Bryson City Seasons — The Littlest Cherokee (Part 2)

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.


“Symphysiotomy,” Mitch whispered. “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 leaned toward me and whispered, “And, son, that’s what we’ve got here!”

I’m sure I looked shocked, but he continued. “Here, take this #15 blade scalpel while I numb things up.” He talked as he took the syringe and needle and began to inject the lidocaine into the soft tissues overlying the pubic bone.

“The catheter is in the urethra, so palpate carefully to avoid the clitoris and urethra at all cost. Feel for the pubic bone and gently advance the scalpel to the symphysis.”

As I took the scalpel, his experienced hands guided mine. I palpated the pubic bone.

“Walt,” he continued to whisper, “as you know, there’s ligamentous tissue at the junction of the pelvic bones—right here in the middle. At the end of pregnancy, the ligament is pretty soft. You’re going to cut it. But go slow! Once the knife separates the front part of the ligaments, the rest will separate like butter. You won’t have to apply much pressure.”

I advanced the knife and watched it easily separate the vaginal skin. I could feel the blade moving toward the bone and then lie just on top of the symphysis.

“Slowly and carefully advance the knife,” Mitch instructed. “Hurry, Walt!” he coached.

“Twenty beats per minute!” Maxine exclaimed.

Mrs. Black Fox’s wails continued. “My great-great-grandbaby is dying!” she wailed. She had no idea how right she was.

Sylvia was just staring at the ceiling, apparently in shock.

As I slowly advanced the scalpel, the ligament parted, and then almost instantly the pelvic bone opened up—feeling as if it popped apart. I froze for an instant, but Mitch kept coaching. “Slowly and carefully remove the knife.”

I did.

“Now, Sylvia,” Mitch commanded, “push out this baby. Now! Walt, reach down and rotate the baby’s shoulders. Quickly now!”

Miraculously, Sylvia seemed to wake up and push. As she did, the baby’s head almost immediately delivered. I quickly reached down and tried to rotate the baby’s shoulders. To my delight, the baby quickly rotated, and I was able to fairly easily deliver the baby.

Mitch had the cord clamps ready. He clamped the cord as I cut it. “Take the baby, and I’ll finish here!” he commanded.

I hastily took the purple, lifeless body to the baby warmer. As Louise vigorously dried the baby, I suctioned out its mouth and nose.

As Louise palpated the stump of the umbilical cord, she said, “The heart rate is thirty per minute.”

The baby was not breathing.

“Bag and mask,” I instructed. Louise handed them to me, and I applied the respirator mask to the baby’s face, gently hyperextended the neck, and began to compress the ambu-bag, forcing oxygen into the baby’s lungs.

Lord, I silently prayed, this is your child, and so am I! Help us both!

I looked down at the genitals for the first time. Save her! I silently pleaded.

In the background, I could no longer hear Mrs. Black Fox’s wails. I looked to my side and was shocked to see the ancient woman standing beside me. She was staring at the baby and softly chanting a prayer as tears streaked down both cheeks and dripped off her aged jaw. As I bagged the baby, both of our prayers intertwined.

I looked back at the baby and to my delight could see her pinking up.

“Sixty beats per minute!” Louise exclaimed.

The little girl coughed and then began to breathe and cry at the same moment. I removed the mask, and Louise held oxygen over her nose. “Over a hundred beats per minute!” she exclaimed.

As the littlest Cherokee began to cry, so did her great- great-grandmother.

And, I must admit, so did I!

I’ve never so enjoyed the hot tears that streaked down my face and absorbed into my mask.

I looked at the old woman, and she looked at me—each looking at the other through grateful eyes filled with tears.

She smiled up at me. “You were an answer to my prayers!” she whispered.

It may have been the most wonderful compliment of my career. But I could not take credit.

“Mrs. Black Fox, we both need to thank the Lord.”

“And don’t forget to thank Dr. Mitchell,” came Mitch’s soft voice from behind us.

Mrs. Black Fox, Louise, and I all laughed—as our laughter mingled with the newborn’s cries and floated up toward heaven.

I wondered if I had not just been treated to one of the sounds of heaven—the sound of life.

It was the sweetest sound I had heard that winter—or, for that matter, the entire year.


  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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