My baby’s birthday was yesterday.
For weeks I had been hearing that she’d like a new digital camera thankyouverymuch because the old one used (gasp!) double-A batteries. And those cheap batteries ran out of juice too quickly.
So please make sure it has a lithium ion battery. Oh, and I’d like a camera that’s colored, please—not boring silver.
Imagine, a woman in this household who knows what she wants.
Anyway, we have a few birthday traditions around here. Some that are easier to pull off than others. Some that involve draping our entire first floor with colored crepe paper and balloons. Some that involve choosing your birthday dinner. And definitely one that involves cake.
But the birthday tradition we all look forward to is the telling-of-the-birth-story.
Usually that involves sitting around the table after dinner and one of the girls remembers that they haven’t heard that story in, oh, about a year, and they’d like to hear it again. It’s never because Mom or Dad remember to tell it.
And last night was no exception.
As I was telling the story for the eleventyhundredth time, I realized that it might be fun to share parts of it with you. Because Maggie’s birth was so much fun. Thirty hours of fun, it was.
So, if you read my list of 25 Random Things, you would already know that I’m usually on time or early and that all three of my daughters were born early. Maggie was due on Valentine’s Day—I was thinking that would be kind of cool to have a love child on Valentine’s Day—but she decided to start to arrive on February 2.
I know, you’re thinking, “I thought you said her birthday was yesterday” and you would be right. Remember the 30 hours of fun?
Maggie started to come on the evening of the 2nd of February, 1998. Labor began, but there was a bit of a problem that I’d been trying to ignore for months. She was breech.
In the months prior to her birth the doctors had given me exercises to try to get her to flip around. Now, try real hard to NOT imagine a hugely pregnant woman on the floor on all fours, rocking back and forth to get the baby to flip. Or even lying on her back with her legs up on a chair, just willing that baby to turn over.
(If I had met Maggie before she came out, I would already know that this was only a precursor of things to come.)
Anyway, labor began, but needed to be held off (Really? They can do that?) until the next morning because the doctor who would have performed the C-section (she was breech, remember?) wouldn’t be in until then.
Next morning I met Dr. C-section for the first time (my doc was a GP and not allowed to do any cutting). He took one look at my enormous belly, checked my chart to see that I had already given birth twice before and announced magnanimously, “You’ve got plenty of room in there. I think I can turn this baby around.”
Now, let me warn you, the next time anyone says the words “external” and “version” in the same sentence while looking at your hugely pregnant belly, get out of that bed and run down the hall as fast as your thick ankles can carry you.
I had not had that warning so I stayed in my bed, awaiting his magic hands on my belly.
And magic did he perform. On my belly. All kinds of contortions that were the most painful pushing and pulling I had ever experienced—before or since.
While two EMTs in training watched.
Along with a couple of nurses who had “never seen anything like that before.”
All told, there were eight people in the room, not counting myself and B whose hand I was squeezing so hard he couldn’t feel anything for a week. I guess I was somewhat of an oddity.
So Maggie was now sunny-side up, and all was good to go. Except for me. Suddenly my labor stopped, and I was faced with two choices: either go home and wait, or induce labor.
Which one do you think I chose?
So from there things progressed pretty normally. Drug-induced contractions ensued.
So did vomiting, shaking, and then drug-induced sleeping. Me, not B.
B was too busy fainting to sleep.
No kidding, that labor and delivery room was like a three-ring circus.
By the time I was ready to start the work of actually getting that baby out, I was sleeping. All I remember were the faces of nurses standing over me saying, “Wake up, honey, it’s time to push.”
Yeah, right. I rolled over and wanted to go back to sleep, but B wouldn’t let me. I think he may have slapped me a time or two, but that may have been the medicine.
An hour or so later, our sweet Maggie was born. I held her for thirty seconds exactly before the nurses grabbed her out of my arms.
And then the real story began . . .