the end, a family friend, who was a nurse and used to work for an OB/GYN interceded for us. My husband caught the doctor in his parking lot leaving his hospital at midnight and convinced him to admit me. This is where the fun began.
This is Part 2 of 4. Find links here for Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4.
I was admitted at midnight on a Saturday/Sunday morning. This is important because the doctor and his wife were opening a BEAUTIFUL, MAGNIFICENT, MILLION DOLLAR Maternity Hospital at noon on Sunday. I was 12 hours too early. Sigh.
Yes. It mattered.
The new hospital was not inaugurated, read – Not open until Sunday afternoon. I had to deliver in the old hospital. Now, when I say old, think India old. Think: they knew they were moving to a new facility and had allowed the old one to go to crap old. I didn’t even have a room, which was fine since I was happy to roam the crumbling halls til she came out. They did, however, place a cot in their file closet for me. So, that was nice.
Boom, when she came, she came fast. By my fourth child I knew when we were in the homestretch. I was beyond the point of words so I grabbed a passing teenage girl. Seriously, she might have been eighteen. I hoisted myself up onto the delivery table and man I REALLY wish I had some pictures. Words cannot adequately describe the filthy state of the table I delivered on.
Rusty metal table.
Thick, green plastic cover on top in use since forever.
It was ancient and stained with unimaginable things. And when I say unimaginable things I mean blood, gore, amniotic fluid, fecal matter, etc. Of course.
Let’s just say, it was crusty and I didn’t care.
This is Part 3 of 4. Find links here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.
I’m a bad pusher. I know this to be true. I’ve witnessed many a birth in my life and I’ve even delivered a baby myself – that’s a WHOLE ‘nother story. The point is, I KNOW that I am a bad pusher. I do, however, try. I shout at the top of my lungs. I say things like, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t… And then… I do. Finally.
P. was born in India at 1:24AM with an old Gujarati floor washer pushing on my tummy, a teenager playing catcher between my legs and a sweet friend by my side.
That would be a really nice ending to this story but dang it, that’s when the doctor decided to show up. Oh, Hello doctor. Thanks for not being here. Oh, now you want to come do some doctor stuff? I’m going to get graphic here and if you can’t handle it skip on down to the next paragraph. Minutes after giving birth and simultaneously tearing open my episiotomy scar (that’s a word you don’t want to Google – ew), the doctor reached his entire hand through my ravaged vagina and into my recently emptied uterus. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? He used his ARM to clear out my uterus. It. Hurt. Worse. Than. The. Actual. Birthing. Of. My. Child.
The good news is, I obviously survived to tell the tale.
In the end, I shuffled back to my file room, pale and sore but oh so happy. She was out, and in my arms. And she was perfect.
Will Smith ears and all.
The End. Or, should I say, The Beginning.
This is Part 4 of 4. Find links here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.