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Faith in Vermont: Born in Vermont

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Posted on June 25, 2013 | Blog Category:
By Faith Gong



This Father’s Day, the Gong family did our part to increase Vermont’s native population: at 3:30 AM, our fourth daughter, Abigail Esther, was born at Porter Hospital’s Birthing Center in Middlebury.

Although our three older daughters remember little to none of their pre-Vermont lives, Abigail is the only Gong who might possibly be considered a “true Vermonter.” I write “might possibly,” because I know that it takes more than simply being born in Vermont to be labeled a true Vermonter.  Figures may vary, but I’ve been told that only when one’s family has resided in Vermont for six generations can one lay claim to being a legitimate Vermonter. In fact, we know certain nameless people who seem to be as Vermont-y as they come – dairy farming, hunting and fishing, beard- and flannel-wearing folk who’ve lived in Vermont for eight decades – whose most shameful secret is the fact that their parents came from New Jersey.

So, in all likelihood, Abigail will always be known as “the daughter of those people from California.”

That said, there are certain things about our newest daughter that set her apart from her big sisters in a way that can only be described as “Vermont-y.” For instance, her heart rate is – and was even in utero – extremely relaxed; healthy, but low enough to make the pediatrician take a second listen before declaring that’s  “just how she is.” Abigail was maddeningly relaxed about being born, as well, arriving ten days past her due date. And she outweighed all of her sisters by more than a full pound. All of which seem to indicate that this baby thrived on a pre-birth diet of cheddar cheese, whole milk, and maple syrup, and that she’s already embraced the slower pace of Vermont life.

The highlight of Abigail’s Vermont birth was our experience at the Porter Birthing Center.

Our three oldest girls were born at a large urban teaching hospital in Oakland, California. Their births were each uniquely special, and we have a huge fondness for the hospital that helped us produce three healthy girls. But here’s a rough sketch of how most of those births unfolded:

We’d arrive at the hospital and pass through the security guard and metal detector to the ER waiting room, where a nurse with a wheelchair would arrive and take us to the birthing wing. Labor would progress, with nurses I’d never seen before constantly asking if I wanted anything for the pain. I can’t ever recall being offered juice or ice chips, and if you liked to labor while sitting atop a large exercise ball (which I do), you had to bring your own. At the moment when birth was imminent, approximately eight new people would rush into the delivery room. These included assorted nurses, the medical resident who would deliver the baby (whom I’d first met briefly upon arrival) and the attending physician; all of these people would burst through the doors like it was the grand finale of some antic 1920s musical. Post-birth, the baby and I would be wheeled down to the recovery wing, where private rooms were only guaranteed if you’d had surgery. (If you were lucky and the hospital wasn’t too busy, you might not have a roommate, but you’d still have to share the bathroom that connected two recovery rooms with at least one other new mom.)

Now, here’s how things worked at Porter:

We entered the hospital – no security guard, no metal detector – and were waved through by the ER receptionist (my doctor having already called ahead.) We strolled up to the Birthing Center, where nurses we knew led us to an enormous private room with views of the Green Mountains, where we’d stay for the birth and recovery. My doctor arrived seconds later and sat with me, chatting, for at least 30 minutes while I got settled in. Having never before experienced this, I found it confusing at first: What’s wrong? Why is she still here? Everyone seemed very concerned with making me comfortable: fetching an exercise ball for me to sit on, getting me ice chips, wondering whether I’d like to use the enormous tub in my private restroom. When they started asking about the room’s lighting scheme (Should we dim the lights? Maybe leave this one on?), my husband and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.

Once the rubber really started to hit the road, so to speak, my doctor returned and stayed me for a full hour until Abigail finally appeared. She made me feel like a superhero, coaching me through the entire process. When I asked whether I should consider taking anything for the pain, “Nah,” my doctor replied, “you don’t need it.” Abigail was greeted by my doctor and two nurses – not the entire chorus line. And the first thing my doctor did, post-birth, was to get me some juice.

We weren’t sure what to expect – okay, to be honest, we were a little nervous – when it came to giving birth in a small-town hospital. But as the sun rose over the Green Mountains on Father’s Day, my husband and I agreed: this had been the best birth experience of all.

So, to the doctors and nurses and staff who make the Porter Birthing Center function: a huge THANK YOU from our family. You’ve just made Addison County a little bit crazier.  

Faith Gong has worked as an elementary school teacher, a freelance photographer, and a nonprofit manager. Since moving to Addison County in 2011, her work has involved caring for a house in the woods, four young daughters, one anxiety-prone puppy — and writing for her blog, The Pickle Patch.

This Father’s Day, the Gong family did our part to increase Vermont’s native population: at 3:30 AM, our fourth daughter, Abigail Esther, was born at Porter Hospital’s Birthing Center in Middlebury.

Although our three older daughters remember little to none of their pre-Vermont lives, Abigail is the only Gong who might possibly be considered a “true Vermonter.” I write “might possibly,” because I know that it takes more than simply being born in Vermont to be labeled a true Vermonter.  Figures may vary, but I’ve been told that only when one’s family has resided in Vermont for six generations can one lay claim to being a legitimate Vermonter. In fact, we know certain nameless people who seem to be as Vermont-y as they come – dairy farming, hunting and fishing, beard- and flannel-wearing folk who’ve lived in Vermont for eight decades – whose most shameful secret is the fact that their parents came from New Jersey.

So, in all likelihood, Abigail will always be known as “the daughter of those people from California.”

That said, there are certain things about our newest daughter that set her apart from her big sisters in a way that can only be described as “Vermont-y.” For instance, her heart rate is – and was even in utero – extremely relaxed; healthy, but low enough to make the pediatrician take a second listen before declaring that’s  “just how she is.” Abigail was maddeningly relaxed about being born, as well, arriving ten days past her due date. And she outweighed all of her sisters by more than a full pound. All of which seem to indicate that this baby thrived on a pre-birth diet of cheddar cheese, whole milk, and maple syrup, and that she’s already embraced the slower pace of Vermont life.

The highlight of Abigail’s Vermont birth was our experience at the Porter Birthing Center.

Our three oldest girls were born at a large urban teaching hospital in Oakland, California. Their births were each uniquely special, and we have a huge fondness for the hospital that helped us produce three healthy girls. But here’s a rough sketch of how most of those births unfolded:

We’d arrive at the hospital and pass through the security guard and metal detector to the ER waiting room, where a nurse with a wheelchair would arrive and take us to the birthing wing. Labor would progress, with nurses I’d never seen before constantly asking if I wanted anything for the pain. I can’t ever recall being offered juice or ice chips, and if you liked to labor while sitting atop a large exercise ball (which I do), you had to bring your own. At the moment when birth was imminent, approximately eight new people would rush into the delivery room. These included assorted nurses, the medical resident who would deliver the baby (whom I’d first met briefly upon arrival) and the attending physician; all of these people would burst through the doors like it was the grand finale of some antic 1920s musical. Post-birth, the baby and I would be wheeled down to the recovery wing, where private rooms were only guaranteed if you’d had surgery. (If you were lucky and the hospital wasn’t too busy, you might not have a roommate, but you’d still have to share the bathroom that connected two recovery rooms with at least one other new mom.)

Now, here’s how things worked at Porter:

We entered the hospital – no security guard, no metal detector – and were waved through by the ER receptionist (my doctor having already called ahead.) We strolled up to the Birthing Center, where nurses we knew led us to an enormous private room with views of the Green Mountains, where we’d stay for the birth and recovery. My doctor arrived seconds later and sat with me, chatting, for at least 30 minutes while I got settled in. Having never before experienced this, I found it confusing at first: What’s wrong? Why is she still here? Everyone seemed very concerned with making me comfortable: fetching an exercise ball for me to sit on, getting me ice chips, wondering whether I’d like to use the enormous tub in my private restroom. When they started asking about the room’s lighting scheme (Should we dim the lights? Maybe leave this one on?), my husband and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.

Once the rubber really started to hit the road, so to speak, my doctor returned and stayed me for a full hour until Abigail finally appeared. She made me feel like a superhero, coaching me through the entire process. When I asked whether I should consider taking anything for the pain, “Nah,” my doctor replied, “you don’t need it.” Abigail was greeted by my doctor and two nurses – not the entire chorus line. And the first thing my doctor did, post-birth, was to get me some juice.

We weren’t sure what to expect – okay, to be honest, we were a little nervous – when it came to giving birth in a small-town hospital. But as the sun rose over the Green Mountains on Father’s Day, my husband and I agreed: this had been the best birth experience of all.

So, to the doctors and nurses and staff who make the Porter Birthing Center function: a huge THANK YOU from our family. You’ve just made Addison County a little bit crazier.  

Faith Gong has worked as an elementary school teacher, a freelance photographer, and a nonprofit manager. Since moving to Addison County in 2011, her work has involved caring for a house in the woods, four young daughters, one anxiety-prone puppy — and writing for her blog, The Pickle Patch.

Faith Gong has worked as an elementary school teacher, a freelance photographer, and a nonprofit manager. Since moving to Addison County in 2011, her work has involved caring for a house in the woods, three young daughters (with another on the way), one anxiety-prone puppy — and writing for her blog, The Pickle Patch. - See more at: http://www.addisonindependent.com/201306faith-vermont-over-sharing#sthash.cCFpwwI1.dpuf

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