Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Old Wive's Tales and Southern VooDoo

18 years ago today, I was enormously pregnant. I'm really not exaggerating - I was huge. Every time Mr. Wonderful would come home from a trip, he would look at me in astonishment and blurt out, "Jeesh - you're HUGE!" And as I burst into tears (as I was wont to do whilst pregnant) I would wail, "I KNOOOWWWW!"

And then I would feel so sad about how ginormous I was, that I would eat an entire box of Captain Crunch cereal straight out of the box.
(FYI: That's a swimsuit under that tent I'm wearing!)

My mother came to visit a few days before my due date (July 9th) and by the 10th she was getting very anxious to meet her first grandchild. And I was getting very tired of resembling The Hindenburg.

I was tired of being huge and tired of having to pee all the time and tired of being tired and being unable to get comfortable in any position. I was tired of baby hiccups and tired of feet and elbows in my bladder and tired of feeling like I had an alien in my belly.

I was tired of being pregnant.  (Those of you who have had children will understand what I'm talking about - the about to explode feeling when you are 9 months pregnant.)

I tell you all this so that you will understand the frame of mind I was in when my sweet, darling, impatient mother convinced me to take castor oil to make the baby come. I was skeptical and nervous, so I called my doctor's office. They assured me that, while it would definitely not work and was only an old wive's tale, it wouldn't harm me or the baby.

We went to the store and bought some castor oil and frozen orange juice. When we got home, my mother mixed up a foul concoction that she claimed was "just like an orange julius." I tentatively took a sip and immediately gagged in disgust. That stuff wasn't like any orange julius I had ever tasted - it was nasty! But my mother sighed in frustration and told me I was acting like a baby and said, "Don't you want that baby to come?" And I did. I really did.

So I choked the horrid mixture down, gagging dramatically the entire time. And then I thought, "Well, nothing will happen but at least Mom will stop bugging me now." We settled down to watch a movie, but I wasn't able to concentrate. I kept having stomach cramps and having to run to the bathroom. I really didn't feel well at all. Finally, I gave up on the movie and went to bed.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sleep either. I wasn't sure if it was the castor-oil-horrid-putrid-awfulness (I suspected it was) or if I had a stomach bug. By the time Mr. Wonderful returned from his trip around midnight, I was miserable. I was crying and moaning and running to the bathroom every few minutes. Mr. Wonderful took one look at me and ran to the guest room to ask my mother accusingly, "WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY WIFE?!!" (I was unaware of this until later.)

He tried to convince me to go to the hospital, but having read about false labor in What to Expect When You're Expecting, I refused. I was afraid they would laugh at me. Mr. Wonderful called the doctor and explained about the castor oil and they seemed amused by the story as they told him that I would probably just have cramping and feel terrible, but that it wouldn't bring on labor. I continued moaning and sobbing and running to the bathroom with those terrible cramps. When my mother heard me crying, "I don't want to do this anymore! I changed my mind!" she knew I was in labor. Mr. Wonderful thought I was too - since my "cramps" seemed to be coming every couple of minutes with some regularity. I was still in denial though, and convinced that if I went to the hospital everyone would just laugh at me.

Finally, Mr. Wonderful convinced me to go to the hospital by telling me, "Well, they might laugh but at least they can give you something so you're not in so much pain." That did the trick and I waddled, still clutching my belly and moaning in agony, to the car.

When we arrived at the hospital we found out, to my surprise (and immense relief), that I was indeed in labor and 5 centimeters dilated. Even better news was that I could get an epidural...and let me tell you right now that that anesthesiologist was my knight in shining armor. He was my hero, my savior! Epidurals are miracles. 

That's it. Straight up - miracles.


The nurses warned me that the epidural might make the labor last longer but I replied, "Who cares, if I can't feel it?!" 20 minutes later, I was finally comfortable (as comfortable as a gigantic pregnant lady can be) and ready to get this show on the road.

And finally, after that long miserable night and a much more comfortable day (thank to the awesome epidural) and a few hours of pushing, The Boy made his appearance on July 11th at 2:46 pm.

But that's tomorrow's anniversary. Today is the anniversary of what Mr. Wonderful calls my mother's "southern voodoo." I'm still not sure if he has forgiven her for that. And I'm not sure how contrite she is either - she still says with a hint of smugness, "Old wive's tale, my foot! I told you it would work!"

But you know what? She's right. It DID work.

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