It was 27 years ago, today.

I had been admitted in to the hospital in a small central Arizona town. In labor. A southern girl, 1600 miles away from her mommy. Kin to no one. My mother-in-law, Estella, was there, but she had never actually given birth, (X1 was adopted at age 3 months) so she could not offer the experienced comfort of a woman who had experienced the miracle I was about to achieve. She did as best she could, though. Also there was the girl who passed for my bestie in my Arizona adventure, who had had three children, in rapid succession; she was a little more comforting. A belle needs her mother and aunt at these times. Know who wasn’t there? Flippin’ X1, that’s who.

I had to drag X1, kicking and screaming to every childbirth class we attended. He used this labor time to hang out with buddies of his that I didn’t get along with, and therefore had missed out of hanging with the year that he had to kowtow to a pregnant belle. It’s a good thing, in retrospect. He would’ve gotten on my nerves and I would have strangled him with the IV cord. I would not have done time, however. The readers who have met him can tell you it would have been justifiable homicide. Not that X1 is a bad guy, he’s just…well….that’s a story for another time.

Pam. That was her name. The nastiest, evil temperedest nurse I have ever come across in my entire lifetime, and she’s the day shift nurse. Fellow belle’s, the medical professionals I encountered out west, do not have the empathy we belles have grown up around. My Dr Cuz is a doctor out West, now, an eye doctor. I’ve not been examined by her, but I am sure she is beloved by her patients, all sweetness and gentle concern. My OB out there looked like Merlin Olsen and had the bedside manner of that Scrubs doctor guy that is so abrasive. I’ll admit, I was a bit over dramatic, when first admitted. I was breathing deeply and moaning, as you do. Pam said, and these are her first words to me, “you need to cut that out, Honey, you have a long way to go.” HEEFAH, if Ah wadn’t standin’ here pregnant, I’d whoop yore ASS!!!!!!! But she was right, I wasn’t at that point, I just thought that went along with it. See? A girl needs her mother at a time like this. Likely Dot would have told me to cut it out, too, but that’s the difference between the Mom and an OB nurse with a grapefruit apparently lodged in her ass.

The labor was long and not very productive. Pam came back for day shift and said, “My God, Vi, are you STILL in labor?” No, Bitch, I just love walkin’ these bright sterile hallways pushing a squeaky rv cart around, listening to stupid X1 prattle on about crap I did not care about. Now he shows up, and had not the decency to shut up about WWII battles and navy experiences. Southern boys know better. A Southern boy shuts up and lets you rant, while pushing the IV cart for you.

The hospital was tiny in 1983, one me and one other girl occupied the maternity ward, which doubled as the geriatric ward. I can’t complain about anything else, and it was sort of nice to have the place to myself, the nurses paid a lot of attention to you. The other nurses were pleasant. Isn’t it funny? I can remember everything about Pam, it pissed me off just to look at her. The nice nurses just all blur together, I can’t remember one specific thing about anyone else. The old saying about a squeaky wheel is true.

Neither X1 nor Estella had the common decency to phone Dot, who sat on pins and needles back in Lafayette, and let her know what was going on. This was long before cell phones for everyone, and she couldn’t even get in touch with me by calling the hospital as I was in a labor room with no phone. The desk staff never came back and said your mom called. That is something that would NEVER happen down south. That would be a jaw-smacking offense.

They put me on pitocin, and everything after that is a blur, until the delivery room. X1 was at least supportive there. The nurse tried to position the mirror so I could see but I said to never mind. When I had to count push to the count of 10, I would see a treasure chest under water, slowly opening and closing. I’ve always said that’s cos Chris was a treasure.

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