My dad calls our family the Leaky-Eyed-Scotts, because great emotion — both positive and negative — has the capacity to lubricate our tear ducts. It’s not surprising, therefore, that I cried the first time I saw a baby delivered.
I’d seen a film, so I wasn’t completely naive, but I still found the experience overwhelming: The woman making those animalistic sounds you never hear elsewhere; the oval shape that grew in mysterious places, until it seemed to loom larger than a spaceship; the splash of blood and amniotic fluid, with their copper and marine scents. The squashed nose and lusty cry of an infant.
Beautiful, mystifying. Mystical.
When I graduated and went into medical practice, began doing deliveries on my own, it shifted a bit. I never lost my sense of wonder — thank God, for that would have been tragic — but life became tempered with a certain question: When would this baby come?
Sometimes I think I felt the urgency of the clock more than the couples. Silly, huh? And yet it was true. I’d care for a woman for eight months and then have a holiday coming up or a weekend I really needed to take off. I’d feel torn about the possibility of missing the “crowning” day. I even had a fight or two with the ToolMaster about my priorities. (He was right too, dang the man. He’s nearly always right.)
Yet all that was as nothing compared to my distraction when a patient arrived in labor. My day revolved around such things as:
- Did I dare go get groceries? (Once I was at the store with a tantruming Molly and a full cart of groceries when the call came.)
- Did I dare take a shower?
- What would I do with the kids if the ToolMaster didn’t make it home in time?
- And of course, the ever-present: would that baby I was worried about be okay?
Just when I began to have strategies to handle all these things, sometimes several times in the same week, another wrinkle would emerge. I’d have to regroup.
All this makes for a certain amount of resilience and problem-solving, yes? You’d think all those years of experience would extrapolate to patience in dealing with an inbox, wouldn’t you?
Bwahaha. Oh, my friends, you — and I, as it turns out — are so deluded. I think I sprained my index finger yesterday from hitting the refresh button, and I’m not even on sub.
The good news is, I eventually found my peace by:
- Having Frank disconnect my Internet
- Talking my anxiety through with Rebecca Burrell
- Focusing on other writing.
- A walk.
But peeps, I do not want to be on the same learning curve with writing as I was obstetric deliveries. So hit me with it! Give me your best advice. Many of you are farther ahead on this writing path than I.
How do you cope with crickets in your inbox? How long did it take you to do so? If your answer requires that I purchase a pacifier, what brand should I obtain?