This past Veteran’s Day I realized that there is no flag dicing through the Santa Clarita breeze with little cherub faces replacing the stars. A small reminder of how many times we may have been to battle delivering the offspring of our men. It’s not fair! While they no longer face the draft we still have to fight fear every day, at least every day that we’re pregnant, listening to the battle stories and scars of our predecessors.
WHY is it that every single (make that mostly married) woman that has been through childbirth feels compelled to tell the world’s worst story to the newly pregnant? Like a war veteran comparing battle fatigue to first trimester exhaustion, do we honestly think we are helping our new recruit?
And why do we have to embellish? I still can’t look at my sister, sweet, unhushable Charlotte, without remembering her faint hot breath against my ear when she called me into her little semi-private cubicle to whisper, “You can’t do this”. Okay, to be completely honest she HAD broken every blood vessel in her face, labor had lasted four or five DAYS, but, and this is a big but, she had delivered the mighty big-brained Zack! What’s the complaint?
So what if Auntie Ann had a slight case of toxemia? It’s not a lost limb! Please, vets, I’m not jesting about you, it’s these women that wear their war wounds like a…what the heck did Elton John say after that??
Anyhoo…ladies…let me be frank. I had the easiest delivery in mankind. And listen up…once I started bragging about how easy it was suddenly I was competing with other moms on that score. It was not longer the most traumatic event of their lives-on the contrary it was what it was meant to be…completely, unalterably and totally worth it. Try seeing a vet pull a newborn babe off the fields of Vietnam or the beaches of Normandy.
I gave birth three hours after what my doctor called labor, began. My contractions felt a little like I had finished an entire plate of Don Cuco’s Brochette Caribbe in one sitting. Except for the fact that it was 3am, I was not inconvenienced. My ob-gyn had been called in for someone else so luckily I got my epidural within a few minutes of my arrival at the hospital. I had dilated to some such number and off we went.
My mom-in-law was a delivery nurse and met us at the hospital, my mom made it in just in time too. Barb told me when to push and my mom held my hand while I pretended, for her, that I was feeling something. In reality I needed them both there to calm my new mother excitement. Barb was a guaranteed top Apgar test score and mom would…well you know…make me feel like the baby one last time.
So new moms everywhere take my advice: when the stories start turn a deaf ear. It WILL be the most exciting time of your entire life, and if you’re lucky enough to get a scar show it to me… I will be jealous, no faking.