was eleven years ago yesterday. And, I will never forget what I was doing that day. Never. It's permanently etched in my mind and is one of the most important days of my life. At 6:00 a.m. on August 13, 1997, I walked through the doors of Mercy Hospital poised to rid my body of the alien that had invaded it for the last nine months. Well, I was poised to lose the alien and the unmentionable amount of pounds I had gained, and I probably don't have to tell you how disappointing that was. Someone should have told me that I would still look pregnant when I left the hospital. It would have been the humane thing to do, and it would have stopped me from trying to roll my wheelchair into oncoming traffic as I left the hospital. OK, maybe not. That may have been caused by the hormones and lack of sleep.
Oh, I kid. I didn't really try to push my wheelchair into oncoming traffic. I just thought about it.
Now, some of you may be offended that I called by child an alien, but get over it. He was an alien; my doctor told me so. You see, I had one of the WORST pregnancies ever recorded in human history. I lost so much weight my first trimester due to my "morning" sickness, I was nearly hospitalized. I literally spent almost the entire first three months of my pregnancy either in my bed or in my bathroom. Oh, but don't cry for me Argentina. I more than made up for the weight I lost in the last two trimesters. I told Julia yesterday that I took the whole eating for two thing very seriously, and apparently I thought the second person was an NFL linebacker. I would tell you my daily eating schedule, but I'm too embarrassed to put it in print. I gained so much weight, and not surprisingly got so big, I couldn't drive the last month of my pregnancy. If I pushed the seat far enough back to accommodate my gigantic stomach, my vertically challenged feet couldn't touch the pedals. So, basically I looked like the Goodyear blimp with appendages.
And, no I'm not exaggerating. Not. At. All. People started asking me when I was due at six and a half months. And, let's not talk about the fact that I was my biggest and most swollen during the hottest months of the year. There was only one thing that was remotely good about being so big so early in my pregnancy. It got me out of a speeding ticket. You see, when I was six months pregnant, I was driving myself to the hospital to get an ultrasound done, and I may or may not have been speeding. I really couldn't tell you because my speedometer cable had broken. So I was just driving what I thought seemed like the correct speed. I could have paced myself with traffic, if there had been any. But, I was on a two lane highway, and there was no one else around. Well, no one except the County Sheriff's Deputy, who was driving the other direction. Apparently, he thought I was going too fast. So, he made a U-turn in the middle of the highway, and pulled me over. When he got up to the car, he looked at me, asking where I was going. I told him I was going to the hospital. His face turned white, and for a second, I thought I was going to have to take him with me. He took another look at my very large belly, and he started screaming "Go! Go!." So, I did. I may have been blonde at that time, but I was not stupid. I waved at him and took off before he could change his mind. And, yes, girls, that is my favorite pregnancy story.
And, not only did I gain a lot of weight, but I had a terrible case of pregnancy rash. What? You didn't know such a thing existed. Well, that's funny. I didn't either. But, apparently, it does, and according to my dermatologist, I had the worst case he had ever seen. Seriously. I was covered from shoulders to knees with a bright red, bumpy, itchy rash. It was so bad, when I had my rash cream prescription filled, the pharmacist handed me back 12 tubes of rash cream. That was just for the first prescription. I had two refills on there too. Of course, the rash cream also came with a big sign that read "Unclean, Unclean," and a voucher for a stay at the nearest Holiday Inn located outside of my camp. Alright, alright, it didn't really come with that, but it should have. But, because I get my prescriptions filled in my local grocery story, the rash cream did come with at least two half gallons of Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. You know, so I could drown my sorrows.
Oh, in case you are wondering, I was allergic to W's placenta. That's what caused the rash. My doctor called it alien placenta. See, I told you he said W. was an alien, and you thought I was just being mean.
With all of the nutrients I was taking in, I didn't have to wonder if W. was healthy. Oh, he was healthy alright. He was having a grand time in utero, and he apparently had no intention of ever leaving. My doctor got concerned because he was getting so big and decided he better induce me. So, I faithfully presented myself at the hospital at 6 a.m. on August 13, 1997.
Well, I guess I should say that I and everyone who was related to me within the fourth degree on consanguinity presented themselves at the hospital. And, a few people who were not related to me at all showed up too. Have I told you that my family has a problem with boundaries? It was a good thing that birthing suite was large because there had to be 15-20 people there at any given time. And, once again, no I am not kidding. If the whole ordeal had been videotaped, I'm pretty sure we could have been on Jerry Springer or at least Maury Povich. Of course, I really didn't care. My birthing plan clearly stated that I wanted as many drugs as they would give me. (All kidding aside, I was blessed to have all the people I loved most in the world with me that day. All of my best girl friends were there, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.)
I would tell you the rest of the birthing story, but I won't for fear that I will horribly scar you for life. Instead, I'll just say a couple of things. First, I learned that I have very small hips. Unfortunately, with all the KFC, pancakes, fudge cakes, and Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream I ate, you really couldn't tell. Well, without an X-ray anyway. Second, if I had one piece of advice for pregnant women, it would be this: find out which hospital has the best anesthesiologists, then pick an OB-GYN who goes to that hospital. Because if all Hades breaks loose, you want a good anesthesiologist. Trust me.
With all that said, my little alien entered the world at 8:24 p.m., and my life hasn't been the same since. He spent the day with his not-terribly-active great grandparents the other day. Not surprisingly, he had a lot of pent-up energy. When George and I got home from work, he told me this. "I've been bored all day, but I'm not now. You're my thrill ride." And, I just wanted to look at him and say, "Oh baby boy, you have no idea. You are my thrill ride." And, no matter how much I joke about my pregnancy (and girls, you are supposed to be laughing at this), and no matter how trying the pregnancy was, I would do it over and over again. I love that boy more than I've loved anything in my entire life. He is completely worth it.
We always go out to dinner to celebrate birthdays. It's just our tradition. The birthday boy or girl gets to pick where we go eat. So, in honor of W's eleventh birthday, we went out for some hibachi last night at our local Japanese steakhouse. One thing I can say about this kid is that he likes good food. Never once did we get off easy and get to go to McDonald's for the birthday dinner. Oh no. We spent several years dining at Biaggi's Italian restaurant, and we learned rather quickly that we needed to keep a close eye on the child when it came time to order dessert. Because if we weren't paying attention, he would order some for himself. And, no kidding, he would order it like this, "May I have a piece of the torte chocolata, please?" He was six going on 36, and he still is. I could tell you a hundred stories, but I'll save some for later. I have some pictures to post, and I'll try to do that tonight (if my headache will allow it.) God blessed me by allowing me to enjoy W's birthday dinner last night, but I feel worse today than I have all week. The good news is that I go see the headache specialist next Tuesday. PTL!!!