Oh Baby, Here You Come!
I think the next time I go out of town and can’t find a place to stay with open vacancies I may just check at the local hospital and see if the Labor and Delivery Department has any rooms open. Have you seen those places these days? Wow, are they ever plush! Geez, if they were that nice when I was having kids, I would have had two more!
Back in the day, my hospital stay consisted of sterile white hospital rooms with white walls that were dingy and tile floors that looked like rejects from the local high school cafeteria. The bed was none other than compliments of the local obstetrician supplier, yep those kinds of cots with the funny foot braces on the end. And the accompanying chair for the spouse was not a comfy recliner but a chair, mind you a not very comfortable, slightly padded the desk chair variety. As if anyone could sleep over night on this, but back in these days, no one slept over night, visiting hours were over at 8:00 p.m. on the dot so the husbands flew out the door!
Okay, let me start with this, upon arriving at the hospital and checking in, I was met with a balloon of sorts. Nope not the kind for my child’s first birthday party but the kind that goes in your derriere, a good old fashion enema. As if the labor pains that were the required 5 minutes minimum apart weren’t bad and stressful enough, not I had to have administered a full bag enema to be sure my bowel was emptied. I prayed that the baby did not come out in the john as I was in there by myself and could not reach the nurse pull chain. I figured I would just yell like hell if I felt something boulder size come out. This sounded like a good exercise for a soon to be new mom.
My first experience with labor I was fortunate enough, or unfortunate enough to have a young teen age girl in the hospital in the wee hours of the morning like me. This way I knew I was not suffering in pain alone, they say misery loves company. Judging by her screaming, she was delivering a 15 pound baby. Oh, and by the way, I was at the ripe old age of 18 and learned quickly she was all of 13. Hence, the nurses were constantly flying to her room leaving my husband and me alone to wonder what the heck we were supposed to do to speed things along. He was hungry and tired; I was in pain and ready for this to be over.
Our first mistake was not to take the birthing classes. I wonder if we thought it would come naturally. Well, guess what, it didn’t. There was nothing natural to either of us about this experience. I don’t know who asked the nurse more, how much longer, him or me. When I got the shot in my spine for pain, giving in the middle of a contraction, I nearly died from the pain. But wait, where did my help go holding me at the end of the shot as I suddenly felt alone? Oh, there it is, on the floor attending to my faithful husband who fainted at the sight of the shot going in my back. I was left sitting on the table wondering where my medical assistant went. I was the one having the baby. I reminded them I was the headliner tonight, at least until the baby got here. I told my husband to get a grip. Maybe he did need something to eat after all and that made him faint but I was not about to let him out of sight or concede to that! No way was he missing out on this fun for a moment, he contributed so he was to be here for the Main Event! His feast was going to have to wait.
Well, somehow we made it through it. In those days, no one knew ahead of time what sex their baby was or if their child was going to be ok. When the baby came out, the doctor announced it. Ours took his good old sweet time. Funny looking back. He laid the baby on top of my stomach and the penis was sticking up like a proud peacock and about 3 minutes later he tells us we have a boy. Really? We look at each other, and can’t help but conceal some laughter. Did he really think we did not recognize the sex?
Baby number two went much more smoothly. This time we took no chances and took the birthing classes. Yes we took the pillow to class and took turns so he got to be the one having the baby. I must say he got so relaxed though he almost fell asleep. I can’t recall ever having that much comfort during labor so I am not sure this exercise was too realistic. The only I can envision going to sleep in a labor and delivery room is a husband, that is if he didn’t mind his wife getting royally ticked off at him. I knew mine would not dare fall asleep!
When the big day came, delivery number two, the stork was coming, he was ready to coach me this time through delivery. He was excited, in fact. Me, on the other end, at the front door, I stopped dead in my tracks. When he asked what was wrong, I pulled the woman’s prerogative number, “I changed my mind.” He looked perplexed, asking me about what. I told him very flatly, about having the baby, going through labor one more time. The last time had been so painful I was not sure I could endure it again. What a saint he was at that moment. With the utmost control, he urged me to at least go to the doctor’s office, as instructed over the phone to be checked out as my pains were irregular. I could think about it, meanwhile the snow continued to pile down on Northern Kentucky sticking to the roads.
He rushed to the doctors to check me out as my labor was irregular who quickly told him to get me down to the hospital so off we went, me still saying I was reluctant to through labor and, by now, him finding this quite humorous and reminding me I might not like the added weight for the rest of my life!
In Labor and Delivery, not much had changed from our last stay two and half years previous. Different hospital but you would never have known it. However, one thing drastically different was the severity of the labor pains. They were mild, extremely mild. Infact, my husband stood there, and then sat by me, routinely bending over me asking if I needed his coaching yet. See, he had mastered the art of labor coaching in the class and was ready to win the award for coach of the year. By God he would have won it too had I needed it. But, that baby came out effortlessly.
Now, both of us are remarried to two wonderful spouses we adore and remain friends. The four of us proudly share four grandchildren. I can’t help but sometimes think about how it began, our family, all those years ago. Bringing those two kids in the world was not like it is done today. We were not in a comfortable room by any stretch of the imagination. There was no family or friends there, just us two. There was no music, cute gowns for me or the baby, no nice furniture…but; it was magical, none the less. Whether is be a 4 Star Room or a starch white hospital delivery room, the birth of a child is a miracle to behold. It was our slice of heaven and I would not change it for anything in the world. It was a blessing and a moment neither of us shall ever forget and always treasure.
Some moments, they always bring a tear to the eye, just reflecting on them. A tear of joy, a tear of love and a tear of thanksgiving.