Sunday, January 23, 2005

I TOLD you I was sturdy.

Since people are reminiscing about the day one or more of their children was born, here I am with my tales of labor in the Midwest.

September seems to have been our busiest month, as both of my children were born in June.

I was also on the pill, and faithfully, too, both times; I conclude therefore that my children were meant to be. Actually, I believe all children were meant to be, but that is probably another entire post.

I was in labor five hours with Belle. Apparently this is not very long as labors average out, but at the time I didn't know that, and it seemed like a long time to me. Hub sat by my side and did his calculus homework; the click, click, click of his calculator drove me crazy. The phone by my bed rang constantly with people wanting to know 'how I was doing.' The truth was, I would have been 'doing' a lot better if I hadn't been forced into being a gracious hostess while wearing a backless cotton gown, lying in a strange bed in a room with an open door with strange kids peeping in and running in the halls, while trying to have a baby. I finally pulled the telephone cord out of the wall and asked Hub to kick the door shut. It was a tremendous relief.

The nurse was there in a flash, and said the door had to be kept open so they could monitor me. Since I was hooked up to enough monitors to pilot the Enterprise, I wondered about that one, but at that young age I wasn't brave enough to question anything or anyone.

Hub kept asking me if there was anything he could do to help me. I wanted to say sure, would you mind changing places with me and doing some serious panting, but frankly, he was making me crazy with all his clicking and solicitiousness. I didn't feel free to let 'er rip with moans, and to turn the air blue with some mighty and majestic and creative profanity. (He's a gentle guy and didn't cuss till he married me. I guess he had reason to, then.)

What I really wanted was to go to the bathroom, but they wouldn't let me. I was almost in tears over that little issue, but I had to laugh when they brought in a bedpan.

No way.

I said, "Do you really think I'm so stupid that I wouldn't know if I was having the baby in the toilet?"

Nurse Ratchett replied, "It's happened before."

So I had that little added misery. I was afraid to bear down because I didn't want to pee in the bed. Nobody else would remember it, but I knew I would.

Every once in a while a nurse would come in, check things out, and say "DON'T PUSH. DO YOU HEAR ME? DON'T PUSH." Oh, like I had any control over that. . . . What little control I did have, I was using to try not to pee.

Near the end of that fifth hour, I suddenly knew I had no time to wait. Or waste. I rang the bell and nobody came. After five hours of being annoyed and hovered-over, nobody was there now that I wanted somebody.

When they finally showed up, they barely had time to wheel me into the delivery room. Nurse Ratchetet kept yelling at me not to push. I told her to bring me a big cork then, because nothing else was going to keep this baby from coming out. She got mad and wasn't very gentle with me after that. I hope she's not a nurse any more. I think she would have made a better longshoreman, or maybe a dominatrix.

I took one look at my beautiful Belle and I've been in love ever since. Even when she set the hallway on fire.

When I got pregnant with Zappa, the first thing I told my doctor was, that he must put in my file that I was to be allowed to get up and go to the bathroom while in labor. He agreed.

I didn't need it, though. I didn't have time to go to the bathroom or anything else.

I had an easy time with Zappa. In fact, I barely remember it. I woke up in labor. We got Belle up from her crib and got into the car and started for town. As we approached the railroad crossing, we heard a train whistle. It was VERY near. I knew that if we had to wait for a train, I'd have this baby in the back seat of the car, so Hub shot across the tracks in a very illegal and 'trainspotting' manner. We pulled up in front of my parents' house, where my mother was waiting on the sidewalk. We threw Belle out the window and shot towards the hospital. Hub let me out at the emergency entrance and went to park the car.

When he came back inside the hospital, the doctor and I were standing in the hall admiring my new son through the window.

I had Zappa in just under twenty minutes, from house to hospital. I had him while my husband was parking the car.

I couldn't have him with me right away, as he was yellow as the summer sun, and being checked out for a possible hip click.

They wheeled me to my room, and put me on my bed. I got up, pulled on a skanky hospital robe, and went out into the hall to look at my baby. His bright red hair made him stand out among all the other babies. Especially as it contrasted with that yellow skin. All that afternoon, and the next day, too, I could hear visitors commenting on the baby with that incredible red hair. He still has that incredible red hair.

I was ready to bring him home that afternoon but they kept us both an extra day. I'd had him so fast, I was still having pains. The pains I should have had for hours during a typical labor. That was no fun, but otherwise I felt great and was smugly self-righteous about my sissy roommate and her constant crying and whining. I was young, and hadn't developed my compassionate streak much, yet. But even now, I look back and think what a big baby she was.

Hub couldn't get off work to take us home from the hospital, so Mom came by and got us. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and I ran in for some things. As I was paying, the cashier noticed the hospital bracelet still on my arm, and asked me how I was feeling. I said, "Oh, I had a baby day before yesterday and we're on our way home from the hospital." She was amazed.

I didn't think, and still don't think, it was any big deal. In the old days, I would probably have been one of those women who worked in the fields, and just crouched behind a bush to give birth, hung the baby in a carrier on my back, and gone back into the fields.

I know I am lucky that way. I even considered being a surrogate, years ago, because it's so easy for me.

My doctor told me that if I ever had any more babies, he would have to admit me a few days before my due date, because there was NO WAY I could ever make it to the hospital once the baby decided to make its debut.

I give all the credit for my speedy deliveries to my hideous orange plaid maternity blouse that Hub's grandmother gave me.

It was quite possibly the ugliest blouse in the known universe, but its magic was proven. It worked twice for me, and it also worked similar miracles for every friend who ever borrowed it.

The last person who wore it never returned it.

It's just as well, I guess. It was starting to look pretty thin and raggedy.

But for a twenty-minute labor and delivery, who would care about that?

When you're nine and a half months pregnant, you slam the door on the fashion police. And if they knocked again, you just might set fire to their car.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:59 PM | |


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