Thursday, March 07, 2013

Bonus Post: Happy Birthday, James

On this date twenty-five years ago, I listened to the neighborhood guys jam at my next-door neighbor's house like we did every Friday evening. Banjo, fiddle, jug, harmonica and clogging is what we had that day -- it was always a pick-up band. Ate a couple of hot dogs and started feeling really bad. Minutes later, strong contractions kicked in every two minutes, lasting a minute fifteen seconds. 

I called the midwife and told her I was in labor. She pooh-poohed me ("Call me back when you're having more trouble talking. You sound too relaxed," were her words). Five minutes later, I was bellowing. Called her back, received instructions to start into Charleston (I lived in Deep Dark Outer Sissonville, way past Grapevine). My neighbor Frances drove.

I cursed on the way to the babysitter, cursed like the proverbial sailor all the way there. Then the baby's head delivered. Right there. In the back seat where I sat. My profanity became fervent prayers and petitions to God to please keep this baby alive and safe. Frances drove methodically, carefully, tentatively, s-l-o-w-l-y the twenty-some miles to town.

The midwife Laura met me at the birth center. She helped me into the delivery room. I slipped my pants off and she gasped. "Why didn't you tell me the baby had started delivering?!" Well, hell, I figured it was evident -- it damned sure was the only thing on my mind at the time! She cleared the baby's nostrils as best she could and I delivered it the rest of the way.

Its face was turgid, purple, unoxygenated, arms and legs limp. Obviously dead. I wept. My "sin" had been punished; my child had died. Laura revived (vived?) him. He inspired for the first time. Coughed. He was alive! He pinked up. He had trouble, had aspirated a good bit of meconium (stool), but he was alive.

Nine pounds, two-and-a-quarter ounces. Big boy. Four hours later, we were on our way home. Mena was thrilled to met her brother, James. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Happy birthday, Son. I love you more today than I did that day, and that day my heart nearly burst with joy at your birth. ♥ Mom

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