Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Twenty-One Years Ago Today....

...I was asleep. I was also in labor.

I'd woke at three in the morning with contractions 4 minutes apart. My husband got up and made us pancakes, and sliced some Mixon's oranges (the same grower whose oranges we have in our refrigerator right now). We headed to the hospital while it was still dark on an Indiana morning sparkling with cold.

My obstetrician was on a ski vacation. At the hospital some other physician examined me and said I'd just started dilating. My contractions were coming closer together. I sat in a bed hooked to a monitor until just before noon, when a nurse came in and told me the physician told me to go home.

 I didn't think I should go home. I explained to the nurse that was my first pregnancy, and that I'd been told to go to the hospital if my contractions were closer than five minutes apart.

"So now my contractions are two minutes apart, right?" I said, checking the monitor.

"Right," she said.

"And they're real contractions, right?" I said.

"Oh yes," she said.

"Then if I go home, how am I supposed to know when to come back?"

The nurse leaned forward and whispered, "At five o'clock, when the shifts change."

This was totally honest advice. My husband and I went out for cheeseburgers--what can I say? I was hungry--and then went home, and I was so tired I fell asleep. When my husband called my name I jumped awake, startled, in the middle of a contraction, and fell out of bed. It wasn't very pleasant feeling but it made me laugh.

I called my obstetrican's office at 5:01 and spoke to a wholly different physician. I explained the whole story. She sighed. "Get back here now," she said.

I went back, but it was still another dozen hours before my beautiful son was born. He came on New Year's Eve, which from a financial point of view is WAY better than being born on New Year's Day. You get an entire year's tax deduction out of it--our tax refund paid the hospital bill.

Tomorrow, or, I suppose, midnight tonight, he turns twenty-one. Adult. Hard to imagine.

When he was born he had a whole head of dark brown hair. It fell out, and what grew back was absolutely blond. He was a towheaded, skinny toddler. Now he's tall and grown up and his hair is dark again.

It happened so fast. It's been so much fun.