Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When a Baby is born so is a Mother

   Every picture tells a story. Well, THESE bear cubs tell a story of the birth of another cub - a man-cub... The most precious story in MY life - the story of our son’s birth.
   One very cold December night in the middle of an ice storm we were traveling to another city - about 100 miles away from our home in Kiev, Ukraine. I was having contractions and we were on the way to the hospital where our son was to be born. We already had called the doctor and she’d suggested for us to come as  soon as possible, considering the weather conditions: “It’s better for you to be here. If these are just a false alarm, you’ll stay in the Antenatal unit”, my doctor said on the phone.
    Long before that we had chosen this particular hospital for it was the best birthing facility in Ukraine built by USAID program. It was also one of the few hospitals in the country where the staff was not expecting bribes for every tiny maneuver: we didn’t have to bribe anybody for my husband to be present in the labor room; we were not expected to bribe the doctors to be there on time, or give something to the nurses for washing the baby or changing his diaper. Since the whole medical system here is built on corruption, this particular hospital was just an answer to our prayers. And even though it was 2 hours of driving away from us, we still had made our choice in its favor.
When we arrived at 1.00 a.m. on Friday early morning, it turned out the contractions stopped. I guess the adrenaline flow was too strong not just for my husband  who constantly checked on me on the way: “Are you sure, you are ok?! Should I stop?! Should I drive faster?!”.
     I was put into the pre-labor unit in a room with one tiny screechy bed and a doorless nightstand. This unit didn’t belong to the USAID program facility and came from the Soviet era. They had mercy on my husband and allowed him to stay for the night with me. Well, all three of us (my hubby, my big tummy and I) cuddled on a single sized bed. I barely slept. But I was warm. When in the morning my husband (my personal heater) left to get some “bare necessities” according to the hospital list (which are not considered to be bribing, by the way: trash bags, hand soap, paper towels, syringes, disposable gloves etc...), I was freezing. I was shaking and trembling and couldn’t warm up for anything. When I asked one of the nurses whether it’s possible to turn on the heater she sneered: “You’ll warm up in the labor room...” Oh, well, she was right. 
In couple of hours I was transferred to THAT long anticipated labor room and really WAS warm there. And not just because of the temperature inside  - I was running fever of a 102 degrees and really was not in the mood to go into labor. In spite of the contractions I just wanted to sleep...
    I was given a shot of fever reducer. Not long after that my water broke. The contractions became really painful, but I was determended, I was giving birth to my baby, naturally. My dearest hubby courageously bared all of my screaming and screeching and was writing down the intervals between the contractions which I very expressively "dictated" with my eyes. The political debates that were on on the room TV turned out to be a good distraction for me as well - after all I was a journalist...
    In a while I discovered new decibels of my voice that I had never expected from myself.
    The next few hours are somewhat blurry in my memory: the doctor and the midwife did not depart from me anymore. 
    About 2.30 a.m. I was told to start pushing, but I thought I already WAS... I tried and I tried and could actually feel my baby going back and forth in the birth canal. For the life of me I just had no strength to push him out. (I guess that fever completely wiped me out). 
    I was screaming: “I can’t!!! I just can’t any more!!”, and was sure I couldn’t... Then the doctor said something that sounded cruel, but has deduced me from a condition of desperate self-cherishing: "You HAVE TO. This is a little person inside of you. You HAVE to help him. You may not push and then in an hour will pull a bad baby out. And then what?!...” I was terrified. But I felt like I had no more strength left...
    There was a heap of people around me. Turned out I was the last one in the birthing unit, laboring, so all midwifes and doctors from the floor ran together toward my cries and were setting me right all together. My doctor was listening to the baby’s heart every so often and I saw, she started being nervous. I could feel the baby coming out but just didn’t have strength to help him. That scared me even more. I made a decision: whatever happens, though I shall burst, I’ll push him out. A thought about the worst came through my mind... I closed my eyes and pushed with all the strength I didn’t have... And... my son’s head came out. Everyone around me exhaled with relief. Couple more pushes and my baby came out. 
    And again I was terrified: my baby boy was burgundy-purple and didn’t make a sound.
    I guess the doctor saw the horror in my eyes and quickly said. “It’s ok. He’s breathing...” These were the most wonderful words I’ve ever heard...
    In just couple of moments our baby Daniel was squeaking on my chest. He was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. 
    My sentimental husband and I were flooding the room with tears of joy, calling newborn grandmas, crying together with them on the phone and doing our first family photo-shoot... 
    The doctor said: "Yeah, he was a little too big for you...”  “And what would you advise me to do next time in case the baby’s too big?"...  Both the doctor and the midwife laughed in unison: “This is the FIRST - when while still being sewed a women is asking about the next baby... Usually we hear “never again” or “this is the last one”...
    We laughed together. They sewed me up and left our happy TRIO to enjoy our new to all and in every respect LIFE. 
    So, this is how our Daniel Jerry was born on an icy, freezing Saturday, December the 20th, 2008 at 04.20 a.m., 6,5 lb. and 19 inches tall.
    P.S. Now, why THESE house shoes remind of that day? I bought them specificly to wear in the hospital on the day when I step into my new role of a newborn Mother. They were the ones keeping me warm THEN, and this painting brings me warm memories NOW.


Wisewife said...

I feel like it was me. I even started pushing while reading. Your story is so colorful just like your pictures.

mom in art said...

Yeah, I can't believe it's been three years since that exciting night... Time flies when you're having fun. And it's been more then fun for sure!!!! :))) Thank you, Natasha, for stopping by this Blog - it's been so lonely and abandoned for a long while. :))

Post a Comment