Except for the fact that he wasn't there when we needed him to be because he was in surgery delivering someone else's child, I don't remember very much about the OB who delivered Thomas.
He wasn't around all that much. I think he came in just once before the decision to move to a C-section was made after 19 hours of labor and three hours of OB-less pushing.
But I do remember the brief visit he paid to us in my hospital room the day Thomas died.
It was evening, and dim in my room. He hovered near the door, reluctant to move further in, and he leaned almost casually against the wall.
He had the unfortunate nervous habit of punctuating everything he said with a smile. And now, as I look back, it's horrifying to think that he should have stood there grinning just hours after my child died while telling me that "next time" they'd do a C-section at 37 weeks and all would be fine.
Next time. Fine. Sure.
In my haze of shock and grief I found this comforting. I grabbed his words and held them tightly to me. Next time. Good, we'll just sweep this present catastrophe away and look to next time when everything will work out just perfectly.
I suppose it's what he had to do to sweep away whatever feelings of culpability he may have had. Promise the stricken parents that you've figured out a foolproof way for this not to happen again. There. Done. Ahhhhh, much better.
It was the last time we saw him. I was there for a full 6 days, and he came in just once. His ridiculous grinning and blathering was finally interrupted by the coroner and he bid a hasty and grateful retreat.
Funny what comes back to you for no good reason.
I wonder if he ever thinks of us. I wonder if he remembers us at all. I often imagine people leaving me to run gratefully home to their own lives, and if anyone had cause and opportunity to do just that, it was certainly him.