My son turns 6 tomorrow.
This blows my mind, but I am not here to talk about the endless clichés of getting older and watching your children grow in leaps and bounds, until you are just sitting on the sideline with your mouth hung open like a guppy when he walks down the aisle to a woman who will replace you and you have no idea how you got there.
But, I digress.
On each of my children’s birthdays, I take a few moments alone the night before and think about the past. I go over the memory of their birth, the mind blowing pain and joy of them pushing their way out into the world and into my life. A birthday deserves a bit of time to reflect.
I never wanted children. I took six pregnancy tests when I was pregnant with Jake and denied each and every one of them. I then indulged in a full fledged panic attack in the bathroom and called my girlfriend, who slowly and convincingly explained the six tests could not possibly be wrong.
I hate pain. I get woozy when I walk into hospitals and blood tests make me pass out. So, other than what the heck am I going to do with a baby, the other terrible thought was how this baby was going to arrive. With a lot of pain.
Jake was over a week late so they had me check into the hospital to be induced. Right before I left, I threw up all over the living room rug while my husband tried to keep it together. Frankly, I had never been so terrified of anything in my entire life.
When I got to the hospital and they told me to change into the gown, the nurse came over to check on me and shook her head. Clucking,she said, “Dear, you have to take your underwear off. You can’t birth a baby with your underwear on.” Yes. I was definitely in denial.
The process took 26 hours. I was starving and chewed furiously on ice chips. My husband would stroll in and out of the hospital room and carry in food from the cafeteria. Munching hot dogs and fries and sandwiches, he’d stand by the bed, check the monitor and sigh with a deep patience. At one time, he actually said these words to me:
“So, honey, when do you think we can bang this out?”
My head flew around like the Exorcist. He stepped back looking confused.
“What did you just say to me?”
He back pedaled. “Ugh, I mean, when do you think you’ll be able to push? Ugh, I’m going to get you some more ice chips.”
I swore through gritted teeth as soon as Jake came out I would serve him with divorce papers.
During the swing time of the actual pushing, I was sweating more than a 500 mile marathon and trying not to die. The phone rang, and in between encouraging words like, “You’re doing great honey, keep pushing” my husband answered the phone. Spoke a few words. Then turned and said, “Honey, my parents are locked out of the house and the dogs are going crazy. I guess we gave them the wrong key. What should they do?”
Are you frikkin kidding me?
I glared and sweat and pushed. Then took a deep breath. “I don’t know right now,” I answered. “I’m pushing out the baby you ass hole!!”
Again, he looked startled, murmured a few words and then hung up the phone.
When Jake finally appeared, he was screaming bloody murder when they set him on my belly. All of a sudden, everyone in the room fell silent. Jake stopped crying. Looked at me. Our gazes locked and we knew we had finally met each other. Understanding, connection, a soul merging occurred.
Then we both burst into tears.
Thank Goodness I recovered enough not to call the divorce lawyer. Tomorrow, I get to bake cupcakes and go to Build a Bear and celebrate the passing of another year.
This one’s for you, Jake. Happy Birthday my love.
That’s a great story.
Men are clueless.
The day after Steven was born my husband asked me “Aren’t you happy we had a boy?”
“I said yes – that’s what we wanted.”
“Oh, because you didn’t look to happy in the delivery room.”
I said – “You try pushing out a baby at 330 am and see how happy you are.”
Oh, Liz, you cracked me up! I should be collecting stories from moms on their births because they are all too funny, especially what the men do!
I cant believe it, 6? It seems like yesterday. Happy Birthday Jake!
I know! Remember we all called him Baby Jake! Too funny..you and Louise..my two surrogate mommies!
That’s so funny. I never heard Jake’s birth story before. The underwear thing kills me but I think I probably would have done the same, thinking …well… they won’t have to come off until it’s time for them to come out. lol
I’ve been witness to 3 births and the similarities are amazing. The hungry husband gobbling down cafeteria food while the starving wife sniffs the air and chomps on ice chips. The husband distracted by boredom with the duration of the birth process. My one sister thought she was going crazy because she kept hearing the theme to the “Odd Couple” turns out they were running a marathon of the show and her husband was tuned it. And the pain of course. I still laugh at the image of my little sister demonstrating during her contractions (gritting her teeth, lol) how she was going to pull off the testicles of the anesthesiologist if he didn’t hurry up with the epidural the doctor had order a half hour before. Somehow in spite of all this the end result is still magic and in our lives come people we can’t imagine ever being without.
Since all three of my children were adopted, I can’t relate to the physical act of giving birth. However, I tip my hat to yours (and every mother’s) endurance. I’ve been present at hundreds of deliveries (day job and all), and each and EVERY one of them makes me think: “Man, someone’s gotta come up with a better method.”
Oh yeah! Bring on a better method – I would have had 3!!!!
Jen, I remember the day my oldest was born. I had been promised a saddle block. Sounded like heaven to me. Except he was a breech and they decided to go with ether. Put the mask on my face. I took it off. Called my husband in to control me. I looked at him and said, “I wish one of us had been sterile.” Those days are far behind and I’m so very glad.
Hey, I was one of the people locked out of the house, peering at the dogs through the chink in the curtain! After a little while, they stopped barking and just looked at us. We looked at them and made reassuring noises while trying every key we had in every lock we could see. Turns out the previous dog-sitter had locked a side lock we hadn’t been given the key for. The dogs eventually just lay down and Bella gave us a look I still remember.
I’ll have you know that, after all that standing around, our fingers and toes were MILDLY CHILLED! And we had to go to a diner to eat a lot of delicious food cooked by Greek people and Ray’s call that Jake was born CAME RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR DESSERT! LOL!
But all our suffering was worth it when we came in the next day and saw you holding Jake. Happy Birthday, buddy!
Jen this is an awesome story once again men are totally clueless lol! I didn’t know the story of Jakes birth so that was very cool to read. I am sorry that I missed saying Happy Birthday to him so Happy Birthday Jake 6 years old wow where does the time go? I remember when you were pregnant coming in to my office and we would chat. Don’t feel bad when I had my surgery I didn’t take my underwear off either the nurse said ah you need to take your underwear off darnit thought I could get out of the whole thing. Ps I am like you hate blood test needles doctors and all that jazz. I give you credit cause you did it twice they would have had to knock me out to get the baby out lol!!!