Recommended wine for today’s entry: Vincent 2004 Pouilly-Fuisse Marie-Antoinette Burgundy, France. This Pouilly-Fuisse is grown in several parcels belonging to the Vincent family (Marie-Antoinette Vincent is Jean-Jacques’ mother). (http://www.champagnewines.com/best_selling/french_wines.htm)
I chose a French wine today in honor of our friends Julie (who is French) and Marijn (he’s Dutch, so he’d probably prefer a beer), who had a new baby boy last Sunday! Apparently mother and baby (Tim) are doing well, and I’m so glad! My own childbirth experience wasn’t too impressive.
We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m., as instructed, for the scheduled C-section. The baby was breech and, luckily, my really old (I am talking his first name was Cecil – that’s how old he was) obstetrician with the shaky hands was scheduled to be out of town. So a younger doctor, whom I had met once before agreed to do the surgery. He even remembered me, probably due to this conversation in my fifth month of pregnancy:
Me: Hey, I was just wondering. Is birth weight in any way hereditary?
Him: Sure. It can be. Why? Were you a big baby?
Me: No. I was normal. But my father was the size of a small lawnmower.
Him: (Looking at my file and tuning me out as best he can). Hmm. Shouldn’t be a problem.
Me: (Getting agitated). No, it shouldn’t be a problem FOR YOU. I’m talking about a small TRACTOR here. And I’m no expert, but that sounds like it’s going to HURT. Me. HURT ME.
Him: How big are you talking?
Me: Like over 12 pounds big.
Him: (Obviously taken aback but keeping game face on). Well, you won’t have over a 7-pound baby; I can just about guarantee that.
Me: JUST ABOUT? And how do you guarantee it? Can we keep checking it and you swear that when it gets to 7 pounds you’ll take it out?
Him: (Trying to get the hell out of there). I’ll talk to your doctor – don’t worry.
And he was gone, fleeing down the hall faster than docs usually do.
So now that my big day was here, I’m sure he was giddy when he saw me again.
The nurses who prepped me for the C-section first had another task. We couldn’t decide on a boy’s name — it was narrowed to Gregory and Michael, and there were three nurses, so we let the odd-numbered group have the final say. (They chose Gregory after extensive discussion and mimicry of the Michael on the old show Thirty Something who was “whiny and sniveling.”)
Then they gave me an epidural. I lay there, feeling my legs go numb. My brain wasn’t far behind.
Me: Hey, if my legs are numb, what do I do in case of fire?
Nurse: (confused): Huh?
Me: I mean, I can’t exactly run to the nearest exit.
Nurse: One of us will get you out.
Me: OK, that’s not gonna cut it. I need one of you to declare. I need to know WHO EXACTLY IS GOING TO GET ME OUT OF HERE IN CASE OF A FIRE.
Nurse: (After looking around at the other two, thinking maybe it’d be more humane to just let me incinerate) – Uh, … OK, I’ll get you.
Me: Thank you. Please don’t forget me. I swear to God I’ll haunt you.
Then they put some other medicine in my drip.
Now we’re in the OR. I can see the doctor over the little drape they have in place just below my head.
Me: I can still see you all down there. This ping-pong net thingie isn’t hiding you.
Doc: That’s OK. I’m just about to make the incision through your abdomen …
Me: (Interrupting, a bit loudly) HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! You don’t need to tell me that you’re taking a machete or whatever and goring a hole in my stomach! Unless I can help in any way, why don’t you keep those thoughts to yourself?
Doc: (Taken aback). Alrighty, then. (I see him give a look to the anesthesiologist, who gives me a little more of something …)
I vaguely remember a man jumping on my chest, then finally the nurse saying, “It’s a girl.”
Once they got the poor child, who had been so pinned under my ribs that her head is STILL misshapen, out and breathing, they must have pulled back on the drugs, because I remember this.
Me: OK, who was the old man who was doing the high jump over the ping-pong net?
Doc: What old man? What are you talking about?
Me: I saw an old man high-jumping. Don’t try to tell me I didn’t.” (Then, distracted, I saw the rack with the used sponges hanging in the room). And OH MY GOD, aren’t you going to put those organs back in?
Nurse: Hon, those are just sponges that we used to soak up blood during the surgery. They …
Me: I AM NOT STUPID. I recognize my spleen and I think I need that. Also, that looks an awful lot like a liver and I HAVE BIG PLANS FOR MY LIVER…
Right. Back to the IV. Just a wee bit more of some special liquid for their favorite patient.
And just for the record, in the recovery room one of the nurses (maybe because she felt we had a bond due to our fire-escape plan) told me that an assistant was indeed “putting a lot of pressure” on my chest in an effort to get the baby out from under my ribs. Hah! And he was really short, so he would have had to jump up to do it …
Believe it or not, my older obstetrician retired about the time I got pregnant with my second child. But this new guy actually stuck with me. A glutton for punishment. Or we have good insurance.