Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, September 19, 2003

There are things I am passionate about. Usually, I know what those things are. But sometimes, the passion surprises me anyway.

The other night, I'm talking to the mom of one of E's friends, a woman I really like. She's seven months along with her second child. I ask her where she's delivering, and she gives me the name of a local hospital, the same one I delivered E at. And suddenly, there I am, in her face, doing just the sort of thing I need to write a rant about other moms doing to me--shoving their issues into my parenting. And yet. And yet. And yet I can't stop myself.

I tried to do it gently. I told her, "This is really a hot-button issue with me. I know the hospital probably told you that it doesn't have a level IV NICU, but I need to tell you about E's birth, so that you understand what that means."

I don't know if anyone is reading this who doesn't know what happened when E was born--I actually don't even know if anyone is reading this at all--so let me briefly fill you in. E was delivered via c-section after a fairly long labor during which really thick meconium was detected in my waters when they were broken, during which I stayed at 6 cm for more than six hours, during which I developed a fever, during which her heartrate began doing the typical decel thing. (I'll never forget my ob coming to me and holding my hand and saying, "If it were any one of these things, I'd give it more time. But with all four of these signs together, I really think this is the best thing to do.") An hour later, in a room full of people (including a few neonatologists), out came my green-tinged baby. "It's a poopy girl!" someone exclaimed. They started suctioning her, then bagging her. Her crying sounded weird, though--like a kitten mewing--and they decided she needed the support of a NICU. Which would have been fine, had the hospital HAD a NICU. It didn't. And so, 45 minutes after her birth, my baby was taken by ambulance from the hospital where I was recovering, to one just a few miles away. It was easily the worst experience of my life. Just 36 horrific hours later, I insisted on being discharged so that I could go hold my baby for the first time. As we left the hospital, where I had gotten some of the most compassionate and solid care I've ever experienced in my life, I turned to Baroy and said, "I'll never have another baby there again."

So I explained this to E's friend's mom, as gently as I could. I told her that there was nothing to indicate that E's birth would 'go bad.' I told her that I couldn't live with myself if I didn't make sure she knew what the 'consequences' are of having a baby in that sort of hospital. I told her that if I were her, I'd try and find out if the baby could be delivered at another local hospital where there IS a NICU.

I know I scared her, probably made her uncomfortable. She may even have been annoyed that I was dumping this on her at this time. I felt badly about it. And yet. There was no other choice. I'd hate myself if I found myself visiting her like my friends visited me, sobbing during my first 'breastfeeding' experience with an industrial-grade pump.

But now, my job is done. And the truth is, if someone had told me what I told her before I had E, I would probably have ignored them--or tried to--assuming that the chances were one in a thousand of such a thing happening to me. Except it did. And it is the one thing about E's birth that I would do over, if I had it to do over again.

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