31.Oct.2014 A Haunting Birth

This is a true story. I have waited a couple of years to tell it to protect the privacy of those involved.

Bewarned! Nothing has frightened me more than this birth story.

One evening a few years ago, I was up at the hospital. We had transferred for some pain relief after a very, very long labor. My client and her husband were sleeping away now that the epidural had taken effect. As I was in need of exercise, I wandered the hospital halls.

Eventually I stopped, as we all do, in front the nursery window. The babies were cute and new. Also at the window was a middle-aged woman. We struck up a conversation.

She was at the hospital supporting her brother and his wife in their first labor. She herself had had all three of her babies at our hospital. Her sister-in-law was trying natural birth. Imagine! Who would ever want that? She loved her epidurals and, in fact, her third birth was her best. She felt nothing! And when she says she felt nothing, she felt nothing.

She was sitting in her labor bed, chatting with the very brother who would become a father today, when her nurse came in the room. “Nothing to worry about. We just need to adjust the fetal heart monitor. The baby has moved and we are no longer able to trace the heart beat.” The nurse moved the transducer from one part of the belly to another. She asked the woman to turn to her right side. She asked the woman to turn to her left side. Nothing. “Please don’t worry. I’m new here. Let me get an experienced nurse in here and she will get you all set up.”

A few minutes later the woman’s original nurse entered with an older nurse at her side. They moved the transducer from one part of the belly to another part. They asked the woman to turn to her right side. They asked the woman to turn to her left side. Nothing.

The experienced nurse asked if she could do a vaginal exam. Perhaps if she felt the baby’s head, she would have a better idea of where to put the heart rate monitor.

She picked up the sheet. There between its mother’s legs, was the baby.

Alone. Unnoticed.

For at least seven minutes.

The woman I was talking with at the nursery window was so proud of her birth. She hadn’t even noticed when her baby was born. It was that easy.

I, however, have been haunted by this birth story.

What does it do to a child to be born alone? What happens to a spirit when even your mother doesn’t notice your arrival? What kind of person do you become if you enter the world unnoticed?

Scary!

Very Scary!

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