Home » Millerton News Letters Editor » Letter to the Editor - The Millerton News - 9-29-22

Letter to the Editor - The Millerton News - 9-29-22

A physician’s story of giving birth

It was a cold dark December night as a I finished seeing patients in the Amenia clinic.  As always, it was busy and one of the last patients was a lovely nurse who needed prompt attention for her painful urination.  My uterine contractions, which had been sporadic for weeks, seemed more regular now.  When I noticed a bloody show, I alerted my colleague Dr. Anna Timell. We are family practice doctors; and in our training we had delivered babies.  She did an exam and confirmed that my cervix was beginning to dilate.  My husband, who had to rush up from his work in Westchester County, arrived at last.  Snow was gently falling but the wind was picking up.

I have great respect for my colleagues at Sharon Hospital though it is the smallest hospital I have ever worked in.  The physicians are extremely well-trained and competent.  It punches way above its weight in experience and expertise.  Because I hoped to keep my professional and private lives somewhat separate, I planned to deliver at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie.  In good weather that is a 45-minute drive from Amenia.  Dr. Timell said she would drive behind us in case there was an emergency. The storm was gathering strength.  Though Sharon Hospital would have no prenatal records for me it was only ten minutes away so we decided to go there.

During the short drive the labor pains increased considerably.  On arrival I was whisked quickly up to labor and delivery.  The nurses noted that I was fully dilated and wanting to push.  Dr. Mortman, who was still in his street clothes, had rushed over when Dr. Timell called to let him know what was happening. He asked me to please hold on a minute, because in addition to a sterile gown he wanted to put on his galoshes.  I thought this was funny, but it was very practical as there can be a lot of blood dripping on your feet during a delivery.  The whole team in the delivery room operated with the utmost professionalism; they were calm, smiling, and made me feel completely secure.

I was lying draped on the operating table when Dr. Mortman looked at me kindly and said don’t push, just give a little cough.  And with that Abraham was born safe and sound.  A few minutes later I saw Dr. Timell’s face peeking through the round operating room window. She could hardly believe that the newborn baby was suckling at my breast just 20 minutes after we arrived at Sharon Hospital.

The unspoken part of this tale is that the outcome could have been very different.  I was a 39-year-old woman in her third pregnancy and if Vassar Brothers Hospital was the only option for me the community might have lost a mother, a baby, and a family doctor.

Lisa Straus, MD


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