All that I could say while being lifted into the ambulance was “she can’t come now, she can’t come now.” The doors closed and I could think of nothing but the little girl inside of me. I was in premature labor at 28 weeks pregnant.
When I arrived at the hospital the paramedics rushed me down the hallway. As I lay on my side on the gurney to ease the pain, the look of concern was reflected in the strange faces of people that lined the emergency room. I stopped briefly at a desk to receive a bracelet that simply said “Kim.”
A nurse and very young doctor were waiting in a room. As I answered their questions, more people and large machines arrived. They shouted at each other and to me. I was embarrassed. I apologized because I was not prepared. I told them that I was taking a birth class tomorrow. I would be prepared tomorrow but not today. They told me how to push. All that I could say was “I am sorry, I am sorry.”
I remember looking at a clock on the wall and thinking about each contraction “this too shall pass.” My daughter was born so fast. My dream was here. The doctor pushed on my stomach and placed the afterbirth in a bowl. I wanted to see it, to whisper goodbye to her twin lost at 9 weeks.
After I was taken to my postpartum room, the rush of adrenaline from the birth would not let me rest. I remember pacing the hospital room floor, alone and waiting to say goodbye to her. People in red flight suits would take her away again, to the nearest neonatal intensive care unit. When I saw her in that plastic box, I whispered through the cracks, “Hi, I am your mother.”
My daughter’s birth day did not go as I had planned. In a few quick moments, I had learned to trust people that I had never seen before. I trusted them with all that I valued. They held my hand and told me what I needed to do. They took care of my daughter. They took care of me and I am so grateful.
Well, she did come that day. I was not ready and it was not what I expected. Life has not been what I expected but I love it just the same, and so I say of my daughter’s birth story.