On this day in history thirty-five years ago, Connie and I were at Washington Region Hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas where she was about to give birth to our first child.
Due to having no medical insurance, we had went the cut-rate route on the pregnancy, meaning we had no ultra sounds or other fancy/unnecessary pre-natal frills. We did, however, take a Lamaze class to qualify ourselves for the lower-priced birthing room.
As the coach, my job would be to help Connie through the painful contractions by encouraging her to employ the heavy puff/pant technique we’d been taught in class.
Six hours into the labor, the contractions became more intense. I moved up beside Connie and stroked her sweat laden forehead. When the next contraction hit, I put one hand on her shoulder, leaned down and whispered, “Now, Honey, remember your breathing.”
What happened next was like a clip from the movie “The Exorcist.” She grabbed the neck of my cotton t-shirt and began to twist the fabric with the strength and determination of ten thousand IRS agents intent on wringing last drop of blood from a turnip.
My face turned red, then purple, then blue. She continued to twist, cutting off all blood flow to my brain and closing the airway to my lungs. Her eyes bulged with fiery anger. She bared her teeth and growled in Linda Blair fashion,
“You did this to me, you son-of-a-bitch!”
I don’t remember what happened next. Maybe the contraction ended, a nurse stepped in, or perhaps it was divine intervention. In any event, she released her death grip long enough for me to stumble away from her bedside. For the remainder of the evening, I was careful to do my coaching at least an arms-length from her bed.
Somewhere around midnight, the nurse announced that the baby was about to come and went to find a doctor. Fortunately, the golf course closed at dark and she was able to find one within about five minutes.
He’d only been seated in front of the birthing chair about two minutes when he told Connie to give a hard push. She did and the baby came flying out like it was shot from a cannon. The doctor juggled it, but managed to make a circus catch just before the baby hit the floor.
I remember being relieved that the baby had the appropriate number of fingers and toes and that all other parts appeared to be intact and in good working order. It was truly a blessed event that I’ll never forget.
Happy birthday, Snicklefritz (a nickname John Craig gave her).
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I’m glad Dad survived! Good birthing war story.
Me too. I had one of those rope burns around my neck for a few days like you would get from a hangman’s noose.
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Dear Daddy Russell,
We took Lamaze classes, too. Actually used it through three births. Jan swears I cussed him out. I don’t remember saying the things he said I said. I did think them, though. Of course when they were toddlers and, late, active boys, I said more of those words. I think those epithets became more intense as they reached their teens. Then they hit adulthood and I’m amazed at the adult humans that turned out great in spite of me. 😉 Love the remembrance which kindled so many of my own.
Yes, Lamaze class was fun. I remember the night we watch a film on Caesarean births. One of the expectant fathers got so freaked out, he went to the bathroom and threw up. I also did the LeBoyer Bath with both kids moments after their birth. That was interesting.
Glad this rekindled some memories. 🙂
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Love this! The birth of our children is the greatest gift God can give us and the best test of patience! Ha! @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles
My dad always said, “Kids make you pay for your raising.” It’s very true.
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Ha, good one and I agree!
First of all, Happy Birthday, Greta! Second, glad to hear that the doctor managed to hold onto her! Wee ones are pretty slippery when they make their debut. My sister described the birthing process to me as the worst bowel movement of her life.
The baby’s head pushes out anything in the lower tract too. They put a bucket under the chair to catch that and afterbirth too. It’s not a sight for the timid.
I also took Lamaze and can remember turning on my hubby when he suggested at the wrong time I concentrate on my breathing. Happy birthday to your baby.
I’m sure when you’re hurting like that, the last thing you need is some know-it-all telling you how to breathe. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
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Happy Birthday to your baby girl!
She looks as if she inherited her father’s sense of the hysterical.
Great birthing story. I have one, too. My son is 30. Back then, they only did the ultrasound if they thought you were carrying an alien, so I didn’t have one either (an alien or ultrasound). I’m pretty sure I went to Lamaze class, too, but I don’t remember a thing. I kept obsessing on one thing: how am I going to get this humongous creature out of my little lady parts? The 1950’s film they showed about childbirth might just have well been the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Thank goodness it was in black and white. I was scared straight after that film. I think they show it in Junior High school to discourage underage sex.
Okay. I’ll stop now. 🙂
I understand perfectly. I didn’t want to be touched. I toughed it out on my own. My husband had the good sense to realize it and stayed back. He announced he was going for a snack at one point. I don’t remember him even being there in the labour room for the second birth. He was there giving orders to the doctor for both births, however. The doctor probably ignored him as he was busy. Hilarious post, Russell. 😀 — Suzanne