Today is my son Jon’s 20th birthday. As an additional birthday gift, I promised him that this year, I would not remind him, at certain important times of the day, what it was like in my “Labor and Delivery” room 20 years ago. I might have gone a bit overboard last year, when at 8:30 pm, I said, “You’re crowning!” He didn’t like that much, but I enjoy reminding him that I went through Hell to get him into this world. It’s all part of the mother-guilt continuum. In my defense, as the mother of two boys, I still consider it my duty to “out-gross” them now and then.
There’s a world-wide, centuries-old, sisterhood for women--where the only joiner fee is to have actual birth experience to share. Each birth is different and special. Each birth has its “Slasher Movie” elements, too. In fact, I think some thriller movies must record actual women in their 2nd stages of labor.
My birthing story begins with a claim... that the “Giving Birth Act” simply has to do with getting an oblong peg through a round hole. The complexities enter into the picture based on the size differential.
I’ve been told all my life that I had wide hips. A doctor even congratulated me once for my hip breadth, saying that I should have no problem delivering children. It turns out he was snorting too much K-Y Jelly. For birthing---it’s ALL ABOUT THE PELVIS...and mine is the size of a cheeto.
As for the oblong peg...a successful vaginal birth also depends on the circumference of your baby’s head (Fred are you still with me?). With Jon, he decided to stay in the womb an extra 2 weeks past his due date for the sole purpose, apparently, of enlarging his head. Ultra-sound images suggested I was either about to deliver a nearing 12-pound baby...or a manatee.
My August 30th, 1989 performance of “Pushing a Manatee through a Cheeto” was one for the record books. At one point I was on all FOURS, feeling more like a mare in a barn stall than a woman, praying for death. Unnatural sounds came out of all orifices. My eyeballs bulged, my ears and nose grew. I even think I pushed a unicorn-horn out my forehead. When Jon finally emerged, after 8 hours, I expected him to be hideous, a side-ways-football-headed “Stewie” from “Family Guy.” But he was an 8 lb. 12 oz. adorable doll with a perfectly normal head. No explanation from the doctor, no, “I’m so sorry, Heidi, for scaring the unicorn-horn out of you...our ultrasound machine must be on the fritz.”
Oh well, I got a good story out of it. And a wonderful son.