Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wild Rumpus


The day she was born was the happiest day of her parent’s lives. “She’s perfect,” said her father, “Absolutely,” said her mother, and she was, absolutely perfect. Okay, that’s pretty much plagiarized word for word from Kevin Henke’s book Chrysanthemum, but it captures my feelings completely. I’m not referring to the births of my books, those had much longer and more painful labors, nor were they absolutely perfect upon arrival. Nope, I’m referring to the birth of my oldest daughter. In celebration of her birthday, I want to tell the story of her birth, glitter globian style.

Once Upon a Time…I was in the hospital well in advance of my daughter’s birth because I just don’t do pregnancy well. Either that or I really put my back into it and gestate with all of my might. Let’s look at it that way. You know all those gorgeous pregnant women wearing their designer gowns or two piece swimsuits? Slackers! And a pox on all their houses! No, no, I don’t begrudge them their perfection at all. I’m far too jealous for that. I wanted to be one of those annoying women. I looked more like one of those primitive fertility goddess statues carved from a hunk of clay. People around me would run and take cover. No, that’s an exaggeration. People would actually gasp in horror and ask if I needed help or was okay.

There were extravagant baby showers I couldn’t attend because I was lying somewhere like an orca on the shore. Friends visited me to toss water on me so I wouldn’t dehydrate, and specialists tried to get me back into the water. Family traveled across the country to tend to my other children, and to decorate the baby’s room because I couldn’t do much with my short flippers.

A team of medical professionals had managed to relocate me to a hospital. Plopped on top a groaning gurney, I gestated. Loudly. I’m never doing this again, I said, often. My mother-in-law demanded I birth my daughter on tax day because her plane was leaving the next day and she was sick of waiting. I cooperated. With the help of a team of Obstetricians, early labor was purposely begun and my baby was magicked out. Truly magicked too, as difficult and complicated as pregnancy was for me, labor was just that easy. I could be the poster child for the woman who births a baby and returns to work in the fields. My husband handed me the video camera to film while we were in the delivery room. I wanted to walk back to my room with my baby. They wouldn’t let me. “I feel great!” I told Dear Hubby. “I want to have a sister for her as soon as possible! That wasn’t bad at all!” Dear Hubby, my mother-in-law, and visiting friends in the labor and delivery area tried to slap sense into me, but they couldn’t catch me because I was dancing around with my perfect baby.

My perfect baby had shoulder length black hair at birth, and it stuck straight out like a terrified chicken. Since Dear Hubby and I are both blondes, this phenomenon caused my mother-in-law no end of concern. She tried to slick it down and hide it under baby hats. I fluffed it up, slapped a big bow on it, and called her Max in honor of Where the Wild Things Are. Max has often asked what time she was born, and my answer always is: at the right time and just in time. Max was a horribly perfect baby, she roared her terrible roars and gnashed her terrible teeth and rolled her terrible eyes and showed her terrible claws, and when I look back over time I see very clearly, she really was absolutely perfect.

My Wild Thing

          “Oh, please don't go—we'll eat you up—we love you so!” Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are



    I find pregnancy so much fun. No really. The first time around, I had an easy pregnancy and a HARD labor. The second time, I had a hard pregnancy and an EASY labor. I was ready for a burger and dancing in the streets just minutes after. I got the sense-slapping too. It must be part of our Blue Cross plan? Bwahahaa