McClendon Studios Presents: Zero, Doctor
The day we found out Suzanne was pregnant with our second child, Laynie, was the same day I was fired from my job as district manager from the local newspaper. Every month before that, I had made District Manager of the Month.
This firing meant we had no insurance, no job, and no way to pick up the premium for the insurance if we chose the COBRA option on the insurance.
We had previously obtained the obstetrical services of the most prestigious OB/GYN group in the county. Now, we could not pay them.
Finally, I landed a job working for a small, mom-and-pop collection agency. They offered no insurance plan at all.
I worked out payments with the OB/GYN’s office, but for some oddreason they did not want the payments until after the baby was born. We now had Medicaid. This group only accepted Medicaid patients who were considered “high risk”.
Finally, the day came. Suzanne’s sister was in the birthing room with us. Suzanne had assisted her sister during her delivery right at five months earlier.
The same doctor that had delivered our first son was the on-call doctor for the OB/GYN group. A doctor came in and introduced himself as the on-call pediatrician for the hospital and said, “When the baby is born, if everything is okay with the baby, we will place the baby right up here on mommy’s chest so that you can bond.
The labor progressed normally. The doctor came in and introduced two residents, he said, "They are in training and are my backup doctors in case we have two mommies delivering at one time."
The clock ticked past midnight. About a half an hour later, labor stepped up big time. At 12:34 AM, our beautiful baby girl was born. She was blue, and not crying.
Instead of placing the baby on mommy’s chest like the pediatrician had said, they whisked her away to the other side of the room and on a treatment area with a bright light and a lot of alarms.
An alarm would sound. The pediatrician would say, “APGAR, nurse?” She would respond in an almost monotone voice, “Zero, Doctor.” Another alarm would sound, drugs were administered. Again the doctor said, APGAR?” The nurse replied, “Zero, Doctor.” Another alarm sounded. The nurse said, “Code, Doctor.” The pediatrician said, “Code Blue, all.”
By now, all the doctors except one of the backup doctors had gathered around the table with our baby. The backup doctor delivered the placenta. Two nurses and the backup doctor stay with Suzanne the whole time.
More doctors rush in. I see the hospital chief of staff come in. He is the same doctor that pronounced my father dead over three years ago. His presence tells us everything.
The nurse repeats in her monotone voice, "CODE, Doctor.””
The chief of staff steps up to the table. The pediatrician says, "Code Blue, Doctor.”
The chief of staff orders another drug. The nurse says again, “Zero, Doctor.” The alarms grow quiet, the baby cries. The pediatrician says, “Cancel Code Blue.”
The nurse says, "APGAR rising." We later learn that that nurse is speaking into a microphone so that there will be an audio recording for the medical records.
Shortly, the chief of staff leaves the room. The baby is still crying. The pediatrician and the team of what seems like an army platoon surround Suzanne and Laynie is placed on Suzanne’s chest. She is still a little blue and her feet appear to be on her legs sideways.
Bright and early that morning, Dr. Gregory Baird, the same doctor who came to my Granny for Short’s house when my aunt asked him to be there when she told my grandmother my fatherhad died, gave little Laynie a head-to-toe check.
He was also the same doctor who checked on Jared when he stuck the scissors in his eye. Dr. Baird was also our family doctor, friend, and deacon at our church
Dr. Baird told Suzanne that, even though Laynie went past her due date, she was still premature. He allowed her to go home the same day she was born.
We were worried during the first few hours of her life. Truth be known, we have not stopped worrying about her, or any of the others, for that matter.