Mother's Day was two months earlier. It was a bittersweet day for me. My husband, friends and I did our best to keep "our chins up" and have an "oh there's nothing wrong" kind of celebration. The doctors were still making dire forecasts. Baby and I kept moving forward. I kept working full time as a school psychologist and I swear, the love and attention of those kids and all of the staff at my assigned schools, buoyed me in ways that words cannot describe.
I finished the school year, working up to the last "staff day", and despite predictions that baby would be born "at least two months" prematurely, baby arrived 6 days past the "guessed at" due date at 8:56 a.m. The labor and delivery was, well, hilarious.
The air conditioner failed in the labor room. It was early July and oh, was it hot! A repairman was called. When he arrived, I was in a less-than-discrete position required by the fact that baby's heart rate dropped dangerously if I was in any other "spot". You Moms know exactly what I'm talking about.
The repairman. What a character. An older guy with a Marine butch haircut and about a 2-inch unlit cigar, grasped firmly in his lips. He looked embarrassed. At that point, I could've cared less. If the doctor had come along and said, "Claudia, we've gotta take off your left leg to get this baby out", I would've said, "What are you waiting for?" He had a HUUUGE belly and was wearing a "sort of" clean t-shirt. The t-shirt was straining to make it over his belly and was given an "assist" by suspenders that, if they "blew", would have killed a few people in the room. Those suspenders were barely hanging onto his jeans which were further encumbered by a tool-laden belt. The whole outfit was waiting to explode and frankly, made me giggle. Thanks for that!
He pulled open a ginormous ladder and proceeded to climb up. The staff was assessing the entire scene with mouths agape. The ladder took up nearly the entire room and the nurses, worried about the "consequences" of walking under it, stayed in the corner, unable to reach me. My doctor was not pleased...at all, not even a little bit.
There were a great many people attending to me and baby because of the circumstances. At times, I would look around at all of them and their worried little faces and I thought to myself, "Relax, we've got this. G-d and I know exactly what we're doing". Despite all of their activity and machines and lab results, it was just the three of us...baby, me and G-d. Nothing new, right?
At the top of the ladder, the repairman made quick work of moving aside the ceiling tiles and began to work. Moments later, a tremendous contraction hit. "Leaning into it" with all I had, I must have let out a groan or some noise of distress and at that moment, I heard this disembodied voice coming from above the ceiling, kinda growling, "C'mon, honey, you can do it"! Twice, twice he said it. I laughed out loud, part howl, I'm sure. The nurses burst out laughing and my doctor was not amused.
The cool air began to flow and hurriedly, he packed up, never looked toward me again, and he left. Several exhausting, exhilarating hours later, I was a Mother, capital letter intended. The delivery, unlike absolutely everything else about the journey, was uncomplicated. We went home 24 hours later. It was a dream. Moving on. Don't look back. Ever, ever.
After 4 years of posting articles about raising our kids and various other topics, I feel that we're "friends" enough to share this story.
All of you have stories of glory of one kind or another. Perhaps it was a phone call telling you to come and get your baby, a gift from another woman who, for whatever reason, could not do the job you so willingly were taking on. Perhaps you chose a child who waited for years to find a family. Maybe your child came from another country, from conditions no child should endure. Maybe you suffered through infertility and adopted and then got pregnant. I have suspected, for many years, and listening to stories of many families, that the smell of baby powder and all things baby, just might set the body up for such miracles. I've written previously about the unknown power of smell.
All of the stories, no matter their beginning or ending, are part of the fabric of families. The family of us.
Have a glorious day.
Claudia, mother of one