Most of you know I'm pretty intent and gung ho about natural births, least invasive medical involvement during pregnancy and birth, and so on. So, I got to thinking about Mary, about baby Jesus, about her birth in a stable. I don't think the stable was that much dirtier than the home, bedroom counterparts of that day. I mean they were made of mud, stone, dirt, etc. But, giving birth alone, with animals and a (let's be honest) clueless, brand-new husband as your only companions? Probably sucked, but Mary was a trooper right?
But, what if Mary had been pregnant and given birth in 2011? What would that birth look like? A whole, heck of a lot different that's for sure! Let's take a look...
--Scene: Doctor's office.----
Doctor (sarcastically): Soooo Mary, you said you're still a virgin eh? You've never had sex huh? Well, the test shows otherwise honey. You're definitely pregnant.
Mary: Well, I uh, I know, I said I was told I was going to be pregnant. But, um, yes, I'm not even married yet.
Doctor: Dear, we don't all have to be married to have sex or be pregnant. I just take care of the ones that are. Now, are you feeling okay? Does your mind seem to be a little off lately? Have you had any strange thoughts? Maybe you just don't remember the night you got pregnant, a little partying perhaps? (writes "watch mental status" in Mary's chart.) I could always have you talk to someone about it, or if you've always had some strange thoughts maybe we can get you some pills.
Mary: Um, no, no it's fine. I just must not remember clearly...
---A few months, a small wedding to Joseph, a lot of whispers and gossip later: A mid-pregnancy ultrasound.---
Tech: So, here's the heart, looks great. Brain looks fine. Measurements seem normal. Would you like to know the gender?
Mary: It's a boy, I'm having a son.
Tech: That's right! How did you know? Did you see it on the screen? I didn't even get there yet.
Mary: Uh..no, God told me.
Tech: Oh, I see. Well, anyhow, it definitely is a boy. Do you have a name picked out yet?
Mary: We're naming him Jesus.
Tech: Jesus eh? I haven't heard that one before and I've heard a lot of names, lots of strange ones too. Where'd you get that one? What does it mean?
Mary: It means "Savior, Messiah, God delivers". Jesus is the Son of God.
Tech: Huh...Son of God eh? Interesting. Well, I don't see any halos or blinding lights or angel wings on this baby, far as my ultrasound wand can see. Hehehe.
---Mary begins labor---
Mary: Joseph, I'm having contractions, it's time to go.
At the hospital....
Nurse: Sorry honey, it's pretty full in there tonight, guess it's a popular night for having a baby. I'll have to have you sit out here in the waiting room for a bit until I clean out a triage room.
Little while later....
Nurse: (Reading Mary's chart) So, you have a "special" baby in there eh? How have you been feeling? Have you had any strange thoughts lately, I mean besides the angels and Son of God stuff?
Mary: I'm having contractions, I'm in pain, can I please have a drink of water? Can I get up to use the bathroom?
Nurse: Nope. You stay laying in bed until the doctor comes to check you. And hold still so I can put this IV in.
Mary: IV? Why? For what?
Nurse: In case we need to give you fluids, pain meds, or if you need surgery, that sort of stuff. It's easier access for us, it's a lot quicker. What's your pain level right now anyway?
Mary: A 5 I guess.
Doctor: Ok Mary, so let's see where yu're at. We'll check you every few hours and see where you're at with this baby. I've heard a lot about this baby, anything special I should know, besides him being the "Son of God" haha. (Winks at Joseph) You God then Joseph?
Well, you're at a 4. If you're having a lot of pain, I can give you a shot of something, put something in your IV, until you're a bit further, then we can give you an epidural and you won't feel a thing.
Mary: I just want a drink of water and to use the bathroom please.
Doctor: Oh no, no water. You might need a c-section or something, so nothing goes in your stomach. I'll buzz the nurse, she can come back and help you move that IV pole and go to the bathroom.
Nurse: Hey Mary, you gotta use the bathroom eh? Well let's get you over there. You know, if you get an epidural we'll give you a catheter so you don't feel the need to go and won't even know when you're going. It's great.
Mary: Great? not feeling half my body is great?
Nurse: Sure is! Then giving birth is a breeze, well unless the baby gets stuck, or you're pelvis is too small-say you are pretty tiny thing, it might happen to you. You want me to call the anesthesiologist now for that epidural?
Mary: No, I'm okay right now. Joseph's helping me handle it and I'm praying and using some massage.
Nurse: Yeah, praying, praying it's over right? haha! Well, you buzz me when you're ready for those meds.
--Few hours later--
Doctor: You're at 10 Mary. Let's start pushing.
Mary: I have felt like pushing for an hour! They wouldn't let me until you were here!
Doctor: Well, let's get to it. You have an hour to get this baby out or we'll have to talk other options, I mean you've been in labor for 11 hours now.
Mary (under her breath): And yet you've made it feel like eternity! Hope the Son of God redeems you before I do!
After pushing for an hour and a half..
Doctor: Come on Mary! Get this baby out. Push harder. I don't know, maybe the baby's just too big. Maybe your pelvis is too small...we might need to start talking c-section. Nurse, check her IVs.
Mary: No! I can do this. I need to sit up, I need to change my position. Laying down just isn't working for me.
Doctor: Well honey, you standing up doesn't work for ME! I need to see what's going on and this is the best angle. So, let's try this again. Go!
Mary: What are we, in a friggin barn? Why can't I give birth the way I want to? Arrrgghh!
Doctor: That's it! There ya go, get mad!
---Finally, baby Jesus is out---
Nurse: It's definitely a boy!
Mary: Oh can I see him? Can I have him?
Doctor: first we need to wash him off a bit, I need to suction him out some more. Then we'll weigh him and let you have him for a bit.
Mary: I can wipe him off, please can I see his face?
Nurse: Here's a quick peek honey, I'm taking him over here to the isolette to get warm and clean. He weighs 7lbs and 12 oz.
Mary: (to herself) I'm warm, I think I could keep him warm. *Sigh*
Doctor: Hmm, we need to take him to the NICU, he seems to be, well "shining" a bit. We don't know what this means. We need to get some blood work and hook him up to monitors and we'll see what else.
Mary: I told you, he's Jesus, the Son of God. Please give me my baby and let me hold him.
Doctor: Do you want us to circumcise him while he's back there with us?
Mary: Well, we are Jewish, and usually have a ceremony for that....
Doctor: Oh I'll just do it quick today in case there are other things we need to take care of, like this shining thing.
Mary: Um, my religious beliefs...I want to have the ceremony, not in the hospital...
Doctor: Fine, I won't do it today. We'll let you know when we find something out about this shining thing, and his heart seems a bit big for a newborn...hopefully we won't have to transfer him to the special children's hospital a few hours away.
Mary: Of course his heart is big...my baby is fine, there's nothing wrong with him. I'd like him to stay here with me.
Doctor: well, these are normal procedures and protocol for when something doesn't go just right, the way we expect in a birth. And we'd better give you a shot, some pitocin to contract the uterus and some vitamin K, you seem a bit pale and tired, we'll check our blood too.
Mary: I just had a baby, of course I'm tired! Have you ever pushed a baby out?
Doctor: Well, um, no I'm a male, that's your job.
Mary: I'm fine! My baby is fine. Just please leave him here and let us have some time.
Doctor: I'm worried about your mental status Mary, you've made some far-fetched claims about this pregnancy and baby, and something is a bit off with him. Maybe we need a psych visit and some more blood work. Do you regularly take anything? Vitamins, supplements or illegal drugs?
....I'd like to think at this point, Joseph steps in and the doctor backs off... Of course the hospital really went into a frenzy when the wise men came to visit...