My oldest and first born child...my beauty...my daughter...my Kitten... is about to turn twenty-two.
Holy crap on a cracker, Batman.
Last night when I was not sleeping, I was thinking about my pregnancy and my baby's birth and I got all misty eyed.
Misty eyed and pissed off.
Gather round, kids. We're about to take a trip down Woman Scorned Lane in my beautiful 1984 model ex-husband mobile.
Picture it: Wide-eyed barely twenty-year-old southern girl with huge brown hair and brown eyes married to twenty-seven-year-old Drill Sergeant in the US Army. If she's cute, he's gorgeous. Brown hair, blue eyes, olive skin and horns kept cropped short in that authoritative military way our government appreciates. (Did I say horns? I meant horns.)
August in Kentucky is so miserably hot and humid, I can't even tell you. No really. Before you're allowed to move away, the Kentucky Board of Tourism makes you swear on Secretariat's grave not to tell how hot and humid it is there. You're also not supposed to tell anyone there is really no such thing as blue grass, so you didn't hear it from me. I don't want the tourism Mafia blowing up my Focus.
Even though I hardly gained any weight during my pregnancy and only looked like I was carrying a basketball under my shirt, I felt like a lumbering ox. A hot and sweaty lumbering ox who had eaten a basketball.
On August 21, I was sitting at a softball game watching Mr.X Number Uno play short. There was little my hubby enjoyed more than softball, except for maybe making me cry. He had an enthusiasm for both that was inspiring.
During the game, I felt OK, but once in awhile I had a little twinge. As my basketball was two weeks late, it occurred to me that perhaps I might soon give birth.
"I'm tired," said Mr. X when before we went to sleep. "When you go in labor, you need to let me sleep until at least 2 AM."
I woke up in labor at 1:15 exactly and proceeded to freak out and definitely not let him sleep until 2. In fact I went from sound asleep to "Miss Scarlet, Miss Scarlet! I don't know nuttin 'bout birthing no babies!" in three seconds.
The whole eight minutes it took to get to the hospital, I was repeating the calming mantra I had learned in my weekly "How to Do Something Women Have Been Doing Since the Beginning of Time" class.
"I do not want to have a baby. I do not want to have a baby. I do not want to have a baby."
I clicked my heels together, too, but it didn't work. Exhibit A: my 22 year old kid.
When we arrived at Ireland Army Hospital, my beloved parked in the south forty and I penguin-walked all the way to the front door, stopping only to pray aloud to my Lord and Savior that I would tell the world about his miracle working abilities if he would only make this painful thing inside me turn out to be a gas bubble...which would not have to come out my vagina.
Once inside, a kindly Army nurse saw me praying and waddling and offered me a wheel chair. "She's fine," said the man who did this to me.
After finally making it upstairs to the lavishly decorated Army baby factory, I settled in a white room with nothing but a bed, one chair and a gigantic clock right in front of the bed. The chair was for my coach, the bed was obviously for me and the clock was so that I could while away my hours in hell watching the hands tick around and around waiting for my coach to show back up and sit in his chair.
You guessed it. He left. He had "stuff" to do.
In fairness, it wasn't like he didn't warn me the entire nine months prior to this day. "If you think you're going yell at me when you're in labor, you're not. If you yell at me one time, I'm leaving."
Like a good pathetic door mat, I kept my mouth shut throughout my labor. Lotta good it did me. He left anyway. My nurse came in and angrily asked me where my husband had gone. In fact, she was flat mad. I was too pathetic to be mad. I had no idea I was allowed.
Miraculously Mr. X showed back up just as they were about to take me into the delivery room. He threw on some scrubs, commented on how good he looked in them, and followed me into a deeper level of hell where an evil Nazi scientist proceeded to pull something the size of a seven pound six ounce bag of flour from my hoo-ha.
Did I mention I didn't get any drugs? Feel free to worship me as a birthing goddess.
It hurt something awful, but fearing my Darling would bolt again, I didn't open my mouth.
And then I saw her. The most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. The basketball turned daughter was suddenly out of my belly and in my arms and I was in mad love.
I was also hemorrhaging.
Like ducks fly south in the winter, mean drill sergeant husbands fly to boobie bars at 9 in the morning to celebrate the birth of their only daughter and don't really wait around to see if their baby birthers are OK.
And I wasn't. The entire day, miles and hours away from any family who loved me, I laid in recovery drifting in and out of consciousness. "What's wrong with me? Where's my baby? Where's my husband?" Each time I'd wake up, I'd repeat again and again the same questions.
At nine that night, after the first of two transfusions I would have, Mr. X showed up. His first words? Grab your Kleen-ex and hang onto your heart strings 'cause this is a Lifetime moment like no other.
"You look like death warmed over."
Are you feeling warm and fuzzy? Dabbing at your eyes? Wait! There's more!
The next morning, as I held the baby we made, my husband told me he was leaving for a week to play in a softball tournament in another state.
"How are we gonna get home from the hospital?" the baby-making door mat asked.
"You know those two gay guys that live in our apartment complex?" asked he. "I asked them to come pick you up. I'll leave the car seat with them."
"We don't even know them," I said.
"They're nice. You don't think I'd have somebody I didn't trust pick you guys up, do you?"
He left for the week, played softball and broke his thumb...although I prayed for him to break something more painful...like his penis.
So that's the story of how the most beautiful girl in the world was born. Would I do it all over again?
Yes. And again, and again, and again.
Of course, if I did it again, I would also be arrested right in the hospital for bludgeoning a drill sergeant to death with an umbilical cord and a coach's chair.
I'm not ready to make nice. But I am ready to make a voodoo doll.
Copyright © 2004-2006, Sherri Bailey
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