My daughter’s birth

My daughter’s homework tonight is to ask me specific questions about her birth — how long was it, where was it, did I have medication, blah, blah, blah.

The final thing she asked was, “Do you have any anecdotes about my birth?”

Who are you talking to? Of course I have an anecdote.

She was a week overdue, and my certified nurse midwife said I had to come hook up to beeping things that make sure the baby is thriving. My husband and I made a date night of it.

Our birthing room in the hospital had a couch, a VCR, a stereo and a Jacuzzi. What with our having an almost-2-year-old at home, we were looking at this overnight as a belated honeymoon.

We sent out for Italian food and watched “Hook” on cable. I pulled the monitors off and we got in the Jacuzzi. Hey someone, put a do-not-disturb sign on the door.

At about 2:30 pains began to periodically wake me up, but after a few seconds they always stopped, so I kept going back to sleep.

I did not identify this as labor, because my son’s birth was just one long — and much worse — pain. You’ll read about that on Christmas Eve.

Then a contraction hit that made me make an inhuman noise. My midwife’s partner was happening by in the hall. She knew me fine, and slipped a glove on to check my cervix.

She looked lovely in a fuzzy angora sweater and red lipstick. She must have been out. “Call Kate,” she ordered. “She’s at 4 centimeters.”

I cried out to wake the dead and spider-walked up the headboard and wall behind me. I was trying to escape my body. It didn’t work.

Kate’s partner frowned, grabbed my feet and pulled me back down. She thrust her glove back in for another check and gave a holler into the hallway.

“Tell Kate to go back to bed. Mama’s jumped straight to 10 centimeters.” She directed her serious expression at me, “This baby’s coming out right now. Push.”

The head came out.

Here’s the anecdote part. The midwife said my water hadn’t broken, and that she would have to pop it. I have it in my head this was after the head came out, but that seems impossible to me. Maybe I’ve the order screwy.

She reached in with an awl or something, and my water shot around the baby’s head like a geyser, all over my poor, impromptu midwife’s beautiful, fuzzy angora sweater. I had tragically perfect aim.

One more push and the baby slid out.

The whole production took about 10 minutes, but I’ve spent 14 years being upset about that sweater.


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4 Responses to “My daughter’s birth”

  1. Will Says:

    Mum was away at the time, so I never turned in the paper.

  2. Gunky Says:

    if only it was always that easy…

  3. T. Says:

    i had this thought at the end of the birth: if i knew it would be that quick yet that painful everytime, i would still never go through it again.
    it was painful.

  4. Fred Bauman Says:

    With the doctor a family friend and the hospital maternity ward brand new (Marc was the first born there) I was allowed to watch him being born (fairly unusual at that time). With the first “push” and the head almost in view, I passed out. I was put on a gurney and pushed out of the room. My wife later complained that I got much more attention than she did.

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