September 19, 2013

Unplanned? Unwanted? Unbelievable!

Today's post is inspired by Mama Kat: Tell the story of your birth.

I am child number four in a family of five children. As the only girl, you'd think I'd have a leg up on my competition...but it wasn't that way at all.

I was not a planned addition to the family. When I was in my 40s, my mom told me that she never wanted me, but my dad did. Like I needed that verbal confirmation - her actions over the decades spoke louder than any words that came from her mouth that day. And I always knew my dad loved me, no matter how hideous I was at my birth.

NOTE: Based on comments I'm receiving, I'm afraid that nobody is seeing the goodness and humor in my story. Trust me - writing about my less-than-ideal launch made me smile - it was all kinds of ridiculous, and resulted in zero difficulties in my physical development.

Anyway, back to my debut:

My mom went into labor when she was almost eight months' pregnant with me. She went to the hospital and was admitted. Back in the olden days, childbirth took place in labor wards. There was no private room, and no escape from the moans and screams of other laboring women, a flimsy curtain around each bed was the one semblance of privacy and method of maintaining one's dignity while the lady bits are open to the air.

As she was settled into her bed, labor stopped. She was moved to a regular room (semi-private, at best). For the next week, she was shuttled back and forth between the labor ward and her room, as labor started and subsequently stopped. Premature babies didn't fare well back when I was born, and everyone was hopeful that she could continue the pregnancy as long as possible.

On the seventh day, Dr. Newman, her OB, told her "You have a tumor. There are no signs of life."

On her eighth day of confinement, labor started again. But Mom had had enough of this nonsense. She endured the pain until she was nearly ready to deliver. In the rush to get her to the delivery room, I was almost born in the elevator on that April day. 

As was the practice, she was drugged into near unconsciousness and I was born.

At birth, I weighed four pounds, I.don't.know.how.many.ounces. My arrival into the world was not without its setbacks. My head was misshapen; my mom always said that part of the back of my head was attached to adhesions she had. 

Apparently, my appearance was so horrifying that they threw a blanket over me and whisked me away in an incubator. My mom didn't see me for the first two days of my life.

During this time in history, fathers were not welcome in labor and delivery. My dad was at home with my three older brothers when I was born - they baked cookies. My dad called the hospital to find out if he had another mouth to feed. The nurse who took the call told my mom, "If I had thought about it, I'd have told him that the baby was not like all the rest, so he'd know he had a daughter."

My dad and brothers all came to the hospital. My mom waved to the boys from her window (since children were not allowed to visit). My ten-year old brother Terry, wanting to be helpful, yelled, "Mom, we brought your girdle!"

When my dad went to the nursery to see me, another dad who got a look at me asked, "Is she retarded?" 

That new dad got a bit of sensitivity training from a nearby nurse.

And thanks to the wonders of not-so-modern medicine, I have only a small bump and scar on the back of my head from the repairs that were made to help me approximate the appearance of a human. I spent an extra 10 days in the hospital until I gained enough weight to be discharged.

From this inauspicious beginning, I went on to give birth to three tumors children of my own. Talk about your metastasizing - mine continue to grow outside my body!

And in the end? Arnold was right.



10 comments:

  1. You are beautiful. God had and has a plan for your life. Your birth and up bringing were part of it.

    My mother got pregnant at 22 before my parents were married. Her mother tried to talk her into an abortion. It was actually considered. But my dad stepped in and stopped that.
    My mother was in labor for 22hrs I believe. It was 1988 so things were getting better for laboring mothers.
    My mom was at 10cm and pushing. Then all of a sudden I somehow pulled myself back up out of the birth canal and was up by her ribs. They had to automatically knock her out and perform a csection. My dad said it was the scariest whirlwind of events.
    Because of the traumatic birth experience my mother suffered PPD and we think a little bit of PTSD. She went on to give birth to my 2 brothers within 2.5 years. All the while suffering from PPD and PTSD. She didn't get the help she needed and it almost seemed like she hated that we were even born. That and the abusive words of my father because he didn't understand what she was going through drove her over the deep end. She finally left when I was 7. I didn't have much of anything to do with her. When I was 15 she had a little girl with her boyfriend. She had had counseling and a much more pleasant birth experience. She was better. I finally started talking to her again at 18. Now she is like a best friend. I will never have that mother-daughter bond that she has with my sister. I am ever so jealous of it. But I know God had/has a plan for our lives and that's the way it had to be. It gets me through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you and your mom were able to re-establish your relationship.

      My mom did the best she could with the gifts she was given...it wasn't ideal, but everything turned out just fine.

      Delete
  2. Kim--It was so great to see your post pop up on my sidebar...It's been a while (I think, unless I've missed you).

    What a moving post. Sometimes what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. You're a survivor--in more ways than one.

    CS has a call out for stories about overcoming obstacles. How 'bout it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sioux,
      Work has been kicking my ass lately. I was hoping that folks could see some humor in my post - I was chuckling while I typed it.

      Yes, I'm a survivor - stubbornness has served me well!

      Delete
  3. This is a great story! It's amazing how much birthing babies has changed over the years, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Women had very little control over what happened to them during labor and delivery. I think it's much better now, with a family-focus and trying to make the birth experience as positive as possible.

      Delete
  4. Loved reading your birth story, Kim. My dad was ushered out of the room as my mom was laboring with me, because the doctor was pretty sure from the looks of him that he was close to passing out. How thoughtful of your dad and brothers to bring a girdle for your mom. I'm sure that was at the forefront of her thoughts ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great story...it's amazing how things have changed! My birth story is similar in that it would never happen today...

    And good work on all the mestastizing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. They strapped my arms and ankles down on the delivery table. How barbaric! You know Kim, this is a great story for CS. It wouldn't take you long at all to develop it. The gurdle part is a hoot. So your umbilical cord was attached to your head? Kidding.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love your humor! Growing up with four brothers must have been quite the experience!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!