I heard a woman crying out in pain, but didn’t think it too unusual, since my office (at the Royal Sussex County Hospital) is adjacent to A&E.
Every once in a while I hear people crying out in pain or the occasional drunk person crying at the top of his/her lungs… (which by the way is a very distinctive type of crying. It’s more like sound someone would make if their heart was hurting; as opposed to a physical pain sound; either way it’s gut wrenching, just the same.)
Today was different than anything I had ever heard, since I started working at the RSCH. This woman’s cry’s was more guttural and rhythmic; and it seemed to be coming from within her soul!
The cries became louder and louder over the minute or so I was conscious of hearing them. I remember thinking, “I hope a Nurse or Doctor get to her soon, because this sounds serious.”
Then I heard someone yell, “The baby’s coming!”
You have to understand, I work on a ward where the average age of our patients is about 70! Most of our patients are very elderly and sick. I don’t get to see a lot of children or babies.
So this I had to see!
I ran into the hall and about 15 feet away from the entrance to my office, was a woman, on her knees; gripping the arms of the wheelchair (that I assume, until a minute or so ago, she had been sitting in!) She was now wailing in pain.
There were already a few people squatting down behind her, so I knelt down next to her; I started rubbing her back and whispering into her ear, telling her how GREAT she was doing and how everything was going to be fine.
Within about 30 seconds (no joke!), I look over to see a chubby, wet, purplish, little, baby girl pop out into the air!
One of our doctors was there just in time to catch her just as a nurse came running around the corner with towels.
I heard someone yelling for “clamps” and then heard the sound of a new born baby crying.
There is no other sound, like that, in all the world.
One of the nurses yelled, “Can all non-essential people, please, step back,”and I took that as my cue, to step away and watch from my office door.
The staff were quick to put up screens and give the poor woman and her daughter some privacy, which was good! And the hallway was left littered with non hospital employees, standing around with stunned looks on their faces, not knowing how to get where they were going.
A newborn baby’s cry was still very much present.
About 10 minutes later I left my office to go over to the ward and they had just started rolling the woman down the corridor, off to maternity, I imagine… As they rolled her past me, she was all smiles and holding her brand new baby girl in her arms; the baby was wrapped in blood stained hospital towels, and still screaming her head off!
I smiled at them both and they passed by and tears came to my eyes.
How amazingly beautiful.
My last blog post was about dying; as are so many of my writings, thoughts, and conversations… but this, THIS was all about LIFE. Life at it’s most real and at it’s rawest.
I thought about the family, all the way home; I imagined how years from now, the little girl will ask Mommy and Daddy what happened on the day she was born… and they will tell their beautiful, little girl how she was so excited to be born, that she just could not wait! They will explain how she was born in a hallway, at the hospital, while her Mom was kneeling on a dirty floor, with strangers all around…
Hopefully they’ll all laugh and remember it as the best day of their lives!
I know, as days go… this one was definitely right up for me!