(Yea, that’s what she told us to call her. I don’t have to say Doctor, or Doc, or be PC with her because that’s just who she is. Our fiery little Italian stallion with the smallest hands and the biggest heart.)
You had me at hello.
You had me when you waltzed into my labor room and said you were from New York and that my water did in fact break and that you were pissed at the nurses for moving too slow to get the IV bag squeezy thing so I could get my epidural in time. I knew you were worried about that and I could see it on your face and when you told me you were worried and weren’t being all “oh sweetie -everything will be fine, of course” blah blah blah with me. I knew we were kindred. I knew when all that was going on and you were just the on-call Sal and that MY doctor had just left 17 minutes ago and that I was a first time mom having twins and that my water broke unexpectedly and that I was 4 weeks early and that I was scared and alone (mentally) and that you were Sal and were insisting that I put my diffuser on with my oils and I bring them with us into the OR and that your hands were so cold when you put them on my forehead and… that felt so perfect at that time…
I knew then.
Tell me like it is, bitch, and we will be perfectly fine together.
Karen was also a nursing Goddess, which just has to be mentioned just in case she ever sees this and remembers me.
Us. (Im working on my pronouns)
If it wasn’t for you and your team of amazingness at that very hour and those very minutes in that very hospital room, I likely would’ve melted down into oblivion. It was hard enough knowing that I would no longer be protecting my nuggets the best way I knew how anymore and that you would be taking them from me, but you were a stranger, down to the very definition of that exact word. Although completely unfair, I had a love/hate relationship with you before you even knew it because the only thing I truly knew then was that I was petrified of not being pregnant anymore. It would be you who took them from me and placed them in my arms to protect the best way I knew how, but it would be you who would let me go into the world with two new humans without regard for how I would care for them and if I would screw them royally, or worse, kill them somehow. How can these doctors trust these people with taking babies home when they can’t, in fact, take care of themselves?
And giving birth for the first time, believe it or not, is not scary at all. #saidnooneever
When you have a strangerdoctor who will now perform what could be one of the greatest surgeries of all time on you and they only know you as Vagina #3433, it’s a tough pill to swallow. But as it stood, you made it slightly easy for me. I prepared my whole life for giving birth only to have that plan shot to Hell when I found out we were having twins. THEN I spent 9 months finding the perfect set of OB docs, having birth plan conversations, meeting each one and having them inspect my hooha and document my every move because I was high-risk, so it only made sense that absolutely NONE of it would matter when the hammer dropped. I have that luck, you know.
Flash forward to the OR, where dreams happen. (Or was it part-nightmare?!) Mainly because of the sub-zero temperature and the massive sets of eyes we had yet to meet behind the mask, this room of cold/empty/sterile-ness then became a scared place. One where tears were shed just as much as jokes/shivers/cries/laughs/blood.
As a doctor, you may go elbow-deep to the abdomen in order to deliver baby girls all the time, but as a woman, I can’t count that as part of my daily. But hey, glove up and hop in.
When I was visualizing the birth (because that’s what the books tell you to do), I never imagined that a scene from one of my favorite Disney movies would become a lifetime staple in my memory. So Alladin says it best when he asks Jasmine “do you trust me…?”
I’ll never forget as baby Jack took his first breaths and cried his first cries and made his first movements…because its then that my world turned upside down with Ava. I could see it in your eyes again. It was that kindred thing (and partly the monitors and what felt like dozens of those eyes going wide) that told me something was happening. It wasn’t good, but it was going to be if I trusted you.
And I did.
It was either you went in blindly after her and risked a whole lot more than any of us are willing to talk about or you prepped me for emergency C-section, my personal worst fear since Moose was delivered naturally.
Somehow, Dr. Stranger, I put my life and Ava Kates in your hands and you trusted yourself to do whatever you had to do to save hers. She was a diva in the womb and she was a diva making her way out, and that only made sense. Dr Nicole and the others at the practice may have known my full name, they may have known that I had hairy legs at my 2nd appointment and that I didn’t like my very first doctor because she thought she was better than me and that I hated peeing in cups. But you…you had the strength to place AK’s flailing little feet in your hands and pull her out, the best and only way you knew how. So while you were elbows in and Doctor someoneelse was literally jumping up and down on my stomach like Doctor Cowboy, and every scenario of death and dismemberment was playing loudly in my head, I just looked at you. For four long minutes I cried without screaming, like I wanted to, and kept trusting that God and Sal and Joe and Doctor Cowboy would keep me safe. I will forever have Joes hand and your eyes in those moments, rather than just a frozen tundra of fright.
I have you and the dozens of angelnurses and doctors to thank for making Joe and I feel so blessed and loved despite being in a room full of stranger eyes. You may remember me and have your stories to tell and want to see pictures of the babies and hug me and give me your cell phone number, but you will forever be an actual part of me.
Dr. Nicole may have been our Chosen Doctor, but you, Sal, were our Gift.
(While I want to edit this a thousand times, I chose to read it twice and let it fly. #twinfinityandbeyond )