Anna’s Birth, Part 3: Is There a Doctor in the House?

26 11 2008

We finally decided it was time to go, so we made our way downstairs, past my sleeping parents, got into our little blue Toyota Tercel and set off for the hospital.  The worst part of the drive came early as we crossed the railroad tracks next to our apartment.  Every little bump and jolt sent Timberley up into the roof with pain.

When we arrived at the hospital we drove to the parking area outside the entrance to the maternity ward.  We were still a little early so we sat in the car until 6:00 and then made our way into the war zone.

We had some particular ideas about how the birthing process should go, but the nurses at the hospital did not always agree with us so we had a few early battles.  The one that almost got us kicked out was over whether Timberley would get an IV.  Timberley does not like needles.  In fact, she hates needles so much that she would rather give birth with no medication rather than have a needle in her arm.  When she has dental work done, she prefers it to be done with no novacaine.  In California with Samuel’s birth we got away with that.  In Kentucky they would not admit her unless she had an IV.  We finally consented to have one put in her hand that would remain closed unless it was needed.  I still remember the look on the poor girl’s face who came over to Timberley after she had been admitted.  She carried a small syringe and she took Timberley’s hand to put the syringe needle into the IV tube.  We both turned on her suddenly and asked in unison, “What are you doing?”  The nurse, unused to this reaction from patients, haltingly replied, “I’m just . . . cleaning out . . . the IV.”  “What is in the syringe?”  I asked.  “It’s just saline solution,” she replied.  We allowed her to continue.

The biggest problem of the morning, however, was the fact that the doctor never mde it to the hopsital.  He was called at 6:00 when we checked in to the hospital, but by 8:00 when Anna was born he had not come.  The nurses worked with us to keep Timberley comfortable as long as we could.  Finally I saw them having a meeting in the corner of the room.  They looked at Timberley with serious faces and then came over to me and said that it was time to deliver the baby.  They said that they would take care of it.  They could not wait any longer for the doctor.

Right when they completed their preparations another doctor came into the delivery room and took over.  It was like the cavalry making their entrance and saving the day.  Everyone, and I think especially the nurses, breathed a big sigh of relief.

Because Timberley chose not to have any pain medication the delivery process was quite dramatic.  There were many tears, cries of pain, sweat and determination.  But after it all, Anna was born heathy.

One fond memory I have of the day was of a nursing student who had been sent over to observe the day’s procedures and take notes.  They had asked our permission for her to stay in the delivery room.  We consented.  The poor girl did not know what she was in for that morning.  After Anna was born I looked over at her.  She was a puddle of tears.  After everything calmed down she made her way over to the bed and, still crying, said to Timberley, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

It seems that at that hospital the staff was not used to mothers not having pain medication.  I learned afterwards that in the hallway, Timberley had earned the nickname “Prairie Woman.”


Anna’s Birth, Part 2: The Waiting Game, or, Please Don’t Have the Baby in the Bathtub!

24 11 2008

As a precursor to her character when she was older, Anna’s birth was dramatic and full of tension.  She did not want to cause problems, but if you can make a big entrance, why waste the opportunity?

My parents were visiting from California to help with Samuel and other things while Timberley gave birth.  On Easter Sunday Timberley began having contractions.  They were still mild, but she felt pretty certain that Anna was on her way.  After church we went out to lunch and every person that we met from our church asked how Timberley was doing.  She did not want to say anything too early so she just kept smiling and saying everything was fine.

Our strategy for the early stages of labor was simple: walk as much as possible and stay out of the hospital as long as possible.  That strategy almost backfired on us when Samuel was born.  The maternity ward that we were assured “never fills up” filled up, and Timberley was forced to sit in a waiting room almost up to the time her heavy labor started.  Sam was born about 90 minutes after she finally got to the room.

But even with that experience we felt that waiting was the best strategy.  So that afternoon we went to the park along the Ohio river and walked and walked . . . and walked.  We walked until dinner time and then drove to a nearby restaurant where we ate some sandwiches and watched a basketball game.  After dinner we drove to Seneca Park near our home and walked some more until late into the evening.  It was then that I noticed the park filling with an odd assortment of people and I began to think that this might not be the safest time to be walking.  Timberley knew she was still pretty far away from her heavy labor so we returned home to get some sleep to get ready for the big day.

We didn’t get much sleep that night, however.  Timberley especially did not rest well because her contractions began getting stronger throughout the night.  I spent the early morning hours–it must have been around 5 AM–trying to convince Timberley that it was time to go to the hospital.  She wanted to wait until later in the morning so that she would spend as little time in the hospital as possible.  I think there may have also been a difference in our medical coverage if we could stay out of the hospital until 6 AM, but the details are not clear.

So there we lay.  I kept trying to persuade Timberley to get out of bed and go to the hospital.  She kept telling me that she was okay.  Of course, she had to time her statements to come in between her painful contractions because she was unable to speak in the middle of them.  I guess that in some kind of sick way of trying to comfort me she read articles to me from a parenting magazine.  So in between contractions she read about a woman who waited so long to get to the hospital that she had to deliver her baby in a bath tub!  For some strange reason, she thought the whole thing was rather funny.

Anna’s Birth, Part 1: Squirrel Brains and Bucksnorts (with apologies to the great state of Kentucky)

23 11 2008

Our family moved from California to Kentucky in 1997.  Timberley and I had completed our master’s degrees at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and I was set to begin doctoral studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.  My parents helped us with the move by driving their motor home with a U-Haul trailer attached.  We brought along our own car as well.  We must have looked a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies in reverse with the truck loaded up and driving from California to Kentucky.

When we arrived Louisville we decided to make a trip to see Mammoth Caves.  It was a Saturday morning and I thought I would go find a newspaper before we set out on our trip.  I found a newspaper stand selling the local Louisville paper and brought the morning’s edition back to our apartment.  The headline that day was “Squirrel Brains Linked to Mad Cow’s Disease.”  I had to pause for a moment.  Two questions came to mind.  Is eating squirrel brains and its adverse side effects a big problem here?  And second, is there really so little news here that this story should be on the front page headline?  I began to wonder what kind of place we had come to.

I had occasrion to wonder more about this on our drive to Mammoth Caves.  We were driving through some beautiful country when I suddenly saw a huge banner on the side of the road announcing the annual Bucksnort Festival.  Again, two questions came to mind.  What is a bucksnort?  And why in the world would you want to have a festival for one?

We came to love Kentucky and in many ways it has become our adopted home.  My time at SBTS was crucial for me at that time.  Our local church became our sending church when we came to Indonesia, and we formed life-long friendships there.  Kentucky also holds a special place to us becuase our daughter Anna was born there.  And I suppose you could say that putting squirrel brains in the diet helped prepare us for Indonesia.  At least that is what I thought when Samuel and Anna started fighting over who got the chicken brains when we went out to eat in restaurants there!