Happy Birthday JazzBo!
May 26, 1996
My daughter and I are in our grubs, cleaning house on that particular morning of Joseph’s birth. She looked like a skinny little twelve year old pushing a vacuum about as big as she, pale and tired. I was washing the windows. I still do that on occasion: an annual event that I try never to miss and often do.
I heard the vacuum stop, and looked down our hall. My nineteen year old Rebecca stood stock still, clutching her little round belly.
“Mom, it could have been a Braxton Hicks, it didn’t hurt but it was really, really strong!” She looked at me questioningly.
I put down the vinegar and glanced at my watch.
“Okie Dokie! You have your gear ready, right?”
Rebecca nodded, wide eyed. I recommended she not eat, just in case. I glanced at my watch and we continued with our chores and I began to time the pains.
They started to come quicker. She decided to shower up and get ready just in case. She didn’t look like she was big enough to deliver, my thin, worried little girl, but she sure was acting like it.
“We better go. It could be false labor but you are moving fast and I don’t want to chance it!”
I called her doctor. He agreed that she should come to the hospital. Then I called her father, and told him it was party time. I may have called the bio dad, or perhaps my ex did as he lived next door to their family.
Rebecca and I piled in the car with her overnight case. As we left town I decided to make a quick stop at a mini store to pick up a bag of lollipops for her during the labor, to help give her sugary energy. I left the car running and grabbed the first bags of suckers I saw, paid my money and dashed back to the car.
“Mommy, they are coming faster and stronger now!”
I glanced at her. Rebeccca’s face was white as a ghost. Her flushed cheeks looked feverish against the pallor, and they spoke to the thrill and excitement of the moment.
“Did you bring a towel?”
Rebecca nodded, “I already have it in place, Mom.” I nodded back, keeping my eyes on the road.
My mother delivered me in less than an hour, she had slung a towel between her legs to catch me. Good idea: I crowned in the taxi, birthed on the way to the labor room.
I stepped it up a bit, and in a few minutes we arrived at the hospital. We went in to admissions and a nurse put her in a wheelchair. I parked the car. When I got back to admissions they said they’d assigned her a labor room as the pains were coming stronger.
I went upstairs and when I got to her labor room her Dad and seventeen year old brother were at the bedside. Dad stayed by her, talking softly, encouraging her to use breathing techniques. The nurse said she was not yet in hard labor and it was better to not coach her until she had something to work with.
Brother Steve was a few feet away with his girlfriend Aja. Both were wide eyed and stone silent. Aja sported a squirrel hat, with little squirrel ears perched on top of her head; a hoodie, flannels and bunny slippers. It didn’t strike me as terribly odd. Aja had her own sense of seventeen year old style, and once she came to our house once with her younger brother who was wearing tighty whities on his head. Obviously attire was a fun-filled sport in their home.
A parade of the paternal family, grandmother-to-be, father-to-be, and siblings came through the door, mixing with nurses and our family and the doctor. A nurse asked us to leave the room for a few minutes until Rebecca could be made more comfortable for the occasion.
We waited quietly in the hall until she opened the door to allow us in. My daughter looked calm and fairly comfy; her eyes were eagerly bright and alert; her excitement palpable.
A nurse brought in a bowl of ice chips and placed it on the side table. I remembered the sacks of lollipops in my handbag and slapped them down next to the ice chips.
The clock ticked loudly as time passed. Our crowd milled around, and our resident squirrel’s head popped up here and there. And somebody was blowing bubbles. This was getting a little surreal. Wait! A lot of people were chewing gum and blowing bubbles! I thought I knew which juvenile idiot brought bubble gum to the birthing room.
The doctor came in and parched on a stool at the business end of the bed. He put a blanket over his head for privacy as he checked her and invited me to see the baby had crowned. Yay! My grandbaby was nearly out!
“I’ll be back in two minutes, she’s moving fast, this kid.” He reached for a lollipop on the way out, and returned about ten minutes later
“We’ve got ten centimeters here. We’re ready to go! Oops! Nurse, will you take this lollipop please. Baby needs to be welcomed in a more stately manner by it’s first attending physician!”
Rebecca was working hard, getting tired, and her dad was annoying her. He was a birth scholar, believing he knew when and where labor pains would peak. My daughter finally sent him away in a rather unpleasant manner.
He stood by our son and glared at me and I just knew he thought this was a genetic thing, this getting all ticked off whilst in labor.
Mommy ran to the head of the bed. My daughter was exhausted,her eyes were closed, my heart broke.
“OK you’re almost there. Trust me: you WILL have this baby today! Just when you feel like you want to give up: that’s the sign! I know you have monkeys in your head saying it’s never going to happen. Trust me, I know many things! You will get to that last desperate place where you believe you just want to give up… and then take a deep breath and say Hell NO! Push that little person out!”
Rebecca nodded, squeezed my hand tight and yelled “Hell NO!”
The doc said “There she blows!”
The crowd cheered and I pushed my way past her father, my son and the Squirrel to my station. I was in place then a little creature with light brown hair popped out, I saw how he lifted his head and stared at me, a tiny ET with wide open eyes, blinking furiously. I felt a shock of recognition run through my heart and my veins as I looked at the child I would call JazzBo.
“He’s here! He’s here! One more push and I’ll put him in your arms!” the elated Doc shouted! Rebecca gave a mighty heave, and he yelled again, “Yes! it’s a boy for sure! ” And the team, gave a rousing cheer. One so loud that our door flew open again.
“Will you all puh-LEEZE be quiet? Other women are trying to deliver too!”
The doc apologized for us all and pointed sheepishly to the sacks of blow-pops on the little table.
“Say, you might as well take a bag with you. It’s a terrific source of energy and distraction. We’re done now.”
Nurse glared at him, took the unopened bag and exited, shaking her head.
My daughter, now a mother herself, slumped pale faced and exhausted into her pillows. A nurse put Joseph in her arms and she kissed him for the first time, nuzzling his face, murmuring secrets to him. Joseph look long and hard at her. And then he turned and studied the silent surrounding faces from his Mommy’s arms.
Rebecca waved tiredly toward the table, ‘I think I’d like a lollipop now.”