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!
Love, Mama Short Stack 😉