8:37 AM, Dec. 14, 1976. Me, stretched out on an operating room table at Portland's Wilcox/Good Samaritan Hospital, numb from the armpits down thanks to the miracle of modern spinal anesthesia. Ralph sitting in a chair at my head, the first father allowed to be present during a C-section in the hospital’s history. They told him that he had to stay seated and out of their way. “If you faint, we’ll just step over you,” they told him.
I worked in the ICU as a nurse then, and knew most of the people in Labor & Delivery; thus, the room was full of friends, including my number one choice of anesthesiologist, Dr. Jerry Bass. Because of problems with my blood pressure during the latter part of the pregnancy (according to Dr. Bergstrom, my body was a hostile environment for the baby), I was having a C-section at about 35 weeks gestation, amniocentesis having verified that the baby’s lungs were mature enough to be delivered.
At about 8:33 AM, Dr. Bergstrom made the incision—there was no pain, but lots of really weird tugging and pressure. He delivered the head and said, “Cute little baby ears.” I remember asking if it was a boy or a girl. (I really, really, REALLY wanted a first-born girl.) He said, “I can’t tell from the ears!”
At 8:37, there was a big tug and Dr. Bergstrom said, “It’s a girl!” And with that, Katie Marie Pesznecker (who was already crying loudly) was born. Everyone in the delivery room laughed and clapped (really—they applauded her!). Birth weight was 6 lbs 3 oz, length 18”. Oh—and Ralph didn’t faint.
We went home two days later. I remember the really odd feeling when Ralph and walked into the house. Two of us had left, and three of us returned. All of a sudden, there was this tiny new human staying with us, sleeping spring-loaded in an antique laundry basket bassinette next to the Christmas tree.
I’m thinking about this, because today this little baby is 29 years old. Have a great, wonderful, amazing day, Kate! I love you! Many, many blessings….