41 years ago today, I became a mother for the first time.
It was about a week before my due date, and my doctor wanted to admit me to the hospital because of high blood pressure.
I had been in the hospital six times in my life at that point of 21 years old (a whole nuther story). None of those times had anything to do with giving birth.
I was dumb as a stump about having a baby.
I was put in a semi-private room and told I was on bed rest. So I laid in bed, talked to my roommate, and watched TV. Being pregnant, I had to go to the bathroom frequently. Since my accommodations did not include a bathroom, I had to use the one across the hall, right behind the nurses station. No one said anything about me crossing the hallway numerous times that day.
Right on schedule, I woke up that night needing to go, so I opened the door to lumber across the hall, when suddenly a nurse went ballistic. “Why are you out of bed?” she practically hollered at me. “You get back in there and don’t get out of bed again.”
She scared the living daylights out of me! I was half asleep and just needed to use the facilities.
“But I have to use the bathroom,” I said weakly in my defense. “And I’ve been using that bathroom since I got here.”
“Then we will get you a bedpan. But you get in there and stay in bed!”
Completely chastised, I quietly laid down, waiting for the bedpan. I had never used one, but how hard could it be?
Keep in mind that I was nine months pregnant, hugely huge, and about as graceful as a turtle on its back.
When the aide brought the bedpan in, she offered to help me. I was too embarrassed, so I told her I could do it on my own.
I have to laugh here, because by the time I left that hospital with my newborn son, I had no dignity left. I lost it when everybody who came in my room whipped back the sheet to look at one thing or another, sometimes prodded me here and there and asked stupid and intensely personal questions. To this day, I believe a few of those people were on the housekeeping staff.
But I digress. Back in my room, I was trying to figure out how to get my extremely pregnant self onto that cold bedpan. Having short arms was definitely a liability as I tried to lift my torso and shove the pan under me in a just-right fashion. I really had to go by now, which improved my aim. Apparently, desperation is a component of bedpan sitting, because I quickly got situated and let it rip.
Wow! Did that feel good!
And it was at that point that I realized I couldn’t get off the bedpan without tipping it one way or the other. I was terrified of getting some of it in the bed (see the paragraph on dignity above).
I leaned this way and that, an enormous pregnant blob with too-short arms and legs, wobbling on top of a bedpan.
I finally swallowed my poor, pitiful pride and called for help. The aide came in, looked at me for a moment and then said, “Oh, my!”
By this time, my legs had fallen asleep, my back was killing me, and the baby was kicking up a storm.
Our son, Mark David, was born later that day after 6 ½ hours of labor and an emergency C-section.
The joys of motherhood! And I was just getting started.
Happy Birthday, Mark!