December 8, 2009

Watching a Friend Become a Mother

Awhile back, I had the opportunity to take care of a former coworker having her first baby. She was a great L&D nurse with the sweetest disposition, very caring, and never hesitated to advocate for her patients. She started about a year after I did and after a couple years, she went to work in my OB/GYN's office. She had mentioned about 2 years ago that she and her husband were going to start trying to get pregnant, so I've been waiting to see her roll through the doors pregnant and when I'd see her in the office, I'd look to see if she had a belly. She did finally come in. An induction was scheduled for PIH and she had requested that I be the nurse. It was what we call a staged induction: a cervical ripening agent was used to "ripen" the cervix and once the cervix was soft, then pitocin would be started to get things going. They arrived at midnight and I got the induction going...and it lasted all through the day and when I came back the next night, she was still there. Only 3 centimeters. The nurse handing off to me told me that there had been some late decelerations, but she said they had resolved so she had talked with the doc and the pitocin had been restarted. I looked at the strip, still saw lates, and wondered why on earth she had restarted the pit. So I go in and do all the things to try to get the baby to be happy, but it was to no avail. I called the OB, she called for a c/s and we head back to the OR. It seems most of the time when we go back for a c/s for a non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern, the baby, thankfully, comes out with Apgars of 9 & 9, leaving you to wonder if it was really necessary. Not the case here. This baby did not tolerate labor and was worn out and came out pale, floppy and was not breathing, but after resuscitation, she came around and made her feelings about the whole process known! The pediatrician showed the patient her baby and she looked at my friend and told the pediatrician "That's her mother, let her mother hold her". And with that, the very young birth mother made a huge sacrifice and changed the life of my friend by making her a mother. My friend, who had to leave the OR for a second because it was too much to watch as they worked to get her child to come around and take that first breath, cried tears of joy and relief. Watching someone become a mother is always amazing, but when it's someone you know, it's even sweeter.

The birth mother makes what is probably the most difficult choice she'll ever make when she decides to give the baby up for adoption, its a choice that she will think of for the rest of her life. I can't imagine the grief that birth mothers feel as they hand their baby over to a couple who will provide the life she wants for her child, a life that she can't provide herself. This birth mother said that it was a difficult choice, but she was comforted by the fact that the adoptive parents would provide a life she couldn't at this time, and that this little girl would be surrounded by love. Thank you to all the birth mothers out there for giving couples who are unable to have a biological child, the opportunity to be parents. Thank you for being brave enough to decide not to terminate the pregnancy, but to nourish and carry the child, to labor and deliver, to bear the physical scars of childbirth as well as the emotional scars, in order to give that child the life you want for her. May God bless you.

10 comments:

RN to be CNM said...

That was amazingly beautiful!!! I have been the nurse in two adoptions and those are the most bittersweet births. Not to sound callous, but I truly found them harder than any demise that I have taken care of. I have often tried to figure out the answer to why that is but I can't come up with a good answer for it. Both of them brought me to tears both at work and at home. I cannot imagine having to make that choice. Beautiful tribute.

Anonymous said...

As an adoptee, I can honestly say that I am eternally greatful to my brith parents for picking my adoptive parents and for having wisdom and the strength to let me go and have a life that I would likely not have had otherwise. I will most likely never know the impact that it had on their lives, but I do know that it is the most selfless decision one can make

Paula said...

Your post made me cry. I have friends who have been trying for over two years to adopt, I hope their dreams of parenthood will come true soon. I am so impressed at the choice made by birth mothers to give their baby the best chance they can for a loving home.

Diana J. said...

Amen! Thanks so much for posting!

Pam, mom, honey, said...

what a wonderful story. what a blessing for your friend.

mitchsmom said...

nice, well written :)

Joy (When Does Daddy Come Home?!) said...

Beautiful!!! And congrats to your friend, though I know that adoption can come with some intense bittersweet emotions for both parties involved.

Ms. J said...

As an adoptive mom, thank you for your beautiful words, honoring birth mothers everywhere. I wish there was a way I could provide comfort to our daughter's birth mother (China adoption) and let her know how deeply cherished she is, and how grateful we eternally are for her decision to give her life, and then what she must have hoped would be a better life.

If there are any birth mothers who stumble across this post and comments . . . please take a bow, and accept the most humble thanks and deep gratitude on behalf of adoptive mothers worldwide. You are our heroes!

Anonymous said...

I am always so touched to see posts about birth mothers. You see, I am a birth mother who gave up my baby boy over 26 years ago. I always thought I would have more children to birth and raise, but unfortunately, not. For me it was the ultimate sacrifice that has been the biggest impact in my life. I know I made the right decision, but there will always be that little bit of sadness that I will never know my child. Ever.
It is the holiday season and I do not have a family with which to celebrate. No grandchildren, no Merry Christmas, MOM!, no pictures, no memories, so I will take your gratitude, since that is all there is.

Laras Mama said...

I really respect women who choose to go through the pain of pregnancy and birth just to give their child into better (at that time) hands. After giving birth all I wanted was to be near my baby girl, I can't imagine all that pain then losing the reason for it, too!