A Penguin, A Watermelon, and a Birthday

Last Friday, we had a birthday.  I was going to post then, but got a little busy. 
I've been very moved by cjane's birth stories.  She's a very lyrical writer and makes even the most mundane event seem lovely.  I especially liked her most recent birth, the one where she has the baby at home with her husband doing the delivering. (What?!?  I know.)  So, I thought I'd write this very heart-felt and moving birth story for Max.  See, I didn't write down all of my kids' stories.  This is a bad thing when you have so many.  Their tales have melted into little puddles of memory which run into each other until I can't remember which fact belongs to which story. I hope they forgive me. 
Max is an exception.  I remember his birth very clearly.  But, as I wrote his story I realized something. I'm not cjane.   It was boring. And incredibly long. And boring.  So, I wrote it as me, instead.

Does this stomach make me look fat?

Once upon a time there was a very fertile woman.  And she was in her 9th month of her 6th pregnancy.  That makes 54 total months of pregnancy for her, or me.  You did realize I was talking about me, right?  (I just used an online calculator to figure out 9 x 6.  I'm a genius.)  And it came to pass that I was very huge. Very. Huge. Like so huge that when we took the kids on a tour of the hospital, the OB nurse asked if I was having twins. "No." (I so wish I could type sarcasm.)  "Are you sure?"   "Um, hello. I've had like a million ultrasounds, one just two days ago, here in your dumb hospital.  I'm pretty sure they would've detected a second baby by now."  (OK, I didn't say that, but I sooo wanted to.)

So, yeah, I'm huge.  And pretty much miserable.  I really love being pregnant, but that last month is killer. And, also, my sister is getting married.  Like a week before my due date.  In the interest of wanting to enjoy her wedding, which would be hard for a whale, I decide to bring it up to my OB.  Which I do.

I rolled into my last appointment, avoiding the stares of the cute, little, young pregnant women.  'Yes, ladies, here it is- your nightmare come true.'  After enduring the exam, I sit on the table, hoping the gown isn't revealing my backside in the mirror.
"Can I be induced?" I ask the Good Doctor. (That's what we always called him, but not to his face. Didn't want to inflate his already bulbous ego.)
"Well, I can't induce you before 39 weeks without a medical reason."
"Really? Medical reason?  I'll give you a medical reason. How about the fact that I've had 4, count them, four babies over 10 pounds?    Or that I am now 38 weeks and when you just measured me, I measured 42?  Women don't usually get to be 42 weeks pregnant!  Or the fact that I look like a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloon?  Just hook up some lines and float me over Central Park. "
Again, not what I really said. I simply said, "Oh, ok.  But, see I have this wedding next weekend."
At this point he offers to induce me on the wedding day, so I could have an excuse to skip it.
"Your children must love you." I thought inside my very insulting brain.
He stood his ground. Damn doctors and their all-powerful decisions.

The induction was scheduled for Sunday- probably so he could skip church.  I went to my sister's wedding, which was lovely, if you could just avoid looking at my enormous feet, or hands, or face. Forget about the stomach- you could not avoid it. It was everywhere!  I wore this disgusting green shirt and black stretch pants, the only things that fit other than a nightgown.  My brothers dragged the couch from the church foyer to the gym for the reception so I could sit and put up my gigantic feet. It was comfortable but a bit embarrassing as my parent's friends filed in and asked me how I was doing.
"Oh, fine.  Just 43 weeks pregnant with an elephant.  It'll be over soon, though."

Heidi, Sarah, Ellen and me- the avocado with a head.

Saturday was a flurry of activity.  I waddled around the house trying to get things done. I could rival any emperor penguin at this point.  *waddle, waddle* Last minute calls were made about the kids and then everyone went to bed.  I couldn't sleep, so I stayed up.  When I finally dragged myself up the stairs, I made a mental note to finish painting my nails in the morning after I finished packing my bag.

I laid down on the bed and was just closing my eyes when I felt it. *POP*  Oh, it couldn't be.  I lay very still for a moment, then leaned up on one elbow.  WHooSH. Either I forgot to pee or my water just broke. (I never forget to pee.)  I tried to wake the Handy Man.  This isn't easy.  When you wake him in the dead of night, he sort of panics.  I told him I thought my water had broke and could he turn on the light.  He jumped out of bed like a ninja- 'hi-ya!' -arms wide and ready for an attack.  Of what? Amniotic fluid?

We made calls, got the bag ready and tried to clean up the puddles I'd left behind. (By 'we', I mean 'he'.  I was sitting in the bathroom, trying not to leak onto anything else.  I just yelled instructions out the door. Like, "Hey, bring me my sweats and a big towel.")

At the hospital we were greeted by none other than the super smart nurse who thought I was having twins. *Let me clarify. I love nurses. Love them. They are the true heroes of the medical profession. But, as in any profession, you have a few who are sort of clueless.*  She told me she'd need to check me to make sure I was really in labor.  Really?  The green water on the bathroom floor didn't give you a clue?

I'll spare you the gory details about internal checks and catheterizing.  I got my epidural right away and called my mom and sisters.  (Not the honeymooning one.  We figured she'd have better things to do. And seeing my body all contorted in childbirth might make her decide to never have children.)   Having them there was like having my own little cheering section.  "Push him out, push him out. Waaaay out!"

My doctor arrived just in time to steal all the glory.  I pushed a few times, and Max was born.  (Hope that didn't sound anticlimactic. I'm a good pusher. For reals.)  The Good Doctor called him the Jolly Green Giant. There was maconium in the water (Max LOVES the fact that he pooped inside me. Boys.) so he was actually green.  One of the nurses looked at him and said, "I"m getting the scale."   She came back soon, and I strained to see him as they placed him on.  The nurse next to me read the number.  6168 grams.  I gave her a blank stare.  Hey, I went to school in Idaho where metric was taught as a foreign language.
That's 13 pounds, 6 ounces.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I did give birth to a watermelon.
Or, just a really cute, incredibly fat baby.

Happy Birthday, Max!


  1. Thirteen pounds! Each of my boys went up by about a pound--ending with Son-Three at 9lbs 6 ozs. I was truly terrified while pregnant with my daughter, but she was a teeny and delicate 7 lbs 6 ozs. Thirteen, though! I'm done bragging about my 9 pounder, now. I promise. :) Hope Max had a happy birthday.

  2. You so didn't look like an avocado with a head, but that kind of similie always makes me pee my pants a little. Your son is a DOLL, and I'm glad you're still speaking to him. 13 pounds!!

  3. I am no longer impressed by my 9 pound babies!! Wow Max is a record breaker...and darn cute too :)

  4. wow--my brother was 12pounds something----my first was my largest--over ten pounds---i love stories of births--happy birthday to your little one!

  5. This is why I rarely talk about how big he was. I hate making other women feel like their accomplishment is less. 9 pounds IS impressive!!

  6. I love your recollection of Max's arrival. I only managed two seven pounder's though slightly dramatic and way too gory. Happy belated birthday to Max.


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