>My girl’s coming home this weekend! Out of the blue she called me and said, “What are you doing Sunday?” Turns out, it’s just as quick for her to come through my neck of the woods to get from point A to point B as it is to use the route she took on her way from point B to point A. Happy day for me!! This would be my oldest I refer to. Ann. The bright one. Did I always know she was the bright one? You better believe I did. But I’ll get to that in a minute. Since she is my first born, I should start with all the trouble she caused me from the get-go. And she caused me a LOT of trouble! LOTS!!
Some people have trouble with the conception part. Not me. Look at me cross-eyed. Bam! I’m pregnant. Brush up against me in the subway. Bam. I’m pregnant. Wash our clothes together in the same machine. You guessed it. Pregnant!! They call me Fertile Myrtle. So, no. Getting pregnant did not cause me any troubles. Being pregnant? Different story entirely. I was a raging bitch lunatic when I was pregnant. My sister always had huge hormonal issues from the time she was a teen, but when she was pregnant she was happy, happy, happy. Not me. Even-keeled hormones my entire life, but put a baby in my belly and I was psychotic! Not sure if this comes as any huge surprise to anyone, but “bitch” was not a happy word back then like it is now.
My pregnancy with Ann was fairly normal. I guess. I had no clue what “normal” was. I didn’t get sick. Never puked. Had only mild cravings (donuts….YUMMY). Didn’t gain a pound until I was 7 months along. She was growing at a normal rate, but I didn’t gain weight. My OB suggested that I needed to put on some weight. I obliged. 15 pounds the next month. My OB suggested that I not put on THAT much weight during the next month. 10 pounds!! Oops. Did I mention the donuts? It’s all I wanted to eat. I’m sure that was VERY good for the baby. Actually, I believe it’s what made her so smart. By the time I had her I had put on 35 pounds. Not perfect, but not horrible. She was due October 24th. She was born November 5. Let me just say that those two weeks of being overdue were not the happiest time in my life. I finally kind of started showing some signs that my labor would start. Lost the plug at 8pm. Started having some contractions a couple hours later. Nothing fierce. My former room mate said labor wasn’t any worse than cramps. Happy day for me! I never got cramps. This was going to be a breeze. I didn’t stop to take into consideration that my former room mate was curled up in bed with heating pads for two days out of every month because of the severity of her cramps. Yes. That would have been a good thing to think about when gearing up mentally for labor. What can I say? I was 21 and STUPID!
By midnight my contractions woke me up. By 3am my contractions were about 5 minutes apart so I woke up my baby-daddy and said we needed to go to the hospital. So we went there and my contractions stopped. Just stopped! No good reason why. I was not dilated very far so they told me to go home. Do you remember that I was a raging bitch? Now would be a good time to remember that. I told them I was not going home and that they should call my doctor. So, here’s a woman who isn’t dilated. Isn’t having contractions. Demanding that her doctor be called at 3 in the morning. Totally rational! But they called the doctor. And do you know why I love that man??? Because he told the nurse, “She is two weeks over due. Do NOT send her home. Give her something to start her contractions.” Yes. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. By 8am I was only dilated to a 3, after having contractions all night long. The doctor did the normal doctor thing and went, “Hmmm.” And then walked out of the room. Don’t give me “hmm” and walk out of the room. Take this baby out of me!!!!! I was tired and getting increasingly cranky. Well. He must have read my mind because he came back in with what looked like a large crochet hook and informed me they were going to break my water, which should get the contractions going a little harder. Up to this point, I could feel the contractions but they didn’t hurt too bad..just a little uncomfortable. Twelve hours of uncomfortable contractions and my body was doing nothing to aid in getting this stubborn child out of me. So they broke my water. SON OF A BITCH!!!! Do you know how intense contractions get after your water is broken. Holy hell. I was suddenly in such excruciating pain that I really wanted to kill something. I was NOT prepared for this. I have a high tolerance for pain and am not a sissy by any stretch of the imagination, but that first contraction after they broke my water was ridiculous. There should be laws against it. Give me drugs! Any preconceived notion that I’d ever had about having a natural childbirth went right out the window. So they gave me an epidural. Sweet relief. This was going to be fine. I could relax.
Wrong! This is when everything went downhill. Suddenly the baby’s heart rate started dropping. The nurses came flying into my room, one trying to get an oxygen mask on me, one trying to get blood pressure. One barking orders to call the doc. And I had no idea why there was such a fuss. I wasn’t watching the monitors. I was watching the TV. It was all very disconcerting. One of the nurses said that I needed to roll over on my side to alleviate pressure on the baby. Well, I was NUMB! I couldn’t feel a damned thing so baby-daddy had to help them roll me over. Remember, that just short time before they had broken my water? Well, as baby-daddy grabbed me by the side to help me roll, I guess there was still some slimy amniotic residue on my skin, and it must not smell nice because he started going down! The nurse had to then let go of me, and help him out of the room before he all-out fainted. I’m laughing as I write this now, but at the time I was so unbelievably pissed at his lack of fortitude.
Rolling me over and putting an oxygen mask on me did the trick. The baby’s heartrate came back up to normal, and all was well. I lay there watching TV listening to baby-daddy give updates with each contraction, “Wow, that one went right off the chart.” I didn’t care. I couldn’t feel it. 11:30am. Ah, transition. Time to start pushing. This will all be over very soon. With every contraction the nurse would tell me to push. And I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. Nothing. 12:30pm. Still pushing. Still nothing. Baby’s heart rate is still good, so no worries. 1:00pm. Still pushing. Exhausted. But still pushing. Still nothing. Baby’s hear rate still good, so no worries. 1:10pm. Still pushing. Good job. We see the baby’s head. At this point I don’t give a rat’s ass about anything. Just get that damned thing out of me (sorry, babe). I couldn’t feel any pain, but I was TIRED! So, THEY could see the baby’s head. About the size of a quarter’s worth of head just sitting there. 1:15. Still pushing. Still a quarter’s worth of baby’s head sitting there. They thought they’d better move me to delivery, because this was going to be fast from this point. (Yes, this was back in the day when you had a separate labor room and delivery room.) 1:20pm. On the delivery table. Feet put up in the stirrups. Mirror at the end so I can watch this stupid miracle of birth, and then….what the hell is that! I have not seen myself from this direction before. And out of my tired mouth, via my tired brain I said, “Oh my gosh! I’ve got stretch marks!” REALLY. The nurses stifled a laugh. 1:30pm. Still pushing. Still just a quarter’s worth of baby’s head sitting there. Then it happened. The baby’s heart rate plummeted! PLUMMETED!! The doctor was just outside the door on his way into the room when the nurses hollered to get the doctor. They couldn’t do a C-section because she was firmly planted in the birth canal, and they couldn’t push her back up in order to do a C-section. But the baby was in distress. The main nurse (I think she was Brunhelda because she was large and hairy), barked at me, “PUSH!” And I tried to push. I really did. I gave it everything I had. But after two hours of pushing I didn’t have a lot left. The doctor snipped me (no anesthetic at all and by this time the epidural was wearing off AND I FELT IT!!!), then put the forceps around the baby’s head and literally put one foot on the delivery table to brace himself and he pulled while Brunhelda pushed from the top….with her elbow….at the top of my large pregnant belly…AND I FELT IT!!!! 1:41pm. Done.
Yes, she caused me a lot of trouble! There were complications from that delivery that I am still affected by today. My poor body will never be the same. Who knew that a little baby could cause so many problems. I won’t even get into the whole breast feeding nightmare! *shudder* Boy, does that still bring back some painful memories. LOTS of trouble from that little one. That little 8#10oz baby girl. She was a good baby. At two weeks she was sleeping through the night. God knew that I needed a good baby.
I knew from the beginning that Ann was smart. I could tell it from the time she was brand new. But by the time she was 5 I knew without a doubt that she would always be smarter than me. She was in Kindergarten and had a little worksheet that she was supposed to get done, but she didn’t do it. So I grounded her from TV. She put her little hands on her hips and looked at me and said, “Mom. The punishment should fit the crime.” WHAT??? Who are you, anyway? So I asked her why she didn’t get her homework done. She thought about it a minute. So I asked her if she had been watching TV. She admitted that she was. So I said, “The punishment DOES fit the crime.” That’s the way it always was. I had to consider her punishments carefully because I knew she’d question the connection between the crime and punishment. One time after telling her no for something she said (the classic), “But all my friends get to do it.” I asked (the classic), “If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it?” A moment of silence. I could tell she was thinking about it. “How high is the cliff?” Boy, oh boy, was I in trouble? This one was a thinker.
I knew from the time that Ann was young that she was going to be a tree hugger. When she was in first grade she came home with a handful of garbage. She proudly handed it to me. I asked what it was for. She said, “We talked about littering at school and that it was bad for the environnment and to make sure to throw my garbage away.” I said, “Honey, that doesn’t mean that you have to pick up all the garbage on your way home from school.” Hands on the hips again. “MOM! It’s litter, isn’t it?” Oh boy. I was in for it.
I knew from the time Ann was born that she would have a mind of her own. When she was a few days old I decided to “teach” her to go to sleep on her own. I didn’t want to get into the habit of rocking her to sleep every day because I’d heard that was a hard habit to break a child from. So she was going to learn to go to sleep on her own. I rocked her for a few minutes, then went and laid her in her basinett. She was quiet. This was going well. I walked out and shut the door. And it began. She cried. And cried. And cried. I set the timer for 20 minutes (my doctor said I could let her cry for 20 minutes…I had asked him about it before trying this). After 20 minutes of wailing, I went back into her room and picked her up. She immediately stopped crying. Then she looked me square in the eyes, filled up her lungs with air and screamed!!! She was pissed!! This is NOT what she wanted to do. Her little chin was just quivering she was so pissed. She didn’t cry for more than minute…just wanted to let me know that she did NOT approve of my tactics. I walked her around the house and sang to her. Every lullaby that I knew. Then back in the basinett she went. Set the timer. Listen to her scream. Pick her back up after 20 minutes. She’d look at me all calm, then SCREAM her disapproval. Then settle down while I’d sing to her. The third time I put her back down, do you know what? She didn’t cry. I’ll be damned. The child went to sleep. The next night it was the same routine. Two rounds of screaming, then to sleep. After a week, I would put her in the crib and she’d go to sleep without a fuss. She was a good baby. She always let me know how she felt about everything. With Ann, I always knew where I stood. To this day, I always know where I stand with her. She verbalizes very well. Always has. One day when she was a young teen she tried to tell me that she had just now developed a mind of her own. She had begun listening to different music. I said, “Ann, why don’t you listen to Country anymore?” She goes (hands on the hips, as you might have guessed), “Mom. Now that I can think for myself, I don’t like Country music.” Hah! Since when have you NOT been able to think for yourself.
Ann was always a daddy’s girl. It kind of hurt my feelings that I did everything for that child, but the second her dad would walk in the door at the end of the day she was all sunshine and roses. She only had eyes for him. She could take me or leave me. It didn’t matter. As long as she had her daddy. When she turned 11 that all changed. She suddenly wanted to spend time with me, go for rides with me, hang out with me. Her dad asked her what happened. Why didn’t she want to spend time with him anymore? Didn’t she like him anymore? And, with her hands on her hips, said “Daddy! You just don’t understand what it’s like to be an 11 year old girl.” YES!! I WIN!! Oh wait. It’s not a competition.
Ann and I have had our ups and downs in our relationship, but since she turned 17 it has all been “ups.” She taught me how to communicate. I had to learn. She required it. She was never satisified with the “Because I’m the mom and I said so” answer. She taught me that moms and daughters can be friends. She tested me. She made me question the logic of having children. She caused me a lot of trouble at the very beginning, but every bit of that pain I would gladly go through again to have this child in my life. Not a child now, but a beautiful young woman. A woman with a mind of her own. A woman who will tell you exactly what she thinks. A woman who is smart. And FUNNY. A woman I am proud to call my daughter. I love you, Babe!!