Previously published on and then deleted from Persona Paper
Those were the words I heard on April 29, 1981, shortly after I delivered my second oldest daughter. The doctor went on to explain that my baby had swallowed meconium. I had no idea what that was. I’d never heard the word before. When he explained that it was what she expelled from her body at delivery, I understood it to be baby waste. But I hadn’t a clue what it meant for a baby to breathe in or swallow meconium during delivery. I thanked my obstetrician, but not until my daughter was about 9 or 10 years old did I fully understanding just how lucky I really was.
Because of what happened prior to my baby’s birth, I was a little upset with my obstetrician. I had called him to tell him I was in labor and he sighed, “Ugh, I’m so exhausted. I’ve been up all night delivering another baby.” I wanted to say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll tell my baby to come when it’s more convenient for you,” but I held my tongue. Still I wasn’t very happy with him that day, and I honestly didn’t know how devastating meconium could be.
When my daughter was 9 or 10, Oprah or Dr. Phil (I can’t remember which one) had a guest on his or her talk show whose son had breathed in meconium at birth. At the time of the program, this boy and my daughter were the same age. The mom held her son as she would hold an infant. His legs dangled on the floor, and his face showed that he’d never progressed beyond infancy. He would never walk or talk. He would never go to school or grow up or get married or have children. He would never do anything beyond getting fed, bathed, and changed.
The memory of my doctor’s words slammed into me so hard, I shed tears of sorrow for the boy and his parents, tears of relief for myself and my family, and tears of guilt for feeling relieved. When I looked at my vibrant, bright, and beautiful daughter, I thanked God for giving that doctor the brains and skills necessary for delivering to me a healthy little girl and I prayed that the family of that young boy received as many blessings as I have received in my life.
Photo above is of my beautiful daughter, Lindsey, on the day of her wedding shower. She is now married and will be celebrating her 34th birthday at the end of this month.