Find all of my 31 Moments of Motherhood posts here.
[Lights come up on a woman sitting at a table. Piles of paper, rubber stamps, and pictures cover the surface, along with a bottle of Diet Coke and a box of Junior Mints.]
“Yeah well, out of my three kids, my best birth story started out with what I thought was indigestion…”
[She breaks character, stands up and walks to edge of stage to talk to the audience.]
I’m not sure what it is about birth stories, but get a group of moms together over dessert or scrapbooking, make sure that their hands are busy, and the stories just start pouring out. It doesn’t matter whether it was a c-section or home birth, overseas or local adoption, dramatic or uneventful, moms just love telling every…last…detail. It is our war story…the story about the fish that didn’t get away…the tall tale that doesn’t need exaggeration…and it just begs to be told, especially to an understanding audience.
And they never grow old.
I have gone on scrapbooking weekends with the same group of women over the last several years, and our birth stories? They always come up, even if we have told them before. It’s like a rite of passage, rehashing the event that changed our lives so profoundly.
But…I’m missing out on my own story.
[She sits back down at the table and rejoins her story]
So, I thought I had indigestion, so bad that I went downstairs to watch television. I knew that my Mom was getting up early to fly out to Grand Rapids, so I called her up and started complaining about how I was feeling. She was like, “Rachel, you should start timing them!” I didn’t even realize I was in labor…so ridiculous!
By the time I got Ben up and took a shower, I was in full-blown labor…the doubled-over, feel like your going to puke kind. And then…it had snowed like crazy all night, so when we pulled out of the driveway, we found out that all the roads were snow covered and definitely not plowed. Just imagine…I’m having contractions three minutes apart, everything is covered in snow, we’re sliding through intersections, and Ben got lost going to the hospital. It was insane!
Somehow, we make it to the hospital, pull up to the ER, and Ben drops me off. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to get the ER nurses to believe that you are in labor with a capital “L” and rush you up to the maternity ward, but I finally convinced them to take me up. The fact that I could barely communicate probably gave them a clue, and they brought me right into the delivery room.
By the time Ben parked the car and found his way upstairs, I was about to find out that I was too far along to get an epidural. I looked up at my midwife and gasped, “Are you kidding me?” and she looked straight back at me and said, completely deadpan, “I’m Catholic; I’m not allowed to lie about that.” She wanted to give me something to take the edge off, but at that point, it didn’t even matter; Parker was born before the snow completely melted off of Ben’s boots. It was crazy fast, horribly painful, and it convinced me that for our next kid, we were going to go into the hospital DAYS early if it meant I would be able to have an epidural.
What was that? [Listening to a question] Yeah, the pain was over pretty quickly, but I couldn’t even focus long enough to know what was happening. It was a blur of pain and pushing, and it would have been nice to have some sort of awareness of what was going on. All of a sudden, I was holding our little boy, and I wasn’t able to really enjoy it.
[Laughing] Okay…maybe “enjoy” is too strong of a word.
That’s my story…the short version…because it was very short. Who’s next? [Looking around]