Ancient History

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smileyHappy Birthday to my eldest son, Ryley, born on a cold clear January morning.

I had been in labor all night in a nearly-empty maternity ward. When we arrived at the hospital I was their only patient and got my pick of the twelve rooms. All the other heavily-pregnant ladies in Grand Junction were glued to Thursday Night’s Must-See-TV lineup on NBC, I supposed, whispering to their babes to wait until “Frasier” was over.

I went with room #12, at the end of the hallway. Not only did I like the distance, I liked the view. It had a stained glass window which opened to the hallway. When the door was closed and the room lights were off, the window was illuminated by the hall lights. I sat in my rocker and breathed through contractions, eyes locked on the bright colors. As the pain sharpened and deepened, I began to recite “Goodnight Moon” by memory. I read it several times a day to 18-month-old Aidan and knew it by heart.

The tightening began…in the great green room there was a telephone

By the time I wished goodnight to nobody, the sharp wave was over.

I also visited the whirlpool tub, which was housed in a room painted like a tropical rainforest.

A teenaged girl arrived on the floor, screaming.

The nurse, who was probably the sole reason why the HIPAA laws were created, told me she was sixteen years old and at 9cm. Her unhappy dad was with her. More screaming travelled under the crack of the door and then I heard the wailing of a newborn baby, a boy I later learned.

I’d like to say happy birthday to him, too.

It was a long night. More women arrived, more babies arrived. I never asked for an epidural. I soldiered on and on and on.

Daylight and the doctor, who pronounced me a mere six centimeters. Disappointed. She broke my water.

Ryley said “hey!” and decided to chase it out because not long after he was born.

My boy. He had giant hands and feet, splayed and red. They placed him on me. He squeaked, eyes wide open. I looked, I loved, I love.

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