It was a necklace. A necklace of tiny plastic purple beads. Yes, those are definitely tiny plastic purple beads, or maybe not. Is that a sex toy? No, that is more ridiculous than a necklace. Well, then I guess it's an alien. I've entered the twilight zone and I am about to witness an alien birth. I'm not sure. I mean it's late and my first time but there was definitely something weird there, something weird coming out of this woman's vagina.
I composed my 3 am brain, willing out to figure out just what was happening. She was in labor, at her due date, and assured me that everything was normal. This may have been my first time, but it was not hers. They just waited a little too long, that was all. And I was stoked, so excited to get a classic delivery. A delivery that should go fast and smooth. I am one of the few paramedics who want to deliver a baby. We're 15 minutes out and she's ready to push. This is going to happen, and I enter the mode of this plane is taking off, I'm on it, and I might as well make the most of it. At the very least; fake it 'till I make it.
It took about two minutes for it to dawn on me. So sure and ready to see an infant head, the options of toys and necklaces should have been further down on the list. Certainly lower than the option of tiny purple baby toes. Doing my best to maintain my patented neutral face of "everything's fine as long as I look indifferent and ask the right questions" I ask when she last saw the doctor in my most calm voice.
The answer was buried in the next contraction, and from then on I didn't really get any answers at all, other than an exhausted nod.
I made eye contact with my driver and spun my finger in the air. With a raise of his eyebrows and a jolt backwards, I knew he got the message that the speed limit was now a suggestion. This seemed better that shouting, "The baby's coming out ******* backwards!!" like I wanted to. Neutral face, neutral face. I managed to explain in a potentially calm voice to the mother that her baby didn't get the memo that a dive the easiest way out of this mess, and I think she took it in stride. What's worse than giving birth in a moving ambulance? Giving birth to a baby that just might not fit out of the standard issue hole.
My phone rested tightly between my shoulder and my ear as I called the hospital back to explain our evolving situation. For the next 15 minutes she pushed and I completely revamped my policy on touching patients' bathing suit areas. Progress was slow and most of the baby didn't make an appearance until we were parked in the hallway of the ER, handing over to the maternity nurses. I could tell from their faces that they didn't believe this until they saw it. Like me, their faces changed from confident indifference, quickly to shock, and just as quickly back to what I will call the look of 'strictly business'.
I personally didn't push a breech baby out of me, the true star of this situation was the mom. Breech delivery is kind of a commitment you can't turn back from. Once little purple toes are visible, the system becomes irrevocably one way. With a mighty push, most of the baby was out. Neutral face, neutral face. Everything's cool, except now we had to get the head. For me, this was one of those magical times when a strange instinct takes over and does the right things for me. Suddenly it was out and as I watched, all of my fears stood on edge, ready to be realized, when the little thing let out a cry. Neutral face, neutral face. It was finally okay to relax, to be happy, to show one moment of emotion at work. It might have been a hideous baby, but for my memory, it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.