Saturday, April 16, 2005

Happy Birthday, my wonderful son

35 years ago just at about this exact time I was going to the hospital to give birth for the first time.
You think I'm crazy now; its been lifelong.
It was a beautiful spring morning in Cincinnati,Ohio. Sunny, a little cool but birds were singing, the sun was out.
I was so naive; 17 years old and thought I knew it all. I asked my older sister how I'd know I was in labor. She was an expert to me as she had 7 by then. All she told me was " I'd Know". My mother wouldn't even use the word pregnant, Pat was always " expecting". I never figured out she was expecting another child until I was about 13.
My birds and bees talk came from my Dad the night I went on my first date.
He called me downstairs and sat me down and asked if my mother ever talked about " birds and bees. My parents were a little older and we all think our parents are old fogeys anyway so I just looked at him and said yes, we talked a lot over the years about birds and bees. He responded with " ok.That's all I wanted to know.
That was my information for venturing into the dating world.
So here I was that morning having little cramps but nothing like what I had heard the older women complain about. My husband had left for work.
I was more unesy than in pain. So I thought I'd walk to my Mom's to see what she'd say about 8 blocks away. I walked down the 3 flights of stairs and about 4 blocks and stopped, thinking if I really was in labor maybe I shouldn't be walking. We didn't have a phone then to call anyone. So I then thought about the lady on the first floor.She had 3 kids she would be an expert too.
I walked back but they were still sleeping. So I started back to My Mom's. This went on for about an hour. Finally, I heard the family on the first floor awake so I knocked and explained my dilemna. They were country people from KY but just the best people you'd want to live near.
So they brought me in and sat me down at the table and made me coffee and fed me a dumptruck fill of Mama's Devil Food Cookies.
Lester would say when you are having one of them there pains you let me know. I didn't even know about timing contactions so I'd forget to tell him.
My due date was more than 3 weeks away so I really didn't think this could be the real thing. My doc had said all first babies are late.
An hour and a half went by and they started getting uncomfortable so i paid more attention. Finally, they had me call the doc.My doc was out of town so I was given the number of another doc taking his calls whom I'd never met. Turned out he was just as funny as mine.
He said maybe I should go to the hospital. Well, I was just shocked and what if I wasn't describing it right and it was a mistake.
I called my husband at work and told him what was going on.While he was coming home I went back upstairs to pack my paper bag ( I didn't have luggage).
And, on my way out I spied the kitchen table. Oh yes, I did too.
I climbed on the chair and got on the table and jumped. In case it was false labor I didn't want to be embarrased and I thought it might help.
Went down and waited for my husband to show up. Off we went to the hospital. Didn't know you could go to ER so we went to the parking garage. It was getting close to 11:00 and the garage was full. We had to park on the bottom floor and didn't think to look for an elevator. We walked up 5 flights of steps to the ground level and across the parking lot to inside the building and went to admitting. I just sat there calm and serene. My Mom would have been proud. No scenes or hysterics just waiting my turn.
A little old lady volunteer finally after about 30 minutes asked if I was in labor. I told her honestly I didn't know. Well, she about had a fit.
She grabbed a wheelchair pushed me in an about ran me to the elevator.
Got upstairs and it was lunch time so the staff got confused as to who was doing what. I was in the labor room for a couple of hours before they figured out someone ought to check on me.
They came in with these forms. We didn't have insurance;we were paying cash from our income tax return.Then she explained if it was a boy I might want to have him circumcised.
I didn't know what the hell that was but knew they did it for Jesus and if it was good enough for Mary's boy it would sure be a good thing for mine.
Later they let my husband come in the room for a short while. I now was real uncomfortable.
The nurse checked my vitals and because we were paying cash I was trying to go without meds. The new doc came in and introduced himself and checked me. He said I had about another 5-8 more hours to go. I told my husband I didn't think I could go that long without something.
So he went to tell the nurse to give me a shot.
It was a little while until she came in. She gave me the shot and went to the door. She later said something made her go back to check me.
All of a sudden she is hollering " she's crowning". I didn't know what that was either but deducted that if you were having a baby it was pretty important.
So they rushed me to the delivery room and in no time Dan was born.
Wow, I was a Mom.
They put me in the hall and said I'd have to wait until they did the circum thing.
Meanwhile, they had sent my husband down to see me. That was in the days of the fathers waiting room.
I told him they were doing this circum thing that they talked about in the Bible. I heard Dan wailing. Big Dan then explained what it was. I was horrified. I felt so bad for him to be just minutes old and to go through that. ( like it would feel better at any other time).
He was so cute though. They brought him out to me and he looked at me as if he was forgiving me.
He looked like a little clone of his Dad.
He was 5lbs 11 oz and 191/2 in long.
He had the blondest hair. But, he had hair all over him.All over him. I thought something was wrong with him and told them they could tell me that I was mature enough to handle it.
They explained some babies are born with this " down". Then later he would gag on his bottle of formula and I knew there wss something wrong. If he only had an older, smarter Mom this wouldn't be happening to him. Boy, was I a mess!
I had decided he would be a JR. His Dad threatened to name him Tyrone Hadley. That became the famuly joke for years.
I was told by my family that when he went to my parents he was beaming. He was so proud.
My Mom said he told her, " he looks just like me and Marge wants to name him after me".
I remember them bringing him to me later before visiting hours. I put my knees up and had him propped against my legs and started talking to him.
I told him I was making a promise that I would always love him and no matter what always know that.
And, that I wasn't too smart but I'd teach him everything I knew.
And, I'd protect him from all harm that I ever could.
He just kept looking towards me as if he knew what I was saying. Then I just held him until they came to take him away to the nursery again.
I realized in those moments I had crossed the generation gap. Another generation of Mitchell-Johnson was here.And, whatever he was to know depended on me.
Dan and I are very close even to this day.
As far a I can remember we have only ever had one argument when he was 16 and it was over my smoking.
He has never given me a moment of trouble. Lots of concern over the years but never any trouble.
He was not a healthy baby and was in and out of the hospital a lot until after he was 5 years old.Several surgeries.
But he was a happy baby.He was the absolute best child. And sometimes I wonder if there weren't expectations put on him that required him to be someone he wasn't. I feel so bad about that.
I have always said we've raised each other.
He put up with a lot having a Mom who was young and inexperienced. However, we have had fun too.
I think I can safely say 35 years later I kept my promises to him.
Son, I wish you knew how much I love you and appreciate you just because you are you.
Happy, Happy Birthday.
And by the way, the hospital bill was $317.00 and the doctor bill was $220.00( 20 extra for the circum thing!)Best $517.00 ever spent!

4 comments:

Dan said...

Mom, I'm blushing!

Thanks! :D

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