It should be obvious by now that I’m in the habit of referring to my youngest son as ‘The Attitude’, theoretically because he’s been demonstrating “terrible-twos”-like behavior for the better part of the last nine months. In all honesty, though, that really isn’t fair to him. He just turned two yesterday, and quite frankly, he’s been demonstrating an attitude since day one.
My son was prophesized to be born the size of a Winnebago. Two weeks before his official due date, an ultrasound estimated his expected birth weight at almost 11 lbs.
That’s a mid-sized bowling ball, between you and me, Russ.
The OB was understandably concerned that if nothing was done until his due date, my poor wife might be called upon to push the equivalent of a VW Beetle through a piece of PVC pipe. So an induction was scheduled for a week prior, should the little guy not decide to make an appearance before then.
Six days before said scheduled induction (11 days before due date), the Puddinette started feeling some contractions. Regular contractions. Timeable contractions that took her breath away. But The Attitude had already had us to the Labor and Delivery unit twice for false labor.
The Puddinette was having No More of That Business.
For the record, my wife is not a fan of false labor. For one thing, it’s like, holy baby tease, Batman. No one wants to get all excited that This Is It, and roll up into Delivery just to be sent away empty-handed while as a bonus, some OB nurse gives you the “Aww…poor, confused, pregnant woman” look.
Yes, that’s insult and injury, by the way.
For another thing, by that moment in our lives, we’d already birthed three children. We were supposed to be old hands at it, seasoned pros. Veterans like us, the Puddinette assumed, were expected to know the difference when it came to real labor and false labor. And she’d had enough of having false labor explained to her as if she was some wet-behind the cervix first-timer.
Also, my wife is an RN, and registered nurses are known to be terribly non-compliant when it comes to All Things Medical. Look it up, it’s a documented fact.
The result of all of this was that my wife was not about make another hospital visit until she was DAMNED sure we were looking at an impending birth event. So she told me to go about my Wednesday night business, and she’d let me know if she thought we should do anything. Recognizing the look she gave me at that moment as the one that essentially means “Go ahead, jackhole, say it. Say something. Say anything. Before you finish talking, I’ll have both your hands and the anatomical parts responsible for this situation removed and stored in a jar of formaldehyde as a future example of when to keep your trap shut.”
Learning when not to argue with a pregnant woman who may or may not be in labor is the first step on the path to long-term wisdom.
So after I got the kids to bed that night, four hours of dutifully ignoring regular contractions finally got to my beautiful wife and she admitted that maybe it was time to go.
We quickly arranged a visit from the mother-in-law to sit with the quiet house while the kids slept, and I drove to the hospital. No, there was no crazed 100 mph dash through Northern Kentucky. When you get to labor #4, you kind of realize that these things tend to take enough time that you can save your Dale Earnhardt impersonation.
Upon our arrival, we got the fetal monitor hookups and settled in for some scintillating observation. Of course, the Attitude being a well-earned nickname, the contractions that had been so regular for four hours suddenly became intermittent, and my wife began steeling herself for the Walk of Labor Shame from Labor Triage to the car.
A bit more observation yielded a few more contractions and a cervical check, which proved that things were far enough along that going home would likely only result in a return trip in a few hours later. So we got a birthing suite and a Pitocin drip, and got Ready to Rock. After all, as stated before, we were Old Hands at Birthin’ Babies, and labor with each of our kids had been half of the child before him/her. Puddinpop – 20 hours; Puddinpop, The Sequel – 9 hours; The Princess – 4.5 hours. So I was expecting we’d pop a Lifetime movie on the hospital TV and be snuggling together as a family by the dramatic end where they female protagonist learns a valuable lesson in avoiding cougar-style relationships with controlling psychopaths that run donut shops.
However, the “The Attitude” has never shown interest in following conventions; twenty-two hours of labor yielded no baby and little additional progress. All the medical staff involved was more than a little confused. No fewer than three additional mobile ultrasounds were then performed and looked at by two different nurses, an attending OB, our OB, and I believe the Pope himself before they settled on the very technical conclusion that he was “cock-eyed.” Not breach, not transverse, cock-eyed. He was lying slightly slanted, or kinda diagonal. We just had to hope he’d get around to re-orienting himself the right way and drop.
As an added bonus, the Puddinette developed a fever and on a couple of occasions throughout the course of the day her blood pressure had fallen into “how is she not unconscious, or at least asking for her Strawberry Shortcake doll” levels. Long story short, although we really wanted to have the little guy the old fashioned way, and the OB really wanted to let us, sometimes you just don’t get what you want.
Fearing complications from the fever, blood pressure, and lack of progress, we all finally realized we’d have to learn to live with a Cesarean section.
Our fourth child, our third son, was born at 16:10 on 10/16/2008, exactly two years ago yesterday. My youngest son, The Attitude, was an easy baby following a rather trying delivery, but has since definitely grown into his nickname.
My only hope is that our journey from his second birthday to his third isn’t the struggle it’s shaping up to be.
I simply don’t have enough bourbon for that.
Happy Birthday, little dude with attitude, your mommy and I love you bunches.