Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Little Men

My darling grandson Brody (a.k.a. the cutest toddler ever) welcomed his very own cousin Logan to the world today. The little guy has a shock of black hair that most men can only envy.  A new life.  What a reason for celebration! 

Little Men
How can you not remember the births of your own children when you gaze upon a brand-new baby?

Our firstborn was conceived during that phase of our lives when we were kids masquerading as adults.  In the fall of 1976, at the ripe old age of twenty-three, we anticipated our baby's arrival together.  Jerry and I moved from Louisiana to Ohio and had just bought a 1920's bungalow that we were fixing up. 

We spent the day wallpapering the nursery.  Wallpapering is tedious and all that running up and down the ladder tired us both out.  We watched Johnny Carson then fell into bed, exhausted.  As Jerry was drifting off to sleep and I was relaxing, I felt an odd sensation, a pang of pain. 

"This is it!" I cried. 

"Roll over and go to sleep." replied Mr. Compassion.

Instead of taking his advice, I leapt up and my water broke all over everywhere.  Suddenly Jerry was wide awake.  This was no fire drill, it was the real deal!  I called our parents while he got the car.  It was an hour's drive to the hospital and that was the longest ride of my life.  Every time we hit a pothole, I flinched.  I made sure Jerry was aware of my pain too.  Turns out I'm not at my best during labor.  Who knew?

For a while Jer was driving carefully, avoiding potholes.  I was thinking that maybe I didn't really want to be pregnant after all, wondering if it were too late to back out.  Suddenly I noticed that the car had stopped.  Although somewhat distracted, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that we were not in the hospital parking lot.  No.  We were at the gas station.  My husband chose this moment to buy gas, something that I felt was totally inappropriate.  I told him that, too.   

"I have to drive home and the gas stations might be closed by then," he reasoned.  He was not endearing himself to me.  I was certain that I was about to give birth in the back of his orange Toyota Corolla.

Turns out that I didn't have to worry because I had one of those long, drawn-out affairs where the nurses tell you to "push" and when you do they say, "I can see the head.  Push harder!" And when you push harder and nothing happens, they say the same thing over again. "Push!"  "Push!"  May I point out that I had taken birthing classes and, in my mind at least, was the valedictorian of the group, overachiever that I am?

This is not how the experience was supposed to be unfolding.  We had seen the film in which the mom pushed roughly three times and the baby was born.  No baby was emerging here and no drugs had been administered either.  I pointed out this omission.  "You don't want to drug your baby," they said.  No, I didn't want to drug my baby.  I wanted to drug myself, a small but crucial difference that somehow I was unable to make them comprehend. 

Somewhere after hour twelve, the doctor came in and there was whispering about "the poor girl."  Silly me, I thought they were talking about the woman in the next bed.  I even felt sorry for her.  My mistake.  Shortly thereafter, the doctor ... I still can't believe this ... shoved the baby back up -- that's right, you read that correctly -- and said, "Don't push, you'll injure the baby."  Now, this is after twelve hours TWELVE HOURS of being told to push.  Nice.  Real nice.

Ever the drama queen, as they are wheeling me into surgery, I am yelling, "Save the baby!  Save the baby!  Organ donor!  I want to be an organ donor!  Take everything!  Just save the baby!"  I don't remember anyone actually slapping me, but I bet a couple of people wanted to.  

The nurse gave Jerry my wedding rings and glasses to hold because he was not able to go into the operating room with me.  And so the Daddy-to-be sat and waited.  He'd been up for over twenty-four hours by now and was getting sleepier and sleepier as the minutes ticked by.  The surgery went fast and before he knew it, we were in recovery.  Jerry assured himself that we were both okay and then went home to bed. Who could blame him?  (Me, as it turns out.) 

He drove home with my glasses still in his pocket and, in his sleep deprived fog, he also neglected to call my mother to tell her that we'd had a son.  Heck, he even forgot to call his own mother.  Not his smoothest moves, right?

Now Jerry's home sleeping and I am bitter that I don't have my glasses.  I am telling this story to the medics as they are wheeling me down the hallway to my hospital room.  I must have been louder than I thought ...

...because in that very room was a lady who was praying to God - earnestly begging him not to bring this loud woman (me) into her room.  God, of course, has a wildly wicked sense of humor and that's how I met my friend Margaret. 

When the mothers finally got to the hospital to see the baby, they totally forgot about being annoyed with Jerry, so strong was their love for their sweet grandson.  Babies are like that, so adorable and full of promise that they make everyone around them want to be better people.

As they say, all's well that ends well.  Congratulations, Brigit and Jeff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I'm ever pregnant, I now know not to ask Jerry to drive me to the hospital. (Anonymous=David Linke)