I wrote this about Jordyn’s birth 20 years ago, she’s no longer a teenager.
The golden haze lightly dripped through the wrinkles of the ancient mountainside, tapering into flower-strewn hills, which engulfed the valley with fragrance and color. In the distance one might see a sorrel mare frolicking in a stream whose tranquil persistence has etched its signature on the land for all eternity. In a land where time stood in awe of beauty, an instant came where it snapped forward a millennium. The sky, once merely an overseer, thrust itself through the heart of the land sending it spiraling into oblivion. Plunging through the apex, a white flash brought my focus upon my fiancé bent over me.
Michelle had gently prodded me out of my slumber to inform me that it was time. Still drunk with sleep I turned over breathing a sigh of disbelief. It was not until she said she was going to the hospital with or without me that I placed some credibility on her statement. Suddenly I became sober from my sleep intoxication and jumped out of bed.
Michelle had been having contractions every five minutes for the past two hours and continued to do so upon our arrival at the hospital at 12:30 am January 27, 1993. Settling into our room we took note that we were the only patients in labor and delivery. As the night progressed our Lamaze techniques were never put to rest. With a precision matching even the most accurate time keeping devices, the contractions continued to come, every five minutes.
The sun was rising and we could hear a new patient arriving. Michelle’s contractions had continued with a very steady rhythm, unfortunately she had yet to dilate beyond three centimeters. She had now been awake for 24 hours and the fatigue was beginning to show. During a contraction her breathing was slipping from the patterns we had practiced for the past seven hours. Instead of resting, the time between contractions was now spent wiping tears away. With no change in her cervix, the doctor decided some rest was in order and offered a shot of morphine to help in this process. Usually an anti-drug advocate, Michelle quickly changed her stand on this topic and slept for the next four hours. Surprisingly, that was the exact amount of time the doctor said the shot would last.
It was now 11:30 am, Michelle was contracting every five minutes, her cervix was still three centimeters and the patient that came in at seven had already delivered. We had been at the hospital for 12 hours and still had no real progress; all hopes for a short labor had been shattered. The hospital staff left us alone most of the time, I still wonder whether that was good or bad. The day carried on, bringing only thoughts of confusion and dismay.
At 7:00 pm there was no cervical change and Michelle had lost all the energy she had gained from her four-hour nap. The doctor suggested another shot to be given at 10:00 pm; again we opted for rest. At 10:00 pm there was a turn of events that dramatically changed our plans for the evening.
Before administering the shot, Doctor Lau checked Michelle’s cervix. Finally there was progress, four centimeters – no five. Excitement filled the air and our sentence was passed; instead of a shot and rest, they broke Michelle’s water. Suddenly the fires of labor tore into her. Contraction after contraction twisted Michelle’s body barely leaving time enough to breath. The flow of medical personnel in the room increased as well, at least momentarily. Michelle was given an I.V. and a shot that made her fall asleep between each contraction. The staff dwindled, and for the next five hours we were on our own again. Only a button away from an entire hospital staff yet there was nothing anyone could do.
Contractions shook Michelle every minute while her cervix slowly dilated. After five hours and hundreds of contractions she finally reached the point of pushing. It was now 3:00 am and 29 hours of labor had passed along with tears, anxieties and a few profane statements. We were on the home stretch and we knew it. The room instantly became cluttered with all the necessary newborn equipment: tables, lights, suction devices, bags, boxes, towels, etc., etc.. Excitement pulsed through our veins breathing new energy and hope into us. Michelle pushed with all her might, at least for the first two hours.
Entering the 32nd hour of labor, exhaustion visibly poured from every pore of Michelle’s body. My patience towards the staff, clouded with fatigue, grew short. Since our arrival six babies had been delivered and none of them had even half the wait we did. Obviously they were doing something different for those patients, but I kept my thoughts to myself. By 6:00am, Michelle’s physical and mental exhaustion had all but devoured her. It was now obvious something was wrong and drastic measures were needed. The two doctors on duty agreed the baby was stuck and called for a cesarean section.
With that decision the baby equipment disappeared. Taking its place were countless forms to be signed, blood to be taken, questions to be answered and all the while the contractions kept coming. My attention focused on Michelle’s eyes. These dark pits of anguish and suffering carried a look of fear I had never seen before. The feeling was so powerful it drew tears from my eyes but I needed to remain a reliable crutch to lean on. Within 30 minutes they were ready to take Michelle, I hated to let her go but I knew that soon she would be numb and the pain gone.
When I entered the operating room Michelle was smiling for the first time in the past 32 hours. Seeing her smile drew the remaining fear and apprehension from my body like a sponge; I actually became rather happy. They began to cut into Michelle and I watched eagerly. The doctors found the baby stuck in the natural escape route and with a few tugs she popped out.
Jordyn Kamalei was born at 7:01 am January 28, 1993. She was a healthy 7 lbs. 10 1/2 oz. and 19 3/4 inches long. As I drove home from the hospital that morning her first little cry rang through my head along with the image of snipping her umbilical cord. No matter how calloused a soul you might be, I picture it impossible to hold back tears of joy during a moment such as this. She is my little girl now and for this I will be eternally grateful.
When I arrived home I lay down and dozed off. The spiral of colors pulled together and made a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. The fragrance was so rich and the colors vibrant that any soul that passed this way became electrified. There was something new about the valley near the stream that ran endlessly from the mountains. A lone rose had risen above the meadow flowers; nurtured by the valleys soil and protected by the mountains this rose became the princess of the land.