April 23, 2009

not quite a nuclear disaster

Several events mark 1986 as an important year in history:
Challenger Explosion
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster
Iran Contra Scandal (Who can forget Oliver North?)
Haley’s Comet
Hands Across America
Statue of Liberty's 100th Anniversary

Somewhere in the midst of that, another event occurred. Lasting 32 hours, this event was so monumental I will never forget where I was when it happened. I will never forget how I felt, who was with me, nor my feelings before, during and after.

Several months prior to this monumental event, my husband and I left the “Lower 48” and moved 4,200 miles away to Anchorage, Alaska where he would serve his tour of duty at Fort Richardson. We had a going-away party with our families, and as we were leaving my mother screamed out these final parting words . . . “Don’t you go and get pregnant!”

I didn’t MEAN to. Really. But “the pill” and I were not good friends. Frankly, she made me sick. And cranky. And, well, after a few months, I gave up trying to make our relationship work.

Enter military work hours: Month gone. Weekend home. Month gone again.

If the FBI were to interrogate me under bright lights with toothpicks holding my eyes open and ask, “What happened on the night of November 9, 1985?” Well, duh. That’s a no-brainer. Remember? Month gone. Weekend home. Month gone again.

Barely 22 and a baby on the way.

Having two “doula births” in May and talking with the moms always brings up those first-time pregnancy memories for me. Those months of walking every day, no caffeine, prenatal vitamins, swollen ankles, childbirth books, unending questions, and dreading the unknown.

So, in the late summer of 1986, I gave birth to my baby girl, after 32 hours of difficult back labor. To this day, my daughter still claims, “the harder the birth, the better the kid.” Not sure I can agree with her on that completely, but I’m sure glad (for once) I didn’t heed my mother’s instructions.


Ashley said...

What about stories of trying to jump-start labor? Any of those?

~ Stephanie said...

Nope. I was so terrified of labor the first time, I was hoping it never would happen. The second time came at 36 weeks, so . . . no need. Sorry.