Tara looked at Diane and Bill’s pale faces, and Marley with her wrinkled forehead and motherly hands extended.
“Violet is having difficulty breathing, but she is responding to oxygen.” She focused her attention on Marley. “Violet was completely dependent on you for every life function while inside your womb, and although she had long practiced breathing motions before she was born, now she has to breathe air on her own. Her lungs expanded after delivery, but some fluid may have remained inside her lungs, which could be making her struggle to keep those tiny airways completely inflated.”
“That’s exactly right,” Doug added. “But, as Dr. Ross explained, your baby is adjusting to breathing on her own. She responded nicely to additional oxygen, so that certainly is a positive sign.”
“But why were her lips blue? I saw it myself!” Diane blurted.
“After babies are born they have to switch over their circulatory system, including their heart and lungs. I see this often enough, and most of the time they do quite well within a few hours, requiring less oxygen and then none at all.”
“Most of the time?” the senator pressed.
“Mom, stop! You heard Dr. Ross and Dr. Michaels. They said they see this all the time. Violet is going to be fine.”
“Of course she is,” Doug said. “We’re going to take her to the special care area of the nursery, where we’ll keep her on some low-level oxygen,” he added calmly, emphasizing low level.
Tara needed that confirmation, too. Her racing heartbeat finally ebbed, making it easier to maintain a calm exterior and professional demeanor.
“We’ll watch her, and do some blood work,” Doug further explained.
“You’re not going to take my granddaughter to the neonatal intensive care unit?”
Doug shook his head, clearly trying to de-escalate the senator’s increasingly volatile emotions. “No, there’s no need to at this time. We have an excellent level-2 neonatal unit. If I was concerned that Violet needed a higher level of neonatal care, I would be honest with you and make arrangements for her transfer to the unit at Westchester Hospital and Clinics. But right now that’s not the case.”
Diane glared at Tara. “Perhaps we should have gone there to begin with!”
That stab blazed fire in Tara’s heart. She could have responded in kind with, “That’s fine with me, since I’m an Associate Professor in the OB/GYN Department there.” But instead she didn’t, swallowing the pain. The senator and protective mother, and now grandmother, was only lashing out from her pain.
Bill dug his fingers into Diane’s shoulder, and he reined in his mother-in-law. “Diane, that’s enough.”
“Okay, let’s all calm down. Violet is wonderful hands,” Georgia said.
The room went silent except for the electronic beeping of Violet’s heart.
While Lexi pushed the neonatal isolette into the room, Bill veered away from Diane, leaving the senator alone.
Tara wrapped the baby in a blanket and handed her briefly to Marley and Bill, who kissed their baby girl on her head. The couple ignored Diane, keeping the meddling woman and her wringing hands separate from them.
Although Tara placated the senator, and did have compassion for her, she agreed to deliver Marley and Bill’s baby because she bonded with the sweet couple. It was Marley who wanted her mother present at the birth, and Tara was pretty sure Marley was regretting that decision at the moment. However, family dynamics were often complex, and could turn discordant in times of stress, and that included Tara’s family. Once panic and tempers cool, families unite. At least that was her experience.
“Mommy and Daddy will be right here,” Bill cooed to his newborn daughter.
“I need to take the baby now,” Tara said softly.
This never got any easier, especially since the delivery went without a hitch. No one expected this. But that was obstetrics, where situations could flip in seconds.
Marley sniffed. “Okay,” she said and surrendered her baby.
“It will be all right,” Tara reassured them.
Bill and Marley nodded while Diane glared, lips pursed, at Tara.
Tara acknowledged the woman, giving the distraught senator a slow bow of her head, gently placed baby Violet into the isolette, and then followed Doug and Lexi while they escorted the newborn from the room.
“Oh, Dr. Ross,” Diane called.
Tara turned towards her. “Yes?”
The senator shot her finger at Tara.
“If anything happens to my granddaughter…”
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