Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Did It Hurt Me To Be Born?"

Yesterday Catherine looked through her baby scrapbooks.  In it we have a few pictures of her birth, which was by c-section.  All of the shots are somewhat vague and you have to know what is happening to understand the pictures.  But they got Catherine's little mind working.

She asked me if I was asleep or awake during the surgery (she has had surgeries herself when she was awake, sedated, or completely anesthetized - so she knows that surgery can be performed in a number of ways).  I told her I was awake but the doctors had given me some strong "pain go-away medicine."

She asked me what I did during the surgery.  I told her that I listened to the doctors and nurses talking to each other.  Then, I listened to her (Catherine) cry as soon as she was born.

When I told her she cried when she was born, she gasped and asked "Did it hurt me to be born?  Why did I cry?  Did I get a boo-boo coming out of your tummy?"

I had never thought that my answer would have elicited that kind of a reaction.  Fortunately, I was able to think on my feet and reassure her that all was well.  I said "No you were not hurt.  You just didn't know any words yet because you had just been born.  But, you wanted to let all of us know you were there.  It was your way of saying "Hi!" 

This seemed like a logical explanation to her, so I was relieved.  I wasn't ready to tell her that less than half of the children with her condition survive to birth and that her cries were joyous sounds.  I wasn't ready to tell her that I knew that she would be taken immediately across town via ambulance to a children's hospital, leaving me in the birthing hospital for 48 hours by myself (Robby went with her in the ambulance).  I wasn't ready to tell her that another half of the babies with her condition do not survive the removal of the tumor.  I wasn't ready to tell her of my very real fear that "motherhood" to me would consist merely of hearing my baby cry and then lying in a bed across town while my child was cared for my nurses and then died. 

Instead I was able to pacify her curiosity with the explanation that she simply didn't know any words yet, being only 10 seconds old.

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