Tag Archives: birth

Ruminations on the day before my birthday

27 Aug

It is the 27th day of August and it is raining. The day before my birthday and I am taking two days off from work.

I read somewhere that marketing folk never introduce a new product in August. I have heard that August is when all of the shrinks leave Manhattan for cooler climes, leaving their patients to swelter and cope for the entire month.

August has some issues.

On this day in history, the volcano, Krakatau exploded in 1883, LBJ was born in 1908; in 1910 Thomas Edison demonstrated the first talking pictures; also in 1910, Mother Thesea was born;  Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs made his first appearance in a magazine in 1912; and Brian Epstein died in 1967.

On this day in history, in 1958 in Enterprise, AL, my mother’s water broke. Or so I’ve been told.  I wouldn’t really know because I wasn’t there. Well, I was there, but…OK, you know where I was–wondering why I was hearing the rush of water all of a sudden.

My parents had a friend  named Mr. Searcy who owned a mortuary, so he also owned a fleet of ambulances. Apparently there was a fine line between destinations when one entered an ambulance in 1958. Hospital or funeral home….Let’s just take a ride and we’ll see how it goes.

These were pre-paramedic days, after all. They may still have been using leeches to cure people for all I know.

Anyway, my parents had an arrangement with Mr. Searcy to drive my mother to the hospital in Dothan. I was due in October, so since I was premature, my mother was not allowed to have any anesthesia or pain killers. The hospital staff  also wouldn’t let her have any water.

I know this, because my mother told me this story hundreds of times. I wouldn’t say she was resentful, but she wanted to make sure I was fully apprised of all she had gone through to bring me into this world.

Thanks a million, Mom. But I didn’t ask to be born, now did I?

Apparently being in labor is painful. That’s what my mother told me anyway. To make matters worse, despite the whole “premature” thing, I was taking my sweet time vacating the womb.

Isn’t that just like me? Always early wherever I go, but never quite convinced I want to go there in the first place.

As I mentioned, in addition to the excruciating pain my poor mother endured, she was also dying of thirst. She spoke fondly of one particular nurse, an angel of mercy who dabbed my mother’s lips with ice cubes.

My mother insisted mine was a natural birth–not by design, but because they wouldn’t give her any drugs, lest theyharm her fragile premature baby. To hear her tell it, my mother invented natural child birth. Oh, the agony.
One of my favorite scenes in the TV show Mad Men is when an obviously pregnant woman, smoking a cigarette and holding a martini glass, puts down the empty glass and grabs a fresh drink from the tray of the waiter passing by. (They didn’t really know better back then…) All I could think of when I saw that scene was, “My mother, folks!”

So, it is a little ironic they wouldn’t let my poor mom have any pain killers, considering the nicotine and cocktails I had no doubt been enjoying since I was a mere zygote.

And so, on August 27, 1958, my parents waited for me to arrive.

But of course, I wasn’t born on August 27th. I wasn’t born until 3PM the next day.

Poor, Mom.

I can only imagine what was going through my tiny, new brain at the time. “What’s with all the pushing?! I’m not leaving! Don’t I get a say in this?!”

I don’t remember the experience, but I hung in there as long as I could.

As Jim Morrison said:  “Actually I don’t remember being born, it must have happened during one of my black outs.”

Happy Anniversary of my last full day in the womb.



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