This One’s for Stefani

It’s no secret that my favorite band of all time is Bon Jovi.  From the time they first started out of the gate in 1984, I was hooked.  A few years later when I was a teenager, I had the awesome opportunity to meet them at a softball game they played against a local radio station.  I was asked by Alec, the bass player at the time, to go back to the hotel and party with the band.  Like an idiot, I was in love with the man that would eventually become my abusive ex-husband, and I didn’t want to risk losing him, so I didn’t go.   (I still kick myself over that stupid choice to this day.)

Bon Jovi’s Autographs

A couple of years after that, I was pregnant with my daughter Stefani.  The lovely boyfriend who was her father, wanted nothing to do with me or our child from about five minutes after I told him I was pregnant.  (Let’s note here that like a fool, I still married him a couple of years later. I still kick myself over that stupid choice to this day as well.)  He left me for a fifteen-year old girl and actually got her pregnant while I was pregnant with his daughter.  (This was not the first nor the last time that he felt it his duty to procreate the earth while he was with me while I stupidly stayed faithful to him for years upon years.  But I digress.)

Anyway, three and a half weeks before Stefani was born, Bon Jovi was coming to my town.  This time, they were the headliner, and their opening act was Skid Row.  I liked Skid Row, but I LOVED Bon Jovi.  A friend worked at the venue where they were to perform and offered me tickets, but I didn’t think that being pregnant, it would be such a good idea to go.

Also, while I was pregnant, as I mentioned in my earlier post, because I was so sick, I had to quit working until two weeks after Stefani was born.  And because her dad left me, I had no choice but to live with my Grandma again.  But Grandma was a very proud and old-fashioned woman, not to mention controlling.  As such, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house during the day so that neighbors wouldn’t see that I was pregnant and know that I was unmarried.  I wasn’t allowed to wear maternity clothes for the same reason.  And she had a ready made story made up about me being married and my husband working out of town or some other such nonsense in case anyone happened to see me and question her.  I’m sure she clearly envisioned the day someone would walk up to her and say, “So, Toby, I hear your granddaughter is a whore who gave birth to a bastard child.  What were you thinking when you raised her to be so horrible?”  (Yes, really.  That was the epitome of my childhood, hence my book What Would the Neighbors Think?)  (Of course, she never had any idea that her rigid rules are what likely caused me to “get out of hand” as well as cling to the first guy who came along and said he loved me despite how badly he treated me, as I was just looking for some freedom.  But again, I digress.)

So, a few days before Bon Jovi came to town, I had a dream that I got to meet Jon Bon Jovi again and that I was in a tour bus partying with him as well as a couple of members of Def Leppard who I used to like before Bon Jovi came out, (but unlike Bon Jovi, I was over Def Leppard).  It was a nice dream, but I didn’t think much more about it.

The day of the concert, two of my friends called me and asked me again if I wanted to go to the concert.  Of course I wanted to, but I just didn’t think it was a good idea, so I told them no.  Then they suggested that we go and hang out behind the venue.  We could still hear the show and perhaps we could see the bands arrive and go in the back.  That sounded like a lot more fun than all the puking I’d been doing for the previous eight months, so that’s what we did.  I wore my black spandex, a black t-shirt, and black boots, and my hair was sufficiently “big.”  (It was the eighties.)  Because I was so sickly during my pregnancy, I was “nothing but baby,” and from the back, one couldn’t even tell I was pregnant.  I was excited!

As we hung around the back door, there were about fifteen other girls and a couple of guys hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the bands.  An hour or so after we got there, a limousine pulled up and drove through the back door.  As it slowly drove past us, I was closest to the door.  The window went down, and Jon Bon Jovi pointed at me out the window and grinned.  (Which I’m sure was only because I was so pregnant , but I didn’t care why — I was thrilled!)

I was on Cloud Nine!  My head turned as I continued to watch the limo drive past.  But the next thing I knew, someone gently grabbed my baby belly and said, “Is this mine?”

I didn’t even think.  I turned and smacked the guy across the face.  Hard.  At that moment, all of the other girls there scowled at ran toward me, and one of the guards had to push them back!  It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that the person I slapped was none other than Sebastian Bach, the lead singer of Skid Row!  (Yes, really!)

Sebastian Bach

My two friends turned to me and simultaneously said, “You just slapped Sebastian Bach!”  Then one said, “He thought you were pregnant with his baby!”  (Yes, I knew he was only kidding, but it was still flattering just the same.) By then, all the members of Skid Row walked past us through the back door, and they stared me down as they passed (I’m sure because any other girl would’ve welcomed the opportunity to interact with Sebastian!)

I felt so stupid!  Once again, that was a kick-myself moment that I wish I could go back in time and do differently!

Def Leppard’s Rick Allen

The other girls kept glaring at me and whispering about me, which made me very uncomfortable.  So, my friends and I went to Skid Row’s bus and talked the bus driver into letting us on.  (I’m sure my being pregnant helped.)  There was a cool sticker in the front just past the driver, that said “Get Bach!” (as in Get Back!)  The driver talked with us for a couple of minutes then we had to get off the bus, but it was fun just being there.  And when we stepped off, we walked over to a different bus only to find none other than Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard!  He was there as a guest.  We got his autograph and talked to him for quite a while, and he was super nice.   (And again, I think my being pregnant helped keep him talking for so long.)

So, though my dream prediction was a bit skewed, it was still a fun time, sans the slapping of Mr. Bach.  It was definitely freaky that Rick Allen was there after I randomly dreamed that I’d party with Def Leppard!  And to this day, since Stefani’s father is such a piece of work, she and I always joke that Sebastian Bach is her “real” father.

Time to talk:  What’s your favorite song by either Bon Jovi, Skid Row, or Def Leppard?  Would you go to a concert while pregnant?  Would you ever worry so much about what your neighbors thought that you’d make your daughter pretend she wasn’t pregnant?

Happy Birthday, Stefani!

Today, October 21, 2014, my daughter Stefani turns twenty-five years old. 

When I was pregnant with her, I had severe hyperemesis, and I was constantly in the hospital getting IV’s for my dehydration and shots for my nausea.  Even water made me puke.  I lost close to thirty pounds during the course of my pregnancy, so I was very happy when she came out weighing a healthy seven pounds.

I had three jobs at the time, one at a fro-yo store, one at a child care center, and one at Busch Gardens driving the monorail.  I eventually had to give up all three jobs because I was so sick all the time.

I also had Braxton-Hicks contractions from nearly the time she was conceived.  Literally.  Actually, all women have them through the course of their pregnancy, but I felt them.  As such, by the time I was about eight months along, I had several occasions of going to the hospital with false labor.

I lived with my grandma, and she didn’t drive.  My birth mom lived about 20 miles across town, and it took about forty-five minutes to pick me up, then another forty-five to get to the hospital.  So after a few times of my going in the hospital and not having a baby, she got aggravated and stopped coming when I called.  Stefani’s dad was already involved with someone else at that point and didn’t want to be bothered with us.

So, on October 21, 1989, I woke up with the worst stomachache ever (though it didn’t yet feel like contractions).  Just the night before, I was walking in the dark and fell off a steep curb that was wet, and I was petrified that something was wrong because of that.

I managed to drive myself to Stefani’s dad’s aunt’s house, and she drove me to the hospital.  The hospital we went to was so small that Stefani was the only baby there!  In fact, the nurses took her with them into the lounge and watched the World Series with her!

I had an epidural, but it turned out that I was one of those rare cases that despite the procedure, the epidural never took.  In fact, the hospital called the guy back out (from his spot at home where he was watching the World Series) to give me another one three different times, but none of them worked.

Ideally, after an epidural, you shouldn’t be able to feel your lower extremities, walk, or even move your legs, and you should only feel pressure.  That was never the case with me.  Immediately after giving birth, I stood and walked to my other bed and never once felt numb.

Not only did I feel everything, but I was apparently also a rare case who goes from being one centimeter dilated to ten centimeters dilated in less than an hour!  Some people think this must be easier because the labor is shorter, but that’s not the case with me.  Not only is it like one long contraction with no break in between, but I’m also the freakishly weird woman who never wants to push.  Ever.

Many women have to be told not to push, but that wasn’t the case with me.  You could’ve given me a million dollars, and the last thing I’d have done would’ve been to push that baby out!  So for having arrived at the hospital shortly after 11:00 that morning, being ready to deliver shortly after noon, my daughter was still not born until 6:35 that night because I just didn’t want to push.

Furthermore, my water never broke, so the doctor had to do it manually.  If you’ve never had this done, it’s done with an instrument that looks like a  plastic, yellow crochet needle with a sharp hook, and it’s about seventeen feet long.  (It’s actually only about twelve inches long, but when he whipped that thing out and came at me with it, it sure looked like it was seventeen feet long!)  So because my water never broke naturally, I got to experience the agony of a dry birth.  Lovely.

(To the other moms out there who are reading this, you have to know I’m laughing as I write.  Yes, it truly was the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but I’d definitely do it all over again.  However, you ladies know that once we give birth, we become part of an exclusive club where it’s not only our privilege but our duty to tell everyone else just how excruciating the experience was.)

Stefani was born with long, curly hair, and in fact, she had so much hair that after the World Series was over, the nurses played “beauty salon” with her and tied a bow in it.  As a matter of fact, during the six hours that her head was crowned, the labor and delivery nurse called everyone she could find throughout the entire hospital (janitors, parking lot attendants, security guards, etc.) to come see how long her hair was.  Seriously.  Of course that’s just what every teenage girl wants… to be spread eagle with a bunch of strangers passing through to look at her privates and comment about what’s sticking out!  I mean, anyone going through childbirth loses all sense of modesty by the time it’s over with, but come on!  I should’ve charged admission!  If nothing else, it did teach me a lesson about birth control.

I named Stefani after the song “Stephanie” by none other than The Partridge Family, though on the show, it was performed by both Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy.

So, in conclusion, today, October 21, 2014, my daughter, Stefani turns twenty-five years old.  Yes, that’s right, Stefani, you have been on this earth for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS.  That’s a QUARTER OF A CENTURY!  You’re TOO OLD to try out for The Real World.  You are TOO OLD to fit into the “18-24” demographic.  So, my darling daughter, do not call me old again, because it’s better than the alternative.  And besides, now you’re finally catching up to me.  Some cool things about being your age?  You’re finally old enough to be elected into the United States House of Representatives.  You can now rent a car.  And the best one?  You’re now twenty-five years wise.  Just think of all the things you thought you knew when you turned eighteen.

I love you, Pookie, with all my heart!  I hope you have an amazing day and a blessed year!  Happy Birthday, Gooberina!

xoxo

Love, Mama Short Stack 😉