Tale of two births

October 13, 212

I have two children, and their birth stories couldn’t be more different.  Only the final outcome was thankfully the same – a healthy baby.

My first son was born in the urban Midwest.  I have since moved back to my small Western hometown.

The OB clinic I chose six years ago was lauded as one of the best in the area.  I shudder to think what the worst were like. 

At each prenatal visit I saw a different doctor, none of who seemed to have read my chart from the previous visit.

I struggled with various infections throughout my pregnancy, and the very last week I came down with what can only be described as monster influenza. 

My plan had been to work right up until the baby came.  But I couldn’t get out of bed, much less work. 

My human resources department assured me that all I needed was a doctor’s note to start my maternity leave. 

But the clinic felt differently.  They were convinced I was trying to defraud my insurance.  Through sneezes and coughs I explained I was allowed 12 weeks of maternity leave.  Whether it started before the baby arrived or after didn’t matter.  

They called a meeting of doctors.  They circled around me, nine months pregnant and wheezing with congestion, and scolded me en masse.  But finally, after I cried as only a sick, hormonal pregnant woman can, they signed the form.

And so it went. 

Turns out the infections had been misdiagnosed and mistreated throughout my pregnancy, which complicated my delivery.  After hours of arduous labor, I heard a doctor that I barely knew whisper “C section” to the nurse in the corner. 

Exhausted and frustrated, I screamed from the delivery table, “I can hear you over there, you know!  I won’t have a C section!”  And I didn’t.

My days in the hospital following the birth were a haze of irritated nurses who treated me as though I was cramping their style. 

For my second son, I saw only one very competent, very attentive doctor. There were no infections, no complications.

When it was time to go, my husband drove the three blocks to the hospital and we were welcomed by an excited OB department. 

They hadn’t delivered a baby in three weeks.  They couldn’t wait to bring our son into the world and meet my every need.

The first time, I’d foolishly thought I’d forego pain medication.  I ended up changing my mind, but only after hours of excruciating labor.

This time, I took all the drugs they offered.  And away I went to my happy place.  I became a Disney princess. 

I opened my eyes now and then to the peaceful delivery room and wondered why I wasn’t in my castle.

The doctor barely made it for the big event.  They called her in at 10:20 a.m.  My second son was born at 10:29.

My days in the hospital were blissful.  We were the only patients in the wing.  When I buzzed a nurse, she was there within seconds. 

Craving a sandwich at 11:00 at night?  No problem.  Would I like a backrub before going to sleep?  Yes, please.

I am so grateful for both my beautiful boys.  In the end, all that matters is that they made it into the world unscathed. 

But I am so relieved to have the memories associated with my first birthing experience replaced by the efforts of the fine doctors, nurses, and staff at my small town hospital. 

There really is no place like home.

This article first appeared in the Lewistown News-Argus and the Sidney (Mont.) Herald on October 13, 2012.