Mother’s day. Somehow as I see my wife as a mother for the first time, it feels like the first Mother’s day for me too. Last week, Lauren and I went into the hospital for a procedure to try and turn our child from a breech position to a head down position. We were hopeful it would work as we had been looking forward to the experience of having the child free of any medical interventions. The relative pain, agony, stress and exhilaration we had been hearing about is an experience we, (Lauren especially) had been welcoming.
After a long wait in the hospital room, the time had come from the procedure. Without getting to specific with the clinical stuff, the external version might be painful. The muscle of the uterus must be very relaxed to increase the chance of success. Lauren would be getting some serious but fairly safe drugs to relive the pain and cause the relaxation.
Now, I do this all the time. I have been at the bedside for hundreds of sedations. I never really mind them. It is a great way to fix and repair an injury without having to go to surgery. I have never taken lightly the responsibility of putting someone to sleep, the risk involved and the fear their loved ones feel. I am always highly conscious of these feelings but I remain appropriately removed from them as well.
As the saying goes, “everything changes when it is your family”. I knew that to be true. I did not know how it would feel.
As I saw Lauren’s eye get a bit glazed over as the doc pushed the drug I broke a sweat. I held her hand tightly and stoked her knuckle against my stubble. I spoke to her softly knowing the doctors around the bed would not hear my words, only Lauren. After the first try at the tuning, they stopped and put a monitor back on her belly to check the heart rate of the child. It had dropped as expected but I held my breath in the eternity that it seemed to take return to normal.
My thoughts were in desparate prayer…”Please Grandfather…..these two are my world”. As the second attempt to turn the child began I realized that everything I have in this world was on that bed and at risk. The simple, low risk associated with that procedure was enough to really fear for the life of both of them.
By the end of the third try, we were all convinced the baby would not turn by this method. The midwife spoke with Lauren and I about a planned caesarian. This was completely opposite from the way we wanted to go. But so be it. As we have heard about a million times and as we full well understand: all we really want is a healthy child and healthy mom. Still we mourn the loss of the experience and the gift of the experience.
The birthday has not yet come but as it approaches I can feel the prayers and caring of our friends and family wrapped around us like a big blanket hug.
I am reminded how close to death we must come to see life. The passage to a new life is a narrow one with the fabric of life and death brushing us on both side. And, it is mostly out of our hands. We orient ourselves as best we know how and hope we sail through the passage changed all for the better. I will still sweat and wring my hands and gnash my teeth until our baby is out and healthy and until a healthy Lauren walks out of the hospital. The rest of my life I will worry over these things, I know. I would not trade any of it. It is all life and all good. Amen