Bryson City Seasons — The Littlest Cherokee (Part 1)

This is from the twenty-first chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


The heart rate dropped, as did my hope of saving this baby. Mrs. Black Fox’s haunting chants only increased my anxiety as the sweat ran profusely down my brow. Louise dabbed my brow as I helped Sylvia onto her back.

The side-lying position had failed. Now I had no choice. I had to try to push the baby’s head back up the birth canal. I had never done this before, and I’d only seen it done once by one of my senior residents while on an obstetrics rotation at Charity Hospital in New Orleans during my medical school days. By pushing the head back into the birth canal, it would make the baby easier to remove with an emergency Cesarean birth.

Please hurry, Mitch! I thought.

Maxine quickly entered the room. “Mitch is coming! I’ve got the other nurses setting up the OR. Are you ready to transport her to the operating room?”

“Give me a minute, Maxine.” I turned back to my patient. “Sylvia, your baby is stuck and isn’t coming out. I’m going to try to push the baby’s head back into the birth canal, and then we’re going to rush you to the operating room for a C-section. We have to operate to save your baby!”

Sylvia nodded and then began weeping. Her great-grandmother’s chanting only increased in volume—as did my sweating and heart rate.

I slowly flexed the baby’s head and was surprised at how easily the head actually slid back into the birth canal. I was just getting ready to ask Maxine to help me transport Sylvia to the surgical suite when Dr. Mitchell burst through the door.

Although it was obvious from the sweat on his brow and his mussed-up hair that he had rushed here from bed, his demeanor, as always, was calm and unruffled.

To my utter surprise, he began to gown and glove. I walked over to him and leaned toward him. “Mitch, what are you doing? We’re getting ready to move her to OR for a stat C-section.”

Mitch looked at the patient and then turned his back to her. Leaning toward me, he whispered, “Walt, our anesthetists are both snowed in and can’t get here. County crews won’t be able to get Kim, who’s the closest, here for at least an hour. Bacon’s out of town, and other than me and our anesthetists, he’s the only one who can administer anesthesia. I’m going to have to show you an old-fashioned and very primitive way to get this baby out. Just go with me on this one, okay?”

I was shocked at what he had just told me and began to feel nauseous. I had never had a baby under my care die before. Although I had no idea what he had in mind, I had no choice but to trust him.

We both turned toward the baby. “Louise,” Mitch commanded, “hand Walt a Foley catheter; Maxine, get me a disposable scalpel with a #15 blade, will you?”

When Louise handed me the catheter, I gently slid it up the urethra and into the bladder. We could both see that the small trickle of urine was clear—indicating no trauma to the bladder.

I turned to see Mitch filling another syringe with lidocaine. The heart rate of the baby was slowing down.

Thirty beats per minute,” Maxine whispered—clearly concerned.

I knew we didn’t have much time. Apparently, so did Mrs. Black Fox, who now sat on the floor by the bed and began to weep out loud as she continued to chant.

What is he doing? I wondered as Mrs. Black Fox’s wails grew in intensity.

“Walt,” Mitch whispered, “you’re going to have to cut apart the symphysis of the pubic bone.”

“What?” I whispered back. I had never heard of such a thing. I had, of course, heard of the symphysis pubis, the ligamentous connection of the right and left pelvic bone—right above and behind the clitoris.

“Symphysiotomy,” Mitch explained. “I’ve not done one in a lot of years. Learned it in the Army. It’s only used in life-and-death situations”

He took a deep breath and whispered, “And, son, that’s what we’ve got here!”


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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