It was February of 1984. I was 24, Tom was 29. We were expecting our second baby any day.
I was 10 days past my due date, when the familiar labor pains began. I was ready to meet my baby. Tom drove me to my OB for a final exam, but I wasn’t expecting to hear the doctor’s conclusion; I was having “false labor.”
Warning: Don’t ever tell an overdue mama that her baby isn’t coming…
I did what any of you would have done–I cried, and then I ate! I had been fasting all day since that’s what you do when in labor. Tom bought me a huge sub sandwich and a large Diet Coke. I ate every bit with almost a “How dare you” attitude.
The pain did not subside as false labor is known to do. It kept intensifying, until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Tom drove me straight to the hospital this time since my pains were only minutes apart.
When we arrived a nurse examined me and said she thought she felt a bottom, not a head. She ordered an x-ray which confirmed what she suspected–my baby was breach and required an emergency C-section. After twelve hours of hard labor, I was finally going to meet my baby.
Since I wanted to be awake, a spinal tap was ordered. I wanted to find out if we had a boy or a girl. After all this waiting, I didn’t want to be unconscious for “the big reveal”.
The anesthetist attempted the first spinal but failed since I was having a sharp contraction. He tried again and yet another contraction halted his efforts. He kept telling me to relax, but what he should have known is that’s impossible when in labor. After 10 tries he finally succeeded. My body, from the rib cage down, not only went numb but I couldn’t move at all. I was paralyzed.
Within what seemed a few minutes I was my newborn baby in my arms, and I was elated she was a girl. Our firstborn son was 21 months, and a girl would be a new experience for us. We were excited!
I thought the difficulty would be over. Life was good. Pictures were taken and I was relieved it was over. But my darkest night was yet to come.
Because the anesthetist took so many tries for the spinal to take, the effects lasted for 12 hours. I was placed in a dark hospital room with two other women, one of whom didn’t speak English and was in severe pain. She screamed most of the night, and I couldn’t sleep because I was still paralyzed from the waist down. I don’t know how to describe it other than, tormenting.
By the time Tom arrived the next morning I was a mess. He went to the nurses station to request a private room for me. After much arguing he finally succeeded and I was moved. The numbness began to wear off, and I was elated. Finally, I could enjoy our newborn baby.
Yet another obstacle was about to hit.
I had never had a C-section and the pain was not only unfamiliar, but frightening. When I stood it felt as if my insides would come out. I asked the nurse if she could come get our baby, so I could rest.
“Honey, you’re going to have to learn to rest at home with your baby, so you might as well start now!”
Tom had left for work, and I was dumbfounded at what to say or do. So I cried.
Once Tom returned after work and I was able to talk to him about what happened, I felt better. Finally someone cared enough to offer me the help and compassion I needed.
The next day our pediatrician came in to examine our daughter before being discharged. I was thrilled to be going home, and I guess my joy showed. He commented that he was amazed I was able to be so joyful after all I had been through. He even used the cliche’, “You’ve made lemonade out of lemons.”
Imagine my surprise wen week later that same doctor had someone call us to invite us over to his house for dinner.
We were excited to have the opportunity to share with him and his wife the source of our joy. It was February and our daughter was only two weeks old, but we couldn’t miss this chance to share the hope we had been given in Christ. We loaded up and drove to their home.
Our hosts greeted us at the door, and invited us into their living room, where a group of other couples had already gathered. A white board was set in the middle of the room, which seemed odd to us. We waited.
And then we realized this was no informal dinner. It was an Amway presentation! We couldn’t believe what we were hearing/seeing! After all I had been through physically, this doctor used his patient list to solicit new recruits for his pyramid sales team.
We left his home that night, as well as his practice.
I wrote him a letter sharing how unethical we felt it was to solicit our business, especially when our daughter was so young.
There are always opportunists looking to benefit from the difficulty of others. Watching the news unfold in Houston reminds me to pray for those who may fall prey to similar schemes. I learned through this experience, not to be so quick to make assumptions about the motives of a stranger. What we thought was positive, ended up being quite the negative in our story.
How have you been taken advantage of by someone you though you could trust? What did you learn from it?
(Memes Credit: https://me.me/t/memes)