I caught her first baby. It was one of my first "catches"...
As I guided the little head out, carefully stretching the surrounding tissues to avoid a tear, the sixteen-year-old little girl pushed bravely for all she was worth; her face turning purple-red under her carrot orange hair. Floating in the birth tub made a great difference, she said later. That and my calm firm voice murmuring in her ear to slowly breathe the head through.
She did so well. I was proud of her. And it felt so good to make a difference. Her little girl was strong and healthy even though she was barely over six pounds at birth.
She is expecting another little girl. At eighteen years of age, she only weighs 100 lbs at term. Her mother calls; water broke and contractions have started. Labor went quickly; we couldn't get the birth tub filled up in time. Baby was coming and she wasn't gonna wait.
The dark-haired little one slid out into her daddy's hands. I was honored to be there to help and support him. There are not many nineteen year old boys who would crouch behind a laboring mother and catch a wet, slippery newborn.
She wouldn't breathe. We began resuscitative efforts and she gave it a valiant effort, unfortunately too quickly to keep her adequately oxygenated.
So we took her to the hospital. And they put her in the NICU.
Why is it that I felt guilty? I did nothing wrong. Everything went like clockwork. There was no infection, no trauma, nothing out of place.
Why is it that the mother felt guilty? She did nothing wrong. She took her prenatal vitamins, drank water and walked every day.
Why is it that the father felt guilty? He was so careful and tender. He cared for the little girl that wasn't his own better than many father's treat their own children.
What the nurses in the NICU said at the nurses station across the hall and whenever Mom stepped out of the room? Pitiful teenager. Two little ones with two different daddies...tsk, tsk, tsk. Where were that girls parents?! ad infinitum.
Why is it that people judge? Why is it that people throw stones when we ALL have made mistakes?
Why is it that I have this incredibly strong urge to write the hospital administration and give them a piece of my mind?
By the way...She's fine now. :D