Monday, July 7, 2008


This is my beautiful girl, Laura. Today is her birthday and she is 26. She is accomplished, successful, smart and very driven. Did I mention beautiful? She is a natural beauty. She is a success at nearly everything she puts her hand to. She also works harder (and has for years) than just about anyone else I know. Today she is in Europe with her firm and I called her this morning to leave a message on her phone.

Twenty-six years ago I was married to her Daddy. We took classes in order to have natural child birth. I was very determined to do so. I awoke at 2 a.m. on the sixth of July with contractions. I'd read that if they were Braxton-Hicks, if you did a certain exercise, they would cease. I got up, went into the den and sat on the floor and performed the exercise. The contractions only intensified, which ticked me off. I went back to bed and tried to sleep while trying to figure out if "this was it." At 7 a.m., my contractions were five minutes apart and we decided to leave for the hospital. Beforehand, in response to the pressure I was feeling, I sat on the commode and cried. Don asked me why I was crying and I told him that I was afraid. He told me that it was a funny time to decide that I was afraid to have a baby. It was more of the unknown. She was originally due on July 1 and I had predicted that if we went past July 1, it would be July 7th.

She was born at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. An inner city hospital, it was under construction. We made our way through the mess and I was checked in. Going in, I was put into an antiquated wheelchair, wooden with a high back, something akin to what I'd imagine was used in FDR's day.

We got to the room and I labored and labored. I could hear other women crying out or yelling. I was determined to be focused and quiet, reserving my energy for her birth. At some point later in the day, they gave me an epidural. It was at that point I watched t.v. with my then husband and tried to relax. It seemed every hour on the hour a different person would walk into the room to "check" me which meant shoving their hand up to my tonsils at the moment of a horrendous contraction. At one point some greasy looking nasty guy came in to tell me he was on duty and I looked at Laura's dad and said "that guy isn't touching me." And fortunately for him, he didn't attempt to do so. At varying points in time, various doctors would come in to plead with me to "get things going," which meant drugs and artificial inducement, etc. I did NOT want that and whenever they would come in to speak with me, I'd turn my face to the wall and wait until they were finished. About nine p.m., a nurse came in to check me and I said to Laura's dad "you know, after the first came and went, I always thought the baby would be born on the seventh, and now it will be the sixth." The nurse delivered the then disheartening news that she felt the baby would indeed be born on the seventh. I felt as if the moment of her birth would never arrive.

Finally, around eleven p.m. a doctor came in to plead with me about the delivery. He told me that the baby had been out of its water for many hours and if we didn't act soon, infection might set in. Don turned to me and said "HE is the doctor, I think you should do what he says." I relented and they pounced upon me with any number of needles filling my body with the artificial stimulus that I did not want. I wasn't progressing and they induced me at that point.

A doctor I'd met one time in the hallway (my doctor was on vacation, of course) came into the room and announced "I'm Dr. Prochoroff and I'm here to deliver your baby." He was Russian and over six feet tall. At that point I didn't care who was going to help me get the baby out of my body. (I just googled him and his name is Dr. Nicholas N. Prochoroff.) In the end, Dr. Prochoroff had to use forceps and brace his feet and pull her from my body. She came out screaming. The required repair work to my body was extensive and I was able to hold her the entire time, once they had performed the initial tests. I even held her as we wheeled down the hall.

The next morning, they wheeled the isolate into my room. It was as antiquated as the wheelchair that carried me in and it looked like an aquarium on wheels with yellow metal trim all around. She had her head turned toward me and her eyes open-wide as if to say "Hi, Mom." She was hours old but her gaze held steady and she seemed to know it was me.

The time of her birth was ten minutes after twelve o'clock midnight and the date was 7/7.

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