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then Uma

And then came UMA.

Why, why would I conjure such words, from where in my mental recesses, as quiet and powerful and expansive. That is how Uma feels to me.

Her arrival was almost peaceful from beginning to beginning.
But then it wasn’t.

What we had thought of as quiet in the womb turned out to be quiescent.

Uma arrived at 4:03 PM on April 28th, 2017, and within a few minutes we had called 911.


She’d not taken in enough oxygen, and became clammy, cold to the touch and bluish all over. Our midwife tapped me on the shoulder while talking to the dispatcher, and told me to “get dressed”. I did. She stayed on the line.

Roxanne was on the living room floor, surrounded with the couch pillows, blankets, absorbent pads, opened bandage packages, thrown clothes. She had her newborn on her chest and her placenta in a plastic bag at her side.  Our midwife pressed our second midwife for Uma’s pulse for the second time and grabbed for the tiniest resuscitation bag and mask you’ve ever imagined existed, then Roxanne looked at me like with fear in earnest.

It went from resuscitation on our living room floor to – transport to hospital in a matter of two minutes.
We placed the call.
Four minutes later the first police officer arrived at our door.
Her partner walked in next.
Then another minute, and the first firemen walked through our door.

Rumi stood in the inflatable pool we’d set up in our dining room. We never had the opportunity to fill it, or get into its big wet warm belly to give birth. Uma came too fast. So now Rumi kept three to five firemen and police women entertained while EMS and even more firemen rigged up a gurney for Roxanne and while I wrangled Uma’s car seat from the car for her to be in on the way to the hospital. She was a few minutes old and going for her first car ride in a car seat that had never been fitted to her, of course.

Rumi and I stayed at home.
Roxanne, Uma, and our midwife had gone on to the hospital.
We cleaned up. Waited for a call.

The call came. Uma was admitted and in stable condition in the NICU.
Somehow Roxanne had arranged for a room in which to stay in the hospital. Or it was arranged for her. To my perspective, it just materialized, and when the call finally did come, it was her, telling me that Uma was OK, that the was being given oxygen and iv antibiotics, but that she was indeed OK. For now.

Roxanne, of course, had just given birth to a child three hours ago, and very much needed all of the care of a woman in such a position.

Rumi and I arrived at the hospital between 8 & 9 PM. Roxanne was in a patient’s room, 2125, on the second floor. I still don’t know how it was that this room was provided for or arranged. Lest I forget, I would like to say here – hospitals are not hotels.

We had come ready to spend the night, Rumi and I, all of us, in the hospital room. After getting oriented by Roxanne as to her condition, and Uma’s condition, then helping them set up for a short while – I went up to see Uma.

Uma, hours old, under an oxygen mask, receiving IV antibiotics – with heart rate and blood oxygenation monitors.



Published in Family