Home Birth

I'm writing about home birth. It is short story about a nightmare/miracle that occurred 27 yrs ago. I'm old school. I think a man should be pacing back and forth with his buddy,smoking a cigarette,pacing nervously with his wife surrounded by 200 hundred doctors and nurses,all specialized in baby births,and keeping the father informed minute by minute.

But, my wife? No,she wanted to have our first born natural,on the floor of our home,with just midwifes and maybe a doctor... if needed. I eventually gave in. I even agreed to go to home birthing classes. I remember the first class. All the midwifes looked the same,like they just stepped off the Santa Maria,pilgrims. They wore no makeup,no lipstick,all wearing dresses made of linen and all with their hair tied back and held by a rubber band.

All the guys looked like I thought I should have looked. They all wore desert boots,had ponytails,sat crossed legged like Indians,and all seemed to be..humm..how do I put this...gentle and sensitive. I know I loved my wife as much and probably more than any of them,I just wasn't sold on this having my baby born in my house.

I definitely had the feeling everyone knew I shouldn't be there. I love my wife,but I'm not a hand holder,which gave me away,but I tried to pay attention. Sue was transfixed to every word the midwife said. I pretended to be 100% behind this who idea of home birth. Truthfully, I knew I didn't fit in this class,and that everyone knew it.

Still, I feigned interest,until a midwife said something that made me feel like I had entered another world. It was a simple question,I guess. No-one but me seemed to show any response. The question was asked with such casualness that it took a few seconds for it to register.

 "Have any of you thought what you'd like to do with your placenta?" The mid wife asked, like she was asking where we parked our car.

What?????????????. I mean I confess it never entered my mind,but how many options do you have??

I remember putting an elbow into Sue's rib. I leaned over,trying not to look horrified.

"What the hell have you got me into here?" I whispered. My mind raced to come up with a practical, non offensive disposable plan.

Bag it up...double bag it,triple bag it,put it in the garbage can... make sure the lid is sealed properly...put a concrete block on the lid...right ? And then she said it.

"Some people bury theirs and plant trees or plants over them, she said matter of factly. Personally,Tom and I put ours in the freezer,then ate it,later. We used garlic and butter. Remember the placenta has the highest content of protein of any food you can eat."

Yea, then why isn't it on the Outback menu!! I thought to myself.

I just knew I was in the midst of a cult, maybe even cannibals,maybe even vampires. Yet,all this time Sue sat calmly listening.

Ok,screw this, I said to myself. I didn't bargain for this. I didn't care if the placenta was made of solid gold. It wasn't finding it's way to any skillet in my house. I stared at Sue who finally showed some concern. The other couples listened and acted as if none of their senses were shocked. Sue leaned over and tried to calm me. "Honey,the tree idea would be kind of a neat idea."

 I felt like I needed a wooden cross,a silver bullet,a mirror,a garlic necklace,some wolf bane,anything to protect us.

Somehow, when the class was over I shuffled Sue to the parking lot...and we both busted out laughing.

"I can't do this,honey, seriously,did she drive up in a hearse ?" Somehow, Sue convinced me that was the only thing she thought odd.

On Nov the 4th, 1981 Sue began her labor. We called the ghoul, I'm sorry, the mid-wife, she said she'd be there in about an hour. No doctor was called. The whole neighborhood knew what we were doing. They lined the fence in the back yard. People were ringing the doorbell to check on her. Sue's mom was there,her sister and brother. When Sue's mom get's nervous, she cleans. I had the cleanest kitchen in the world.

I was set. I knew exactly what my job was. I had frozen the orange juice and broke it into little chips. This was for my wife when her mouth got dry. I heard the mid-wife say 6 cm. I had no idea what that meant. So,basically my job was to keep the neighbors informed. They all wanted to know how I was doing,too. Hey,I was great. I was just waiting on Sue to ask me to rub her shoulders. This was a very important task I took seriously.

We can't have any tension. It wasn't long before my name was called.

"Ray,Sue needs her shoulders massaged."

I rushed in,took my place behind her. She was on the floor leaning back against the couch.I was ready. I was pumped. Maybe I was too pumped.

"RAY!!!" Stop it!! Your hands are too rough." The mid-wife pretty much knocked me off the couch and took my place. "Oh yes..that's so much better."

I admit I was a little pissed,because I really thought she would like a deep tissue massage. Oh well,I had the orange chips. How could I screw that up?

I decided to take matters in my own hands. This was my baby,too. I grabbed the colander filled with frozen orange chips and put it in front of her to wet her mouth. She immediately threw up at the site of frozen orange chips. The mid-wife shooed me away.

"Damn it...This is what you told me was my job!!" I said, under my breath.

I stormed outside and lit a cigarette.  "How's Sue ? Is she close?" I was turned into a messenger boy.
"I think we're getting close." I said, not having a clue.

Just then I got the call from the midwife.

"Ray,get in here,"She's crowning."

"Crowning ?" This sounded important. I ran in not knowing what I was going to see. Hell,she may have a Tiara sprouting from her head. Instead, I saw what looked like the top of a head. I turned into a cheer leader.

"Come on,Honey, I see something coming, I think it's our baby!!!" It was then the doctor came walking in. Perfect timing. "Push,Push,harder...push harder. In one split second something came out. Sue let out a sigh.

"What's he look like,honey?" She excitedly asked.

"It looks like a baby head" I replied. She felt the release and thought our son was out. The doctor instructed me to slide my finger gently under his armpit and tug slowly. Sue was still unaware our baby wasn't out,yet.

"Ray,what's he look like?" Stumped for an accurate description,I blurted out.

"Honey, I think you gave birth to a round baby bird. We can roll it around to our friends. We could play pitch and catch." Sue was in no mood for humor. Then,like a mystical undefinable act of God,my son slid out. I don't care what anyone tries to tell you, a new born baby looks like a bird. But,Omigod what a breathtakingly beautiful baby bird. I broke down like a baby. I was crying so hard when I placed the baby on Sue's stomach.

I had to run outside and tell our neighbors that still lined the fence.
"We have our baby son." I tried to say through my tears. There is no other experience in life that compares to watching the birth of your child. If you're a man, to be the first one to touch your son can never be explained. I went back in. Everyone was crying. I also found out I had one more act to perform....the bellybutton. I did NOT want to do this. What if I screwed up ?
I've seen some pretty gross belly buttons. The doctor gave me the scissors and told me where to cut. All I could think of was messing up. What if it looks like a penis ? He'll never forgive me. He'll be a freak of nature...
popular with the girls, but still a Barnum and Baily geek sideshow. I could hear it in my mind.
 "Step right up folks... for only a dollar- see the boy with two Penises!! Screwed up at birth by his negligent father..."
I cut the cord. I layed my head on Sue's stomach. I've never seen her so happy. He was born at 5 PM. They stayed up almost all night. I was in bed by 6:30 PM. I couldn't handle another second of stress. That's right, I was was worn out.
Oh...the placenta?
Triple bagged and put in an airtight trash can. I remember excusing myself to lay down. No-one seemed to care. They had someone else to keep them occupied. I remember feeling so exhausted as my head hit the pillow.
I was no-longer Ray the husband. I helped create a life. I was a father. When we woke up we would be parents. I would forever be a dad, and Sue, a mother. Life would never be the same. Watching and being the first hand to touch my son was a miracle...the classes and the teen years were a nightmare. Exhausted, and beaten from all the mistakes I made, I gently closed my eyes. I could hear the room full of excitement down the hall. I drifted away, happy that I was a father, and that my son would not bear the ridicule of having to take gym classes with an obscene belly button. 

AspiringAngel   AspiringAngel wrote
on 2/2/2009 3:32:32 PM
As always your heart shows so plainly here. I don't think I have ever come across anyone that has experienced life quite so fully as yourself and can bring it before readers so vividly. Hang on to your hats folks there is soooo much more of Rain to come. Hugs my friend, Lesa

kt6550   kt6550 wrote
on 1/26/2009 3:06:42 PM
It appears that you are a quite normal father who loses his mind as his wife enters labor. Very nicely described.

Michele   Michele wrote
on 1/26/2009 10:25:37 AM
Thank you for making me laugh--several times. I can just see your face during the 'placenta' episode--I was hoping they weren't going to say THAT! Ugh! You would think that an organic, Birkenstock - wearing group like that would be vegetarian--GROSS!

penname   penname wrote
on 1/25/2009 2:24:53 PM
like a home ER episode- graphic, gross, and beautiful. wonderful story- amazing...truly amazing- life is...and also the story too. quite amazing. Your writing is awesome- one for content, and two because it's real.

my_world_is_not_normal   my_world_is_not_normal wrote
on 1/25/2009 1:00:48 PM
OMFG!!!! that was so sweet, i thought i might almost CRY!!!! I havent expericened anything like that yet, but i'll make sure that i try to keep as much stress of my husband as possible,LOL! But like i have said before i love your writing i can see it all, very descriptive!

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writing Rain
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Rating: 10.0/10

Home birth is now a fairly common choice, but in the mid-70's, I was not as sold on it as Sue. This story is about the entire experience. I never knew a man could screw up in so many ways. From my first shocking birth class, to the horror of cutting the cord. This is just how it went.
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