After one visit, my obstetrician said, in what I hope was a teasing tone, “Would you quit bringing your beautiful children to my office. Someone always wants a reversal (from tubal ligation) after you leave”.
Pregnant with my fourth child, I came for a scheduled appointment even though labour had begun. I preferred to see her right away because I wanted to go home after visiting her office and put everything in order. I was not expecting my doctor’s reaction, “This baby is coming soon. You do not have time to travel all the way home. Use the phone in the office, get a hold of your husband and get someone to meet him with the kids in the hospital parking lot. You go straight to admitting ahead of him.”
I walked into the waiting room, called my brother-in-law and explained the situation, laughing at myself as I apologised to him. As a contraction hit, I breathed through the pain and then gathered all the kids together and left her office for the hospital.
An hour later she bustled into the delivery room and announced, “Well you sure impressed my entire waiting room! Everyone thinks you are superwoman.”
Two hours later, standing with help and enduring long contractions that were turning my baby completely around, I was anything but superwoman.
I wailed, “I thought you said this delivery was going to be fast!”
It didn’t help that seven or eight student nurses, obstetrical residents and medical students stood in a half circle around me, watching a woman deliver her fourth child without drugs or an epidural.
The last baby this doctor delivered was my fifth. ( I could not face her with my next pregnancy.) This birth was a dramatic production. All through my pregnancy I had asked God, “Please, not on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.” God had his own ideas, of course.
Sure enough, on Christmas Eve we gave the kids baths in the afternoon, a tourtiére was baking in the oven almost ready for an early dinner and I had just laid out dresses, white tights, ribbons for the girls and outfits for the boys to wear to church when the contractions started coming hard and fast. I barely could get my boots on.
Michael drove very quickly to the hospital. When I stepped into admitting, the lights were dim, Christmas carols played softly in the background Christmas lights were shining on the tree and strung along the walls and two relaxed nurses were leaning against the counter.
“So “, one of the nurses calmly asked, “Is this your first?”
” No”, I gasped, “My fifth.”
“Your fifth?”, her head jerked up and her eyes popped open. “Sandra, get the elevator now and then grab a wheelchair. I’ll phone obstetrics so they can get ready for her!”
Michael followed the parade carrying David who refused to stay with our baffled neighbour; Dad assumed he had time to take him back home.
“You aren’t going anywhere if you want to see this baby’s birth. Give him to the desk clerk and tell her to give him crackers.” David thoroughly enjoyed his adoring fans out at the nurses’ station. My dress was literally yanked over my head, my tights whipped off, the doctor ran into the delivery room and Emily was born 45 minutes later.
My doctor never really understood me but she was always ready to run to the delivery room, even without any notice on Christmas Eve..
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