Friday, April 27, 2007

Wherein Our Heroine Labors and Labors and Is Eventually Delivered of a Large Baby Boy

I went into labor towards the beginning of Saturday Night Live, on April 26,1980. It seemed like it would be a cinch: my water had broken, and I hardly had any labor pains. There was a full moon that night, so I felt in touch with Erica Jong and all her female witches and forces. Greg, sitting beside me and driving the car, did not appear to be as sanguine.

It turned out that Greg's attitude was more appropriate. As soon as we reached the hospital, whatever could possibly go wrong went wrong. Meconium staining brought a whole convention of nurses into my room; I was hooked up to all the monitors I so hated. My doctor came at once, even though he has just gotten engaged. Soon I was begging for Demerol and swearing that the monitor was missing beats.

Twelve hours later, on Sunday April 27, I was delivered of my son via emergency C-section. Then the real trouble started: The doctors and nurses thought he had terrible diseases that I, the phobic, had never even heard of. One specialist after another was called in to testiify; the nurses were so blunt that my doctor soon forbade them to discuss anything with me. At the door, the doctors murmured: "How come she isn't in shock already?"

On Monday night, he was declared healthy.

When Greg and I were finally allowed to look at and hold him, we found that he was uncommonly bright: he imitated us curling our tongues, breatsfed immediately and held his neck and head high and perused the (tacky) prints hanging on the hospital walls. To this day, he claims to remember a typically terrible Texas thunderstorm that took place on the second day of his life.

It is now 27 years later, and I am once again trying to fight my way out of physical and emotional shock. This shock has dulled my senses, so I am glad that Sheryl is so in love with and so appreceiative of my grown son: she will surely provide him with the joyous birthday celebration tonight that I cannot give him.

Sheryl, please please please continue to give Jeff all the love that right now I cannot freely show him because I am so afraid of being taken off this earth too soon: my impression of the other side is that we take with us memories that were frozen in time; we are deprived of seeing the future.

So Jeff, happy birthday, with as big a heart as I am able to muster this year. If I am here in 2008, perhaps my soul will be freer. We'll see.


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