So there I was: nine months of being called sir because of the Sinead O’Connor hairstyle (despite the ever growing belly), three months of craving beer like there was no tomorrow and enduring one of the hottest summers in New Mexico history with a tiny little space heater inside of me, numerous bad looks and negative comments regarding my plans to place my child with an adoptive couple (it didn’t seem to matter that it would be an open adoption and I’d still be a part of his life), absolutely no birthing classes (I couldn’t justify spending good money on something that mankind has done it’s entire existence), being arrested at 8 and a half months, and one woman who thought my son was a tumor (mostly because I, uh, told her that I was undergoing chemotherapy and would she kindly take her hand off my tumor… but I only did it because she needed to learn that it’s not okay to touch strangers, even pregnant ones).
For the most part, I hated being pregnant and I had waited impatiently for the due date. Finally, the magical day arrived: September 1. I took a walk and I waited. Nothing. I took a hot bath and waited. Nothing. I worked my way through the home remedies up to Castor oil. Still nothing, not even those “negative repercussions” everyone’s always warning about.
Finally, six long days after my due date, I started having contractions. I timed them until they were a minute long and two minutes apart and I called the nurse. She asked why I didn’t appear to be in pain. Uh, I wasn’t. Should I be? She told me to call back when I can’t really talk, it hurts so bad.
A few hours later, after three failed attempts at sleep, the contractions got painful. But they were sporadic. I called her anyway and she told me I could come in (apparently they weren’t busy that night). Well, it turns out this Offbeat Mama has an offbeat uterus! By the time I got to the hospital, I was in one long contraction.
I got whisked away to a labor and delivery room (hospitals are fancy nowadays) and began having some real big, severe pain. I politely asked for my painkillers using only a minimum of profanity and received them an excruciating half hour later. Then I discussed literature with my mother, my son’s adoptive parents, my Doula and her husband (who took the pictures), and my midwife whenever she wasn’t busy with other women in labor.
Yes, we were over the limit. But my midwife was like a pit bull, telling everyone that this was a special occasion and that if they had a problem with the number of people in the room, they should take it up with her.
Three hours of discussions later, my midwife checked and told me I could begin pushing. After the first two sets of pushing, I frustratedly announced that if this had been a movie, he’d have been born already. Forty minutes later, chaos erupted in the room as his shoulders cleared my body, my midwife quickly unwrapped the cord from his neck, and he began screaming like a banshee.
My doula’s voice rose above it in shock, proclaiming “that’s no 7lb baby!” He was 9lbs 10oz, 23 inches long, 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a gorgeous port wine stain birth mark above his lip. [Editorial note from Ariel: I have this exact same birth mark! Aww.] Perfect. His adoptive parents cut his umbilical cord together, his adoptive mother was the first to hold him after me.
He got his first check up as I got stitched up and my midwife didn’t even crack a smile when I asked her if she’d give me “one more for the boys.” Come to think of it, she answered very seriously when I asked her if the baby was done when my navel poked all the way out, so she might not have known I was joking.
That was three years ago. I am still in touch with my son and his family and he knows me as the person whose tummy he grew inside and that I picked out his parents to be his mom and dad. He loves musicals and doesn’t play with toys. He’s still blowing the tops off the height and weight charts. And you know what? He’s still stubborn as anything.