Thought I’d post an excerpt from my book, Laughter, Tears and Braids, for those who have not yet read it. My book describes good times before cancer, our journey through, and the beginnings of putting it all back together. This was a good time:
I don’t specifically recall being told that we were expecting our first child. Perhaps it was in September, just a pregnancy kit at home. I do recall an overwhelming feeling of responsibility. I enjoyed the process of trying to get pregnant so the news in fairly short order was a bit of a letdown.
We attended Lamaze classes at the hospital closet to our house. There were about 12 couples in the course and all but two took things rather seriously. Lisa and I were in that camp. Our instructor, however, took it all very seriously. Her classes were well planned, and she did not hold back one teeny detail.
One night our teacher had the soon to be fathers sit on the floor and prop back on pillows. His spouse was then told to sit in his lap and practice breathing. Lisa was struggling to get comfortable.
“What’s wrong baby? Why are you wiggling?”
“Your belt buckle is jabbing me in the back.”
“Oh, I need to remember not to wear a belt on delivery day.” I took out my pencil and pad and began to scratch a note to myself.
“No worries honey, this is just a breathing exercise. I don’t think I’ll be lying in the floor propped up against you when the baby actually comes out.”
“Oh. Right.” I erased.
On the night they showed a video of the C-section, I began to get light-headed. Before they even began the operation, I excused myself. “I cannot watch this, I think I’m going to pass out,” I told my wife.
“YOU ARE PATHETIC! Go drink some water or something.”
Lisa and I talked about our birth plan. The instructor told us we needed to make decisions about what we wanted to occur during labor and delivery and write it in a notebook to share with our doctor prior to our final visit to the hospital. She discussed natural childbirth and even suggested that we might want to use a tub or whirlpool during labor.
Who in their right mind would have a baby in a whirlpool? Does the doctor get in there with you? Are we all in our bathing suits? Do you need a snorkel? Perhaps you don’t have the baby in it; maybe it is a pre-delivery method or something. Come to think of it, being in water can make one need to go to the bathroom, especially if it’s warm. Maybe it’s the same phenomenon.
After the first night of class, Lisa looked at me and said, “Our birth plan is to get as many drugs in my system as is humanly possible. I want them the second I walk into the hospital. If we go to the hospital and they say I’m not ready to deliver, we will stay in the parking lot. That is our plan. You can write it down if you want.”
I fully concurred. I did not want to see my wife moaning and groaning in pain while delivering my baby. It’s just all so unnatural.
Lisa also told me that I had three other important jobs during delivery. Job one was to stay up by her head. She told me she did not need me down there checking things out. It was private, between her and her doctor.
I said, “Honey, I though that area was between you and me.”
“It was between you and me. Now it is between my doctor and me. I don’t need the image in my mind of you having that image in your mind. Stay up by my head.”
That was fine with me! I’d seen enough childbirth in Lamaze class to last time a lifetime. I agreed it was probably best not to watch.
The second job I had was to make sure the nurse cleaned off the baby before she slapped her on Lisa’s chest.
“When the baby comes out, have them wash it off before they give it to me.”
“Because I want a Gerber baby moment, and Gerber babies don’t have blood all over them.”
I’d seen the commercials. She was right. I didn’t even know they would try to slop a nasty, unclean baby on you. I was glad to have something specific to add to the cause.
“Your final job, and I know this is going to be hard for you, is not to make jokes.”
I had no problem with jobs one and two, but no jokes?
When we left the delivery room with our first-born daughter, DJ, the inside of my mouth was as bloody as a Freddie Krueger horror movie victim. I had bitten my tongue so hard all day to keep from cracking jokes that it was like minced meat.
Laughter, Tears and Braids is available on Amazon. Click here to order a copy.