Eighteen years ago, as I was getting pregnanter and pregnanter with my first child, I attended childbirthing classes with my husband. Oh, I read up on them first. And then I chose the Bradley method of childbirth, because the only other option available was Lamaze, and, as I have stated before, I am not a woo girl and knew I wouldn't be comfortable with all that "hoo hoo hee" crap. The Bradley method stresses nutrition and relaxation and avoidance of all drugs. I was just SURE this was going to be the thing for me.
But as it got closer and closer to my due date, and closer and closer to the end of the childbirthing classes, we were shown the childbirth videos. And everyone around me was oohing and ahhing over this miracle of childbirth without use of drugs (even my husband, although he drew the line at cutting the cord, sure that it would make him pass out). See how RELAXED and CALM the birth mother is? See how she is controlling the pain with her breathing and other relaxation techniques?
And all I could think of was the laws of physics that told me the disproportionate difference in size between the baby's head and my hoo haw would render such an act completely impossible.
I spent the next few weeks with a slight sense of panic that hovered just under the surface of my being.
On June 20, which happened to be a Tuesday, if you'd care to know, I had an appointment with my ob/gyn (Dr. Rubino, ob/gyn to the rock stars' wives/girlfriends, and a delightful man). Had an ultrasound to measure the baby, who had grown pretty darn big in the last month. Then Dr. Rubino sat down with us in his office.
The measurements he made during the ultrasound indicated the baby was quite likely going to be over 10 pounds *gasp*
And I had a narrow pelvis (who knew?).
And a 10+ pound baby trying to exit through a narrow pelvis often got stuck, requiring an emergency c-section.
Best case scenario would be that the baby would make it out on its own, but the baby's collar bone would break in the process. His recommendation was to schedule a c-section.
Sweet baby Jesus, the answer to my prayers!
My husband, on the other hand, got all concerned about the potential complications for me from the c-section. I kicked him and hissed, "Shut up!"
THIS WAS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS HOPING WOULD HAPPEN!
I wanted to schedule it for the next day, because it would be Summer Solstice, and the baby's birthday would be on the longest day of the year. Alas, the doctor was unavailable that day, so we scheduled the c-section for the day after, which was June 22.
The next thing that happened was ALL DR. RUBINO'S FAULT, because if he had been available to do the c-section the very next day, I wouldn't have walked into a random beauty salon and asked for a haircut like Kathie Lee Gifford's. I left with a haircut that did not belong to Kathie Lee, nor did it belong on any head in the history of ever.
My c-section was scheduled for 2:00 the next day. I had to be at the hospital by noon, with no food or liquid after midnight the day before. Now, it's hard enough to do that when you have an early morning surgery, but when the surgery isn't until afternoon, it's just plain brutal. I was STARVING.
I was one of only a couple scheduled c-sections for that day, which was fairly typical. However, another 20+ babies decided this was the day they were going to make their entrance the old-fashioned way. The nursing staff couldn't have been kinder, but they certainly were crazy-busy. Even when my husband dropped his scrub shirt in the toilet when he was changing, and the nurse had to go in search of another one in his size, although that was probably pushing it.
At long last, I was wheeled to the operating room, then had to stop in the hallway in a holding pattern until the room was free. Dr. Rubino and my husband talked shop about my husband's publishing clients and the music business in general while I lied there, bored.
Then it was my turn. And in a matter of moments, I was hooked up to IV's and prepped for surgery. And shortly before 3:00, Dr. Rubino opened up the trap door and pulled a baby out. "It's a boy!" he announced, as my son came into the world and proceeded to pee all over the doctor.
My husband was still sitting next to me, until someone asked him if he wanted to cut the cord, at which time he made a complete about-face from his proclamation that it would make him faint, jumped up and cut it.
And, untethered, that baby boy was ours to keep and nurture and raise the best we possibly could.
Today, he is 18. We made it!
And now, killing two birds with one stone, I am combining my birthday tribute to my son with this week's 10 Things of Thankful, this time, devoting it to him:
1. I'm thankful the ultrasound measurements were a little off, because if the doctor had known he was going to be 9 lbs., 13 oz., he might have called it good and not done the c-section.
2. I'm thankful we didn't find out the sex of our baby before he was born. It was fun to be surprised (although everyone in the doctor's office could tell with one look at the ultrasound; fortunately, we were too dumb to notice.).
3. I'm thankful that, in spite of all the problems he had with nursing and projectile vomiting, he thrived and grew. And grew. And grew.
4. I'm thankful he had the best reading teacher in our school system for first grade, because she made him into a reader, which made him into a brilliant student.
5. I'm thankful that he figured out after two seasons that t-ball just wasn't the game for him, because know what? It's FREAKING HOT at those ball fields.
6. I'm thankful he got over his dinosaur phase before Mommy had to be locked up in the psych ward.
7. I'm thankful he was really good at math, because by the time he was in 6th grade, I couldn't have helped him if he'd needed it.
8. I'm thankful he has a tender heart.
9. I'm thankful he didn't catch on that I only gave him the orange, green and yellow pieces of candy and saved the red, pink or purple ones for myself.
10. I'm thankful he survived being the first child, from breastfeeding to college applications.