with his life. However, there was that one time. In the summer of 1984 Rob and I lived in an apartment in Richfield. He’d gotten back from his ROTC boot camp, gotten a job w/Control Data (which was right across the street from the bank I worked at) in Bloomington and we were expecting our 1st baby. It really was kind of an exciting time. Not just that we were expecting our 1st baby, add to that I think it was the 1st time we felt like we were grown ups. We were no longer married students, we were a married couple who both had jobs. It was a natural high paying bills simply because we weren’t always able to previously. We bought “real” living room furniture (instead of using milk crates and beer cases), we had 2 cars…hello luxury! We had fun preparing the nursery. My parents gave us the crib that most of their babies had slept in and I repainted it white. I was given a dresser that was my uncle’s, when he was a kid, I sanded it down and painted the dresser and knobs white and painted each drawer a different color. Rob wallpapered the top half of the nursery in a Sesame Street wallpaper, put a border in and painted the bottom 1/2 of the room white. It was a good time in life.
As the due date came closer I panicked more and more. Not because I was afraid of giving birth or being a mom. Just wasn’t bright enough to be afraid of those things. Rob’s mom was an RN. Rob’s mom and I pretty much weren’t very fond of each other in those days. She wanted to be my nurse at the baby’s birth. I was very young and didn’t always say what I may or may not have wanted, or thought or wished. When she said that, repeatedly, I think I just produced a frozen smile and maybe half nodded. She didn’t like me, why would I want her there? Also, I was hoping for a more private affair. Doctors and nurses that I didn’t know, fine. Outside of them I only wanted Rob with me. That’s what I was panicking about of, her being my nurse when my baby was born. I never told her that she couldn’t.
My mom…my mom didn’t want to know when I went into labor. It was excruciating for my mom when Claudette was in labor with Luke and Kelly. My mom couldn’t stand it. A mom knows, all to well, what her child is going through and there is nothing the mom can do to help.
Light bulb. Great idea. My solution to these issues was to decide to not tell anyone when I went into labor. I informed my family that I wouldn’t be informing them. That’s the reason my dad called me at work every day under the pretense of offering up baby names. I really wish I remembered more of them than Prairie Chicken. Trust me on the fact that the rest of the names he suggested were just as appealing. Brother bear was living in Chicago at the time and when I told him that we weren’t going to tell anyone he was highly insulted “I’m in Chicago, who am I gonna tell?” was his response. Yeah, okay, that made sense.
Shame on me, bad, bad me. Young, stupid daughter-in-law did not inform Rob’s mom of this decision. Wow, I hope I never have a daughter-in-law like me. I was highly intimidated and did the duck and cover. Right, I know…I should have grown up sooner but I didn’t.
So there it is. I had the idea, Rob agreed, that’s what we’re going with. We’re not telling anyone.
Shannon was due on the 27th of September. Someone in our Lamaze class had their baby a month early. I shouldn’t have been told that. I’m impatient. I expected this baby each and every day in August and September, to make it’s arrival into the world. I started a betting pool w/each pregnancy, always was the one to bet on the earliest date and always lost. September 27th took FOREVER to get to and I was astonished to still be pregnant each and every day. September 27th came and I went to work and was crabby with everyone. September 28th was the same. September 29th came, it was a Saturday and I was in dire straights. I hung up on people who called to ask if I was still pregnant. Sunday, September 30th came and I woke up and ran to the bathroom. After realizing that my water had broken I felt like I was stuck on the toilet. Our bathroom was directly across the hall from our bedroom. Rob sleeps very hard. He’s been partially deaf since he was a kid. Something has happened and I could yell at the top of my lungs but he wouldn’t hear me. I can’t leave where I am. What do to? Pondered that for a bit and then started picking up anything and everything heavy with my reach to throw into my bedroom. At some point, one of the items I’d thrown had loudly impacted with his dresser and I heard him stir. Once I heard him stir I started yelling. Rob doesn’t like to wake up. Can’t blame him, I don’t either. It was a battle to get him from stirring to conscious that included more throwing things and yelling. He did finally reach the fully awake point and once I explained what was going on he said that we had to go to the hospital immediately. See where he’s the smart one? I said no.
Hey, I made sense to me. My best gf had had a baby 3 months previous. When she was having labor pains and went to the hospital, they sent her home and told her to come back later. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than that in the entire world. My water had broken, I wasn’t having labor pains yet. They’d send me home, I couldn’t deal with that. That’s why I said no. That was NOT going to happen to me. I know, and Rob was perplexed as well. I don’t know why he listened to me on that one, he’s usually a lot more logical, but he did listen. We ended up playing backgammon until after the noon hour. I am the queen of denial. Labor pains can start lightly, which the did for me, and I would write them off to wishful thinking. By the time I was convinced that they were labor pains and called my doctor I was yelled at, by him, for not calling and/or checking myself into the hospital as soon as my water broke. Live and learn. We went to the hospital and checked me in somewhere between noon and 1pm.
Back to not telling anyone. Rob’s dad was going to be driving through the Mpls/St. Paul area that day and had planned on stopping by our apartment. Rob had to call him to let him know we wouldn’t be there. I remember Bob’s statement “who am I going to tell, I’m in Chicago” so I asked Rob to call Bob as well. Rob’s dad was able to reroute a little bit and come see us at the hospital.
I don’t know about anyone else but labor pains are extremely personal for me. I don’t want to share that much of myself with people I only kind of know, a stranger would be better. So yep, there we are in my birthing room, which was kind of a new option then, as opposed to going into an operation room for the delivery, Rob, his dad and me. Shoot me…anyone? While I was trying to downplay and suppress the fact that I was having a labor pain….Rob and his dad were at the foot of my bed discussing the roads. Um……….I think I was a little bit screaming in my head. It was probably something like “YOU REALLY CAN’T GO INTO THE EFFIN’ HALLWAY TO DISCUSS THIS?” This was still only late afternoon. Retrospect tells me that this was Rob’s 1st baby as well and he was very, very glad that his dad stopped by. I’m sure his dad was too, I was just focused on me. I don’t do pain well to begin with and then to have to try to hide it…not a good combination for me.
This is probably just a me thing too, but I expected everyone to lie to me when I was in labor. The only person I trusted was Rob. If a nurse said something I’d wait till she left the room and look at Rob. If he agreed, okay. Sometime after 9pm I looked at the clock and hoped the baby would wait just a few hours more so my dad could win the pool, he’d bet on October 1st. Hahahaha! Silly me, apparently Shannon had his sense of humor even before she arrived. She still wasn’t even close to making her arrival. On October 1st at 2:10 am I was offered and given the 1st pain relievers. During the next 10 minutes I felt fabulous and told my nurse my entire life story. By 2:20am I was feeling pain again and asked for more. Nah, didn’t happen. By 4 am I was back down to labor pains that were 8 minutes apart. I fell asleep during those 8 minutes apart. I was then told that this was no good and that they were going to give me something called pitocin that would speed up the labor and I begged them not to. I really liked sleeping for 7 minutes at a time. They did anyway. Soon enough Shannon wanted to make her appearance. Well she wanted to but she couldn’t. Whatever, whatever, whatever. People said things, things happened and the bottom line was that they would have to take me into an operation room even though I’d opted for a birthing room. She wasn’t a completely difficult baby, she was just stuck behind cartilage. She was yanked out with forceps.
Shannon FINALLY made her appearance into this world at 7:52 am on October 1st. Yay, my dad won the pool was not my thought at the time. “OMG, it’s OUT!” was pretty much, probably my thought. Then I was informed “it’s” a girl” and that statement was what make me realize that I had a baby. Then I saw her. That was probably the single most amazing moment in my life. Tiny, bald, blue, screaming, naked, that was Shannon. Entirely speechless and awestruck, that was Rob. Instantly and entirely in love and already overly protective “get away from my baby”, that was me.
And back again to Brother bear’s “who am I going to tell? I’m in Chicago.” Bob kept his mouth shut for several, several hours and then I think he thought he’d simply been left out of the picture. At 7:50 on the 1st he finally called my mom and asked “what’d she have?” My mom asked him what he was talking about. He informed her that I’d gone into the hospital the previous afternoon. My mom got off the phone. She paced for 10 minutes before she called the hospital and was connected to me so the timing was right anyway.
This marriage, I adore my mother-in-law. The 1st marriage I think we both thought we knew everything, guess what…we don’t :o) We all live and learn.
I tease Bob about the “who am I going to tell” now and again but the truth is he’s a great secret keeper. However, don’t ever tell Bernadette anything…