- Writing A(nother) Book
I’m a mother three times, and the births of my children were relatively easy. I say “relatively” because they were each (also) fraught in their ways. But the upshot was the same each time: healthy baby, healthy mother. I remain incredibly grateful for this.
The birth of one of them, however, was a little dicey. No, I didn’t require help with the pain on this particular go-round, but I also couldn’t get any help because none of the nurses would offer it. As I breathed through the contractions, a nurse would occasionally pop into the room and then out again. But none of them would stay long enough for me to ask my question: am I getting any closer to having this baby?
I think it was a very busy night in that maternity ward.
It doesn’t matter. As I said, the outcome was what we all hope for. And while this particular baby was blue for a few minutes and while he did have his umbilical cord wound twice around his neck, he was really altogether fine and, moreover, is fine today. Thanks be to God.
I recall only one interaction with a nurse, and this was when Nurse Harder came into the room. The sun was coming up and I was beginning to feel hopeful (because mornings almost always make me feel that way), and Nurse Harder came in at the start of her shift and didn’t leave the room immediately. Instead she introduced herself to me, my husband and my mother: “I’m Nurse Harder, as in ‘Push Harder’,” and I found her little joke incredibly encouraging.
She also checked my progress and told me that “this baby is almost ready to be born,” which is what every laboring mother wants to hear, and that she was just leaving the room to call the doctor. And then she said to me, “Please don’t push yet.”
I remember that instruction distinctly: “Don’t push.” This was really very encouraging and also not encouraging at all, because it meant that the pushing part (which means the baby part) was imminent– but my compliance with her instruction was absolutely impossible.
Because here’s the thing: when the body decides that it’s time to push the baby out, the body is going to push the baby out. When you’ve reached that point in the labor and delivery, the body shifts to auto-pilot. There is simply no stopping the pushing. None.
Why am I telling you this?