Previews of Coming Contractions

12 Nov

Home delivery used to mean a mustached man named Raul driving an oxidized Ford Pinto and tossing the morning newspaper into our neighbor’s bushes. That was until my impatient baby made a quick exit onto my living room floor and redefined the term.

It was 12:15 a.m. when I was jolted from my slumber by a drive to my gut with a #5 iron, followed by a series of wrenching contractions at five-minute intervals. This little baby meant business. I felt as anxious as the day I found out I was pregnant with our first child.  While my fellow graduate students awaited the results from their Experimental Psychology finals, I sweated out the results of my pregnancy exam at the student health clinic; the brightly colored condoms piled high on the counter, mocking me.

“Honey, wake up—it’s happening! I think I’m in full swing!” I yelled to my husband, Chris, who lay as dormant as a bear in hibernation. I repeated myself, and gave him a nudge.

He turned over and grumbled, “Keep your eye on the ball!” pulled up the covers and rolled back over.

Fighting rapid-fire contractions, I said, “Honey, I think I’m having the baby.”

“Baby! Did you say baby?” He did a front round off and vaulted off the bed like an Olympic gymnast.

“Start the car and call Mrs. D,” I cried.

I tried to convince myself that this was a false labor, like the kind I once experienced when Chris and I abandoned a rack of lamb and carrots Vichy during a candlelight anniversary dinner at a five-star restaurant and headed straight to the hospital, only to return home to a reheated bowl of yesterday’s chili over the 11:00 news. Maybe I was using avoidance due to the stressful conditions of my first birth, which took place at the end of the hallway in an overcrowded hospital bulging with women in labor, something to do with a full moon and the Macy’s Annual Sale.

But when embryonic fluid suddenly gushed out of me, I knew there was no denying it. This labor was real. In a panic, I waddled down the stairs and headed to the front stoop, where I collided with Mrs. D, our neighbor. “Where do you think you’re going in this snowstorm?  You get yourself right back into that house, young lady, or you’ll have yourself a car delivery!”

“Yes, Mrs. D” I replied.

Did she say car delivery? In my book the only acceptable car delivery was a newly purchased Baby Benz arriving at my doorstep. Yet I was terrified by the idea of having the baby at home. I let Mrs. D guide me back into the house. Uncertain as to how to proceed, I did what came naturally to me during times of stress. I reached for the cookie jar, and groped my way to the bottom where I located one lone fortune cookie. I cracked it open. “Car delivery today mean messy carpool tomorrow.” I imagined what the morning routine might look like.

“Time for school, kids. Get in the car.”

“But Mom, there’s a giant jellyfish on the floor!”

“Sweetie, that sea creature is just mommy’s placenta. Now step over the damn thing or we’ll be late for school!”

I let Mrs. D guide me back into the house. By now, a team of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu warriors were trying to fight their way out of my belly and I was beginning to think of childbirth less as a miracle and more as cruel and unusual punishment. I leaned forward, struck my best werewolf pose and let out a primal howl that rivaled the wild dogs in Kujo. Then I dropped down on all fours with my knees cushioned by our new living room carpet—the one that had led us on a three-year quest for the perfect color rug to match our gold and mauve living room.

A generally kind and gentle person, I ordinarily would have welcomed Mrs. D’s outreach of affection. But possessed with unworldly pain and glowing red eyes, I hissed, “Get your hands off me!” Mrs. D’s arm recoiled from my flaming body. Mrs. D. may have wondered whether she needed to get help, or garnish herself with a string of garlic.

This was not the delivery we had planned. Where was the soothing music, the relaxation mantras, and the blast of narcotics that would send my uterus into a blissful coma? “I don’t want to have the baby at home!” I wailed. Nothing changed. A moment later, something changed: I felt the baby’s head, and screamed, “I’m having the baby at home!”

Chris assured me, “Everything’s going to be okay.  Let me give you a hug.” Or maybe it was, “Everything’s going to be okay, just don’t soil the rug.” As two policemen stormed through the door, followed by two volunteer emergency medical technicians, I regained hope. But I worried when the EMT’s appeared to be younger than my high school babysitter. I wondered whether they’d ever seen a vagina . . .

Within minutes of screaming, “Get this baby out of me!” the baby glided out like a slippery bar of soap into the cradled hands of the EMT. I heard, “It’s a boy!”

In overwhelming relief, I responded, “Towels!”

Chris repeated, “Towels for the baby!” like a short order cook.

“Towels for the rug!” I added. Then I provided detailed instructions on emergency carpet care.

As a group of men stood around my tethered baby scratching their heads, debating how to tie off the umbilical cord without a clamp, I watched Chris reach down to remove his shoelace. I reminded him of the recycling twine in the drawer next to the stove.

After arriving at the hospital, I was finally able to call my parents and congratulate them on the birth of their new grandson while Chris proudly handed out cigars to the staff.   Then the nurse called him over to the examining room. A few minutes later, Chris approached. “Lisa, you’re not going to be believe this. We don’t have a baby boy. It’s a girl.” I dropped the phone. “The nurse said she looks beautiful. I peeked under the blanket, and she’s right, it’s a girl,” he said, as he tenderly wiped a string of drool from my gaping mouth.

“Lisa, Lisa? Are you there?” I heard my mother’s voice from the dangling receiver. I picked up the phone.

“Mom, scratch that. It turns out you have a granddaughter.”

“Lisa, did they give you drugs at the hospital?” She asked, trying to rationalize my gender confusion over my own child.

“No mom,” I said as I spoke my thoughts out loud. “The baby must have been swollen when she was born and someone thought she was a boy.”

“So what they saw wasn’t a, a …” my mother asked tentatively.

“Nnnno.” With that, I hung up the phone.

The next day, as my husband tried to convince me that it was the EMT and not him who had called out our baby’s mistaken gender in all the hullabaloo, the familiar sound of a dragging tail pipe prompted my husband to retrieve the newspaper. This time, Raul’s home delivery brought news of my home delivery. The local headline read, “New Baby Boy Girl Born at Home.”

News Flash: My story, “Previews of Coming Contractions” is included in the new humor anthology, “My Funny Major Medical,” now on sale on Amazon!   “Laughter might be the best medicine, but it’s not covered by Medicare. So this little book provides a low-cost, over-the-counter dosage to cheer up (and/or terrify) those who find themselves on the wrong end of health maintenance. (Whichever the “wrong end” might be.)”  ~ Amazon

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49 Responses to “Previews of Coming Contractions”

  1. downhousesoftware November 12, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I was so happy that when my wife’s water broke we were working together at the university only about a block away from the hospital.
    You’re a trooper.

  2. FringeGirl November 12, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Hilarious. Not at the moment. I am sure.

    I knew it was time to head to the hospital. I was in the mall, walking myself into labor, when I needed a drink. I went up to the first counter in the food court, the cookie counter, and asked for a drink of water. The poor boy handed me an entire pitcher of water and a paper cup.

    ~FringeGirl

  3. Storkhunter November 12, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    You got your priorities right girl. If you find a carpet that matches, you don’t want baby goop messing it up.

  4. Debbie November 12, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Too funny! After reading your account, I’m glad my son decided to wait until I was safely at the hospital before presenting himself to the world!

  5. Burns the Fire November 12, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Hilarious, explosive, poignant and very messy- all the things that make life great. That’s one of the best birth stories I have ever heard and I know some doozies. Bravo to you, Lisa!

  6. LuAnn November 12, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Now that it is beyond you I will say, you are hilarious!

  7. Carrie Rubin November 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    What an incredible story, and this book sounds right up my alley. I’ll go check it out. But I’d like to say, I have seen many a newborn babe, and never once have I been unable to determine whether it’s a boy or a girl. Me thinks that EMT was in need of glasses…

    • Main Street Musings Blog November 13, 2012 at 4:35 am #

      The book is a hoot. Careful, it might leave you in stitches. ;)
      Yes, it was an incredible delivery. I wish you had been there, doc. Then maybe I wouldn’t have had to name my daughter twice!

      • Carrie Rubin November 13, 2012 at 5:53 am #

        I’ve downloaded the book. Looking forward to reading it!

      • Main Street Musings Blog November 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

        Great! You may recognize some of the other contributors. BTW, I read your book! It kept me entertained during the power outage! But I will leave a more detailed comment on your blog . . .

      • Carrie Rubin November 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

        Thank you! Sorry you had to live without power. I’m sure you have a whole new appreciation for turning on a light now. :)

  8. Woman in the Middle November 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    My second came out fast as well. No snow, though, so we managed to get to the hospital. Otherwise I would have been cleaning the carpet, too! Funny story!

  9. nursemommylaughs November 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Wow! You and weather are a match. Hilarious especially since the ending was so perfect!

  10. Don't Quote Lily November 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Wow, that’s some story! Way to make it sound hilarious, although I’m sure at the time, it was terrifying, jeez!

    • Main Street Musings Blog November 13, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      I had never before felt that kind of dread (except for one morning when I almost ran out of coffee). ;)

  11. earthriderjudyberman November 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Your delivery was much funnier and scarier than mine. My first child – from first pain to delivery – happened within 2 hours and after a police escort to the hospital. My 2nd child was 9 weeks early – at 3 lbs. 3 1/2 oz. – and in the hospital for a month.

    Congratulations on having your story in the anthology. It made me laugh. (Hope the carpet’s OK.) :-)

  12. Paprika Furstenburg November 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I really hope this was a work of fiction, Lisa. If not, it could be included in a Scared Straight- Birth Control anthology. Very funny!

    Congrats on making it into the humor anthology!

  13. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer November 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    You certainly know how to have fun, don’t you? Naturally you would never consent to have a baby in the old reliable way: not when it’s funnier this way!

  14. DarleneMAM November 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    True story? Is this a true story? Wow.
    And congrats on being included in the humor anthology!

    • Main Street Musings Blog November 13, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Yes! Believe me, if I had made this fiction I would have made it less painful. ;) Thanks! I’m thrilled my daughter’s birth is now recorded in my town hall records book and in the anthology!

  15. My Odd Family November 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    I would say you have a daughter that knows her mind and nothing is going to stop her….great story! The kind every blogger dreams of…..

  16. Perfecting Motherhood November 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    I’m sure this story is funnier to tell today than at the time it happened! OK, I’m still shaking my head over the baby’s sex though. Are you sure they gave you the right baby in the hospital? ;-)

  17. The Laughing Mom November 14, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    OMG! All that, only to find out you had a she and not a he? Hilarious. I had the same mix-up but it was in the womb – not in full view. Congratulations on being published in the humor anthology!

    • Main Street Musings Blog November 14, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      As they say, “a womb with a view” but I guess in your case it was an obscured one. Re: anthology, you and I are living parallel universes!

  18. Sid Dunnebacke November 14, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I’m a bit reluctant to comment, as all of the comments so far seem to have come from people with girl parts. Oh, what the heck. One word, Lisa: Thanks for going through all that trouble to give us a great story all these years later. Er, fabulous.

  19. Dawn@LightenUp! November 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    “Everything’s going to be okay. Let me give you a hug.” Or maybe it was, “Everything’s going to be okay, just don’t soil the rug.”

    …had me rolling. On the rug.
    But I didn’t soil it! No, sir.

  20. gabrielablandy November 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    That opening paragraph was genius! What a great post – so funny, especially that image of you giving carpet care instructions just after having had a baby!!

  21. Shalagh Hogan November 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    You know my “Hail Mary” baby is due at the end of February. And it’s entirely possible this scenario will be mine. Except I hate my nasty eight year old carpet and would welcome an excuse to make it gone. Congratulations on being published and I hope I don’t have a snowstorm when I have my boy/girl. Because we don’t know either.
    Love,
    Shalagh

  22. WomanBitesDog November 15, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Sounds terrible! But hilarious.

  23. Elliot November 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Great story. The birth of my son was stressful enough in hospital but that took a while. I think if he had popped out that quick, my wife would have been a lot happier.

    He had the swollen balls thing that new born boys often had. There was no mistaking him for a boy.

  24. carolynpageabc November 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Wonderfully written, and hilarious…!
    I love her name..!
    Congratulations for the ‘write-up'; it deserved the praise..

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