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Congratulations! You have a girl! Nah, just kidding.

His tie was the kind you find on crazy people. Or comedians. Turns out he was both. Except he was also one of the OB/GYN’s in my practice. We were supposed to rotate through all the doctors, since technically, you never knew who would be on call when you went into labor. Somehow, I didn’t get around to meeting Dr. Biden until I was 7 months pregnant.

“Hey there.” He said, sliding his stool in between my open legs. “How’s my girl doing?”

My husband and I exchanged a glance. We had never met this doctor, and he was looking at my vagina. He couldn’t be talking to my vagina, could he? That might qualify as inappropriate.

Wait. Maybe he meant the baby? But we had decided not to find out the sex. We were big into the surprise, no matter how much it irked my grandmother.

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “Are we having a girl? We don’t know the sex.”

He dramatically rolled his stool away from my open legs and snapped off his rubber gloves. I closed up shop, and sat up, looking at him expectantly.

“Oh, I don’t know.” He shrugged, “But that’s all I deliver.”

What was he saying? My husband and I looked at him apprehensively.

“Yep. I got two girls at home, and that’s all I deliver.”

Was I in the psych ward? I couldn’t stop staring at his Sylvester and Tweetie tie. Someone was definitely a bit Looney Tunes.

“Okay,” I braved cautiously and slowly. “So… what if I have a boy?”

“He does it.” He pointed to my husband.

“Me?” Howard asked, appalled. You couldn’t take Howard’s pulse, without him getting woozy.

“Yup, you.” He stood up to leave.  “Got any other kids?”

“One. A boy.” I answered automatically, still confused and distressed by this entire encounter.

“What’s her name?”  He asked, with half his body out the door.

“It’s a boy.” I repeated. “His name is Tyler.”

“Well, she’s going to be a big sister soon!” Wide crazy grin, and he’s out.

“What the hell was that?” I asked my husband.

“That was crazy.” Howard concurred.

“Do you think he was just covering up for accidentally telling us the sex of the baby?”

“Definitely possible.”

“I really hope he’s not on call when I deliver.”

“Copy that.”

March 22, 10:30am.

I got to the hospital already 7cm dilated. Howard ran thru 3 red lights to get us there, which is so impressive for my by the book attorney husband. If I wasn’t about to have a baby, I might just be turned on.

Through major contractions, I struggled to answer the questions required from a nurse who was as impassive as I was aflame. While I grit my teeth and writhed in pain, she apathetically repeated her unanswered question. “Allergies?”

Before I could scream my answer, a new question from a new voice interrupted.

“How’s my girl?” I heard, taking my pain to a whole new level.

My doctor had arrived.

“If you think you’re in pain,” He joked. “Try being shot three times.”

WTF? My face must have been quite the contortion of agony and horrified bewilderment.

“Oh yeah,” he continued, moving to lift his shirt, “want to see my scars?”

“No!” me, my husband and several of the nurses shouted simultaneously.

“Ignore him.” One of the nurses said to us, “He’s always messing around.”

“How bout you and I mess around?” Dr. Biden said suggestively and I think my amazement actually momentarily overrode my contraction.

It went like that for bit, one inappropriate comment after another. We were assured multiple times by the nurses that he was in fact a real doctor. And a good one. When the time came, my baby was out in three pushes.

On the last, I saw the doctor pull back from my body and motion to my husband. “Come here, now.”

My husband, already woozy from just being in the vicinity of a bleeding person, looked as if he were going to pass out. He shook his head.

“Come on, someone has to.”  Dr. Biden pulled away from my body further, and there was a beat of panic in the room.

Shakily, Howard moved in, seemingly at the last moment, and brought our baby out into this world. With the help of a nurse, he placed our newborn on my stomach.

“Congratulations! You have a girl!” Dr. Biden announced.

“We have a girl.” I thought, full of emotion and joy.

“Uh, no we don’t.” My husband’s voice interrupted my baby is out of my vagina euphoria. I snapped back to crazy, hormonal new mom.

“What the hell do I have!!!???”

“I’m looking at penis here.” Howard said and we both looked at the doctor wearing his best ‘who me’ face.

“What? I told you, I only deliver girls.”

Happy birthday, my feisty, green-eyed boy with the mischievous smile and fetching charm.  You could put the sun out of business, the way you light up a room and warm my heart. You have been the happiest surprise right from the start.

*When I went back to the office at 6 weeks, I heard Dr. Biden was out on medical leave. I’m betting on psychiatric.

DCF 1.0

Can you stand that gorgeous face?!

Can you stand that gorgeous face?!

 

My Labor of Love

Below is an excerpt from my journal about the day my son was born, 10 years ago today, on July 24, 2002 at 6:24am at 6lbs. He is as sweet and delicious today as he was as a baby, only a little more messy, if you can believe that. Happy Birthday baby love. I celebrate you every day since your first. You are, and always will be, just too good to be true.

July 23, 2002 – 2pm

My latest appointment with Dr. G – I’m effaced and 2 cm completely dilated. Dr. G said I’ve made progress and can go at any time. She said if I don’t go by next week, we could schedule an appointment for the end of next week. Uh oh. I don’t want that.

July 23rd – Later…

When she said I could go at any time. We really didn’t think she meant that night, but it turns out that’s what happened. Howard and I left the doctor and went about our normal day – me to the gym, busy contemplating the ultimate end of my pregnancy; and Howard off to work – looking so shell-shocked that I hoped he wouldn’t get lost on the way. We both knew I was pregnant. We had focused so hard on getting pregnant, and then on being pregnant, that  the idea that we would very soon have an actual baby, was, well, inconceiveable.

Later, we sat in front of the TV watching American Idol, another dumb Fox show that we had become addicted to (*it was its first season –who’d have guessed). I started feeling kind of funny and told Howard. We weren’t really sure at first, but when I started leaking, a call to the doctor seemed obvious. He told us to come on down. In less than two seconds, Howard was dressed, stop watch and overnight bag in hand. Off we went.

Hooked to many monitors, Dr. R (of course Dr. G wasn’t on call) confirmed it – my water had broken. Leaking like an open fire hydrant, I was officially admitted. In the beginning, the contractions seemed manageable, and Howard and I waited with anxious anticipation for what would happen next. Turns out, what happened next was an enema to speed up and intensify the contractions. I don’t know who thought up that medieval torture, and I don’t know how I agreed to that without any drugs in my system, but obviously I was vulnerable to figures of ‘doctorly’ authority, even ones over 70 with a bad comb-over. So along with my first labor, I had my first enema, and spent the next 30 minutes in the bathroom, doubled over in torture. Someone was pulling my guts out one by one! Was I going to have this baby in the bathroom?! Never have I experienced such constant, intense pain. This couldn’t be right. All those ridiculous Lamaze classes in no way  prepared me for the twisted anguish that was going on in my body. Deal with pain by massage? Breathe? Take a walk? BULLSHIT! F*&!* YOU lamaze lady!

The woman next door was screaming her head off, sawing on my last nerve. OMG. Was that where this was headed?! I asked for an epidural. Actually, I begged for it. I was blinded by pain by the time the man came and stuck that blessed, beautiful needle, that I had so dreaded, into my back. About 20 minutes later, all was good again.

It was 4am. I hadn’t seen the doctor or had an internal since I had arrived. They told me that the risk of infection with internals increase after you break your water. They also told me that according to the monitors, I wasn’t having very strong contractions. Howard and I were finally resting comfortably. We decided to believe them, even though we weren’t sure we did.

At around 6 am, I began to feel overwhelming pressure ‘downstairs’. I told the nurse, but she again told me that while I was having contractions every minute or so, they weren’t that strong.  I begged to differ. The doctor came in and confirmed it, there was a bowling ball that was about to come out my ass. Actually, he said, I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to go. The nurse shrugged and said that the monitors didn’t always register so well.  Bitch.

Dr. R told me I was ready to push whenever I felt pressure, then promptly left the room. Huh? For about 20 minutes, Howard and I sat alone unsure of what to do. I quietly, half-heartedly pushed with my contractions wondering if that was what we were supposed to do. When the nurse came back in, I told her again of the overwhelming pressure and asked what Dr. R meant about pushing. She casually told me he’d be in soon, that we’d all push together and not to worry. “Pushing can take a while,” she said, patting me on the shoulder. To set my mind at ease, she took a look at my progress. Well, I wasn’t feeling too at ease when she screamed, “Get the doctor! The head is coming out!”

Within seconds, the bed was broken down (into a delivery bed) and the doctor was back and in catching position. Approximately three minutes and five good pushes later, little Tyler fell out into the world. He was a perfect mini-Howard, (thank God it was a boy!) and the most amazing thing I had ever seen.

Now two weeks later, I’m still in awe that this beautiful, fascinating little creature is mine. My days are filled with feedings, my nights with, well, the same. My satisfaction is a good burp. My nipples are mutilated. I love every minute of it. Okay, almost every minute of it. I could do with a couple more hours of sleep. But, how incredible is this journey. How life altering. How unimportant everything else seems when his eyes study mine, when a sly looking smile crosses his meaty little lips, when his brows wrinkle in expression just like his father’s. After two years trying, Howard and I and baby Tyler are a family. I’m truly overwhelmed.