I AWAKE AT 6 in a small cubbyhole on a cot in one of the hospital sleep rooms. I have been here all night with Lorraine, one of my student nurse-midwives. We admitted a young woman at 10 p.m. She delivered a healthy baby at 11:59. After the birth we had to repair the episiotomy, watch the mother during the immediate postpartum period and fill out charts and paperwork. It was 3 a.m. when we took the mother to the postpartum unit. Lorraine and I spent the next half hour reviewing the entire experience, from admission until after delivery.
I leave the hospital and ride along the Southeast Freeway toward Virginia. It is a quiet time in Washington; rush hour has not begun and the sun is beginning to come up.
I arrive home in time to see Gila and the boys off to school. Marvin is on his way out of the house to attend religious services. By 7, my family has started their day and I go up to catch a few hours of sleep.
After three hours of uninterrupted sleep, I start my morning agenda. A phone call to Ricki, one of by collaborators on the "Father Book," gives me the good news that our publisher is ready to go into second printing. The reviews have been favorable and I am more excited about this 230-page trade book than I am about my nursing textbook, which was published this winter. Tuesday
Our friends Lil and Sid call and invite us to hear the National Symphony in rehearsal. I am able to rearrange my schedule and Marvin and I join them for a morning of Beethoven.
I get home at noon in time to grab lunch and my lab coat. My next stop is the Arlington Health Clinic, where I work on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. The clinic is just down the street from my house and on nice days I can walk, but today I am late so I drive the two blocks.
The family planning clinic is busy. So many young girls, 15 and 16, wanting contraception. It is hard to believe these girls are sexually active on a regular basis. I offer them the loving care that I would want my own daughter to receive from a health care professional.
Alan and Jeremy come home all excited about going to their first Little League game of the season. They change into their uniforms; for the first time in three years their knickers fit the way they are supposed to.
Gila has stayed for a meeting at school and Marvin has appointments at the Office. I make dinner for myself and leave dinner for the rest of the family when they come home.
Every Tuesday night I teach childbirth preparation classes at D.C. General Hospital. The classes are free to those who plan to deliver at D.C. General. I come home clost to 10. Wednesday
My first telephone call is to the page operators. I am on call today until 3 and I must let them know that I can be reached either via home phone or my Bellboy.
Just as I am about to sit down and have my coffee, my Bellboy goes off. I call the page and find out that one of our nurse-midwifery patients is in labor. She is told to meet me at the hospital.
I contact Terry, the student on call with me today, and get my lunch and books together. I take a change of clothing with me for an afternoon reception which Georgetown's school of nursing is sponsoring in honor of the publication of my two books. We also will see a new film on nurse-midwifery in America, "Daughters of Time."
When I arrive at the hospital, I find the mother-to-be quite calm. She is in early labor and still comfortable. I get initial information and by the time Terry arrives, we are ready to take her to the labor and delivery unit.
The hospital residents do not agree with our nurse-midwifery plans. I explain to them what we are doing and why. As nurse-midwives, we only care for uncomplicated normal obstetrical clients, and do not use any intervention unless absolutely necessary. Finally, the residents let us proceed.
Soon it is 3 p.m. I am going off duty and JoAnna is coming on. Since there is no student on call with her, she will deliver this baby herself. I feel bad that she will miss the reception, but we always try to stay with our mothers throughout labor and delivery.
The traffic is heavy as I head across town toward the university at 4. The reception turns out to be beautiful. I am most excited when the dean of the nursing school announces that the junior class will use our textbook, "The Nurse and the Childbearing Family," next fall. I call Wini, my co-author, and give her the good news. Thursday
I arrive in the Arlington Health Clinic at 8. This morning we see maternity patients, all ages and nationalities. I have to examine two women who don't speak English. One tells me through an interpreter that her first baby died during childbirth in her home country. I try to assure her that we will do everything possible to make sure she and the baby are well.
Clinic runs until noon and then I dash off to meet an old friend for lunch. One thing we talk about is the advantage of having nurse-midwifery services available at all the local hospitals. There has been much opposition from local physicians because they fear economic competition.
Today's faculty meeting has been cancelled but I go to Georgetown to pick up by mail and handle a few teaching responsibilities. By 4, I am home making dinner. Tonight I have a sisterhood board meeting to go to, but I am also on call till 7 a.m.
I drive Gila to her jazz class and decide to do my grocery shopping just in case I end up working all night and I am too tired in the morning to shop. I put my Bellboy in my coat pocket as we go out the door. My grocery cart is half full when I hear beep-beep-beep.
I find a pay phone and I am connected to a young mother. She is not sure if she is in labor. I tell her I will call her back in one hour. Within 45 minutes, I call my patient from home and find out it was false labor.
I make the school lunches for tomorrow and put my things near the door. I sit down to watch the news and soon I am asleep. Friday
The phone rings at 4:47 a.m. "Bash, are you on? We have one of your patients here asking for you." Before I leave the house, I call Alice, the student on today. I am at the hospital before 6. Alice and I admit the patient and stay with her to comfort her during contractions. She is quite uncomfortable but smiles when I tell her that she will be a mother in time for Mother's Day.
Carlene arrives at 8 to relieve me. It is the day before the Sabbath, and I must go home, cook and clean before sundown.
Gila comes home from school bringing me flowers for Mother's Day. Just before I light the Sabbath candles, I listen to a tape that our oldest son, Robert, has sent from Israel. I think back to 18 years ago, when he was 3 months old on my first Mother's Day.
Once I light the Sabbath candles at sundown there is peace. No phone calls and the hustle and bustle of the past week subsides. We eat dinner together as a family and share our week in review. I don't know how I could survive without the Sabbath. Saturday
My Sabbath morning is quiet and calm. I let the children sleep together longer than usual. In the midst of enjoying Ellen Goodman's reflections on Mother's Day, I hear a knock. It is a neighbor who recently had a baby and is having some difficulty breast-feeding. She did not want to disturb me with the telephone on the Sabbath. I invite her in and give her some advice.
It is a beautiful day as the children and I walk to the synagogue. At lunch after services, I discuss the problems of the sisterhood with some of the women. It is hard to find volunteers with so many women out working.
The afternoon is spent visiting, reading and walking. After sundown, I put my Bellboy on and call the page. I seem to have been on call a lot this week. Nevertheless, I go out for the evening and visit with friends. Sunday
"Happy Mother's Day. Can we bring you breakfast in bed?" Alan and Jeremy serve me breakfast. My thoughts go back to 10 years ago this weekend when we found out that I was pregnant with twins.
By 11, I am into the Sunday routine of laundry and carpooling to piano lessons, with newspapers all over the dining room table.
Our plans change when we learn of the death of a friend's father. The ride to the funeral is long on this rainy Sunday afternoon. Marvin and I have an hour each day to talk about many things that we don't have time to share during our busy week.
On the way home we stop and visit friends. Our boys have spent the afternoon there and do not want to go home. But it is getting late and there is school tomorrow.