I took my Neonatal Resuscitation course the other day, in pursuit of a career as a midwife. It's one of those things that must be under your belt if you want to be a worth while apprentice and assistant. The problem is, most instructors are in the hospital birth mindset...I really, really wanted to be taught by a particular teacher named Karen Strange who is a midwife and has a good reputation as an instructor. Sucks for me that she came to our region only two weeks after Phoebe died...there was hardly any other choice than to take the course while I had the opportunity.
I was worried before the class that my heart would be pulverized when the day was over. When Phoebe was with us there was nothing more to do except allow all the NNR "no-no's" to follow their natural sequence of events: She turned blue, her respirations were labored, her heart rate slow, and then slower until it stopped altogether. The class was bound to bring back those recent memories.
I did fine, really, for the most part I was able to put my own experience from my mind and think more in the caregiver mode rather than the mother mode. There was one thing, ONE little thing that I found remarkably upsetting.....so here are my remarks on it ( :
It was when Karen told the class this: " Most of the time the compromised baby will need 4 or 5 inflation breaths, and that is all. Babies are almost, almost, almost always in good shape to be breathing alone without help....then again, occasionally shit happens." In the space of a few seconds my throat constricted and my eyes welled up against all my inner strength telling them not to. At that same instant the class around me giggled and snickered... I guess thinking, "Karen said shit. Teeheehee!" I don't mind, I don't care, I know without a shadow of a doubt that nobody meant anything by it. It's just that if anyone could comprehend just what it is to be the rare situation in which Shit Happens then there would be no snickering. That will never happen, and I don't care about that either. I'm not "remarking" in a vain attempt to get the whole world to be sensitive to my situation. It's so uncommon, I know. In all those 26 careers as birthing professionals maybe not even one will see true Shit happening.
As for me, though, I'll be sensitive to those rare situations when Shit Happens.
I feel like an entirely different person than the person I was before Phoebe. (After all, Shit is a funny word, right?) The more time that gets between me and the 2 and 1/2 hours that I held my 2lb dying baby, the more I realize how my character is in the process of being formed. As someone recently put it for my benefit, I am the "pottery being fired." God is the potter, of course. It was going to take a lot to make me a more serious person. Without Phoebe I would have been becoming the midwife who blows off every symptom of a complication because my belief was that birth is normal....and complications rare....and I would have never expected to actually witness a true complication. Without Phoebe I wouldn't look at newborns and think about what a tremendous blessing and miracle each one is. Before Phoebe (and the miscarriages) I had a plan for my family - as though we can plan such things. Phoebe will make me a better birth professional, that I can know now without a doubt! When I was expecting her with such a bad prognosis people would try to tell me that I would be a better midwife someday for it...I said no way man - I'll suck at being a midwife because I'll be a little sad at every birth. Now that Phoebe has come and gone, and I brought her into the world and handed her right back over to God, I am able to relate to anyone who has lost an infant. I will be a little sad at every birth, to be sure, but I'll also be happier than before at every birth because I know now just how lucky that mama is that her baby is healthy and that she gets to keep it, cuddle it, nurse it, and get to know it.
Nobody wants to be the one who tears up a little when someone says Shit Happens...wouldn't you rather be giggling? Then again, doesn't everyone (and now I mean those who are birth professionals) want to have plenty of experience? Very few midwives and doctors are able to truly relate to a mom who is losing or has lost her infant *Sigh*
Oh, I just thought of the corniest thing ever!! I must stick it in my blog as the ending sentence to this post. Please envision this last line being said with an air piety...
The grass is always, and will always be, greener on my side of the fence so long as I allow God to water it.