Whenever I hear the phrase it takes a village, I think about the tribeswoman in places like New Guinea and how they all work together to take care of their children. I now know that the phrase “It takes a village” applies to every child everywhere. It has certainly been a huge team effort to bring Davis into the world and get him started in his journey through life.
Twelve days ago I was admitted to Waccamaw Community Hospital. The team effort began there. The labor and delivery nurses took care of everything from connecting IV’s to bringing me ice chips to trying their best to ease my pain. At around 9 AM on October 31st, after receiving Pitocin to begin contractions, the first doctor came to break my water. Dr. Lasry popped into the room, dressed in her Sunday best, pulled latex gloves on all the way up to her elbows, sat right down on the bed, and broke my water. Next at 10 AM, came Dr. Thomas, the anesthesiologist, who effortlessly began my epidural. From 10 AM until about 6 PM, the nurses had it easy because the epidural was working outstandingly. At around 6 PM, the epidural began to wear off my right side, so Dr. Thomas was summoned back to my room to administer more of the miracle medicine. However, this time, the miracle medicine didn’t seem to work. I, once again, could feel every contraction from start to finish. There was nothing left to do except try to make me comfortable. From 6 until around 8:30, I ate ice chips, groaned and moaned, and called the nurses to help me change positions. I spent quite a bit of time on all fours on top of the bed. The interesting part of that is how difficult it is to remain on all fours without any feeling in your legs. If people don’t hold you up, your lower body just slips right from beneath you.
By this time, a separate team of nurses was on staff and once they checked and found that I had dilated to 10 centimeters, they began encouraging me to push. “Arch your back, grab your legs and push,” they kept saying. I couldn’t feel my legs, though I could feel every contraction, so they had to hold my legs and help me push. Even though I never pushed correctly, they still encouraged me on. Finally, after many requests, Dr. Richmond came to my aid. To me, she was the leader of the village. Once she arrived, I continued to push. She said, “Push like you are constipated…have you ever been constipated?” I explained that I was very regular and didn’t know how to push like I was constipated. On and on these attempts at pushing went, until I begged her to just get the baby out! She explained to Tracy that it would take hours more work for Davis to be birthed and she wasn’t sure I had it in me.
Another part of the village was called in. At around 11 PM, preparations for a C-section began with calling an entire OR crew to come from home to help Dr. Richmond “get the baby out!” In minutes about 10 people arrived and I was wheeled into the operating room. After Dr. Thomas administered more drugs via my spine, I was layed on the operating table and a blue sheet was draped between my head and my abdomen to obstruct my view. Tracy finally arrived doning his Halloween costume, a set of scrubs. He sat beside my head and held my hand as the procedure began. For some reason, based on what everyone else told me, I thought I wouldn’t be able to feel anything related to the surgery. Not true. I could feel every tug and pull and suction that happened. I will refrain from being too graphic, but I don’t intend to visit that section of the hospital again either. Finally, after about 15 minutes, Davis was extracted and I could hear him crying for the first time. After a magnificent photo op, he was whisked to the warming table where I am sure all sorts of hmmm…unpleasant things were done to him. I kept asking if he was alright while I was being repaired. They finally brought him over to me for about 5 seconds before he was taken to the nursery where another part of the “village” awaited.
By this time it was well past midnight, but our family and friends were still waiting by the nursery window. Davis had an audience!
After I returned from recovery, I think most everyone had decided it was time to leave the hospital. Except for my dad and sister. They made sure to stick around and see that I was okay. Not long after their visit, Davis was finally brought to me and I was able to breastfeed for the first time. I was worried that feeding may be difficult, but with help from the nursery staff, and the fact that Davis came out smacking his lips, it wasn’t that difficult at all.
The rest of my stay in the hospital is a little hazy. I’m just realizing how drugged they all had me. But, I must say that without the nurses and nursery workers there’s no way we would have survived. Peggy from the nursery was a pro at everything dealing with Davis. She assisted me in perfecting the breastfeeding, helping us learn how to swaddle, and just soothing Davis when he was fussy. Miranda was great at getting things we needed and demonstrating the proper way to bathe an infant. She was also great just for answering any questions we had. My nurses were also attentive, helping to manage my pain, bringing me what I needed and making sure everything was okay.
After the hospital stay, many people I am sure are then left to raise the baby on their own, but fortunately, our village didn’t stop with them. For an entire week, our friends brought us food and called and checked on us and just made themselves available anytime we needed something. Obea lead the effort from start to finish. I wish everyone could know and have a friend so dedicated.
So, I saved the most vital part of my village for last. My husband. I know many women whose husbands weren’t even in the delivery room or ones that had to return to work immediately after the baby was born or ones that just didn’t care enough to even offer any help. But, Tracy is on the opposite end of that spectrum. He has been AMAZING!!! In the hospital, he helped me up from bed, assisted me in the bathroom and shower, and made sure I had everything I needed from ice water to extra pillows. Once we got home, it was more of the same. He has changed virtually every diaper – I think I may have changed two, we haven’t even attempted to count how many he has changed. He brings Davis to me when it’s time to feed, helps get him positioned and burps him when he’s done. Aside from taking care of Davis, he has vaccumed, done loads upon loads of laundry, and cleaned bathrooms. There’s no way I would have survived it without him. It seems that having a baby in the house has not been that difficult at all, but I know it’s because my husband takes on the not so pleasant tasks so that I can have a moment to recuperate. What a lucky girl I am.
I have tried many times to get all my friends to move out to Loris, so we could set up a sort of commune and live side by side. That way, we’d all be together, raise our kids together, watch them grow up together, and be there for each other. We’d be just like the tribespeople of New Guinea. I know though, that no matter where we live, how near or how far, our village, from friends to family is just one phone call away. It takes a village…