Almost 14 years ago, when my poor Lovely Wife's belly appeared unable to expand any farther, she gave birth to our first child.
She desperately hoped for a daughter and the ultrasounds told us she would get what she wanted. I got quite good at recognizing the tell-tale embryonic gender indicators during those visits. It helped that our unborn baby girl did not mind gracing us with the ocasional explicit angle -- a habit that doesn't seem to end until they reach 10 or 11 years of age.
Ever the impatient woman, my Lovely Wife employed certain tactics to encourage the birthing process. She had read the act of walking would help move the baby along down the birth canal, so it was not an uncommon sight during those final weeks of her pregnancy to see her circling our small living room with a very confused Dalmation sniffing at her heels as she went round and round the coffee table. She even walked the running track at our local high school during the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life the day before checking in to the hospital. That's what I call determination.
Once we had her settled in the birthing suite, labor pains escalated as the laughably mild contractions of the day before were replaced by the real thing. The pains came and went all through that Saturday night.
And what was the expert advice we received to help move the process along? Walk.
So, I played the part of Dalmatian as we walked circles around the corridors, repeatedly stopping as the next wave of contractions gripped my Lovely Wife. If a chair were handy, she would sit and press her head into my stomach as she concentrated on controling her breathing. I learned then that it's extremely difficult to maintain the appropriate serious composure when your wife looks up at you with a belt buckle impression in the middle of her forehead.
Eventually, the epidural was administered. We are not the all natural, new age, unconventional, statement-making kind of people. Drugs exist for specific purposes, and this was one of them. I kept watching the monitor showing the onsloaught of massive contractions and eying the mother-to-be to make sure the medications were doing their job, but I had nothing to fear.
"Everyone should have an epidural," she sighed, oblivious to the internal struggles.
Our Darling Daughter presented herself after only three rounds of pushing and deep breathing. I cut the cord, she cried, we cried, they cleaned her up, and we took turns holding her. Family members came and went, oohing and aahing over the scrunched up, swaddled bundle that was our new baby girl.
A day later she was home with us, and our lives were forever changed. Now, if someone can help us get through the teenage dating years, we might survive to grandparenthood.
Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers out there. Thank you for the blessings you've brought to our lives.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler