Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amazing Dane's Arrival

I went to Garden City, Michigan last Wednesday where Amber, my oldest granddaughter who, with her mother, lived with us for many years, was about to give birth to her second son.

She was admitted to the hospital at 8 p.m. for an overnight induction. This seemed like a good idea to me because I pictured a few hours of labor and then an epidural which would afford some good sleep to mom, dad, grandma & great grandma while she painlessly labored to the magic centimeter number that would signal an imminent birth.

Since then, I'm re-thinking overnight inductions because they can, and did for us, mean no sleep all night. This is particularly difficult for mom who will spend the following day going on total sleep deprivation with no opportunity for anything more than a ten minute catnap - if she's lucky enough to grab that. That, coupled with the exhaustion of labor and delivery, makes for a very difficult start in a brand new life experience.

She was slightly dilated when we arrived and 50% effaced. Hours later, despite a couple of different techniques designed to speed along the dilation, she was just short of 3 cm. The overall protocol seemed to be to check her as seldom as possible and, I thought, report as conservatively as possible. Just the fact that they started the epidural when she was supposedly less than 3 cm made me suspicious. In the morning when her attending nurse finally decided to check her again, she reported 4 cm. I found this hard to believe given the fact that the epidural, if it was working at all, wasn't working well and that contractions that were mountainous and prolonged on the graph, were coming at about 2 minute intervals. And even if we politely suggested that they might check her again, her nurse demurred saying I just checked her. She said this 20 minutes after she checked, 45 minutes later, and over an hour later. "I just checked her." Then an anesthesiologist came in and noted that the epidural wasn't working well at all and decided she should have a boost in pain medication but first she HAD to be checked. About two hours after her nurse announced that she was 4 cm, this doctor caused this reaction:

Finally! Then, this angel of mercy, suggested that Amber stay upright for a little while to facilitate the movement of the baby from station 0 to +2. This took maybe 10 to 15 minutes. Little Dane was on his way.

The only annoying thing about this birth involved the hospital staff. I know I sound negative and I am probably a little hyper critical where my nearest and dearest are concerned, but through all the commotion of getting everything ready for the birth, there was a loud, overriding narration going on delivered by the substitute Obstetrician overseeing the birth. He was loudly explaining to a trainee all the procedures involved in birthing the baby as it came through the birth canal. Every detail was announced to everyone in the room as he self-importantly shared his vast knowledge and wisdom. Nobody was talking to Amber. Nobody was coaching her on pushing. And nobody was re-assuring her that everything was going as it should. In fact, the impression was that there was a huge complication, and the doctor was preparing for every eventuality once the expected complication became more imminent. And this wasn't lost on Amber who was sure that something was very wrong and that the baby was stuck.

As I tried to coach her and encourage her as much as I could I was increasingly distracted by this self-involved, pleased-with-himself, Obstetrician. Finally, I interrupted his narcissistic lecture and asked if he could pay attention to his patient and I broke the news to him that Amber thought something was terribly wrong. (Why else would a physician completely ignore his patient while lecturing everybody in the room?)

He immediately thanked me for letting him know. Are you kidding me? And assured Amber that everything was going perfectly, and within a push or two of this reassurance, Dane was born.

This was the same obstetrician who an hour before the birth, told Amy and I to go home and get about six hours of sleep and they'd call us when anything changed. (In his defense, he was basing his advice on the information given him by the attending nurse. "I just checked her and she's 4 cm.) Oy

All this trauma and drama was pushed into the background when we saw this healthy beautiful baby with this sweet face. His Apgar ratings were 9 and 9 and the nurse said those were the highest ratings given at that hospital. (Of course, now I believed the nurse implicitly.)

Here's Daddy Chris holding him for the first time as he delivered him to Amber:

And here's Grandma Amy holding him for the first time:

Then there's this picture that the Obstetrician insisted on taking with my camera. He was quite intrigued with the idea of four generations at the birth.

So you see, he was nice enough. Just caught up in his own priorities and his own world.

And here are a couple of pictures of this bright, beautiful baby.

Once again, I've been blessed beyond measure. I got to be there to help welcome this wonderful little man into the world. And it just doesn't get any better than that.


  1. You are truly blessed Mary and that second to the last shot is just precious. Please tell Amy how happy I am for you all.

  2. This is why so many families are going to midwives these days, to be encouraged by someone who knows how important REAL care really is.

    Love those shot of Dane and the photo of the four generations!

  3. Man, was it a great experience or what? I can't say enough. They are amazing parents and he is an amazing little boy.

  4. Awww... great pics and an even better narration had me teary-eyed with happiness at the end. Congratulations GG!

  5. He is beautiful Mary! Congratulations Amber and family...he is perfect!


Gentle, strong, kind or true, I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Short or long, it's up to you, your comments and thoughts really make my day!