Move over Kate Gosselin – there’s room for more than one at the bottom

I don’t usually like to brag, but there are some things I do, and I do well.  The first that comes to mind is yodeling naked in the shower, a close second is starting a land war in Asia, and the third is birthing babies.   I don’t kid myself that I can compete with Octomom, or Kate, but four times is nothing to shake a stick at.  I’ve done it alone, in front of an audience, twice with no drugs, and once as I was arguing with my mother . . . on the phone.

before

By number three, I still hadn't learned how these pictures will come back to haunt you

As a matter of fact, my reputation was such that my presence was requested by my good-friend (let’s call her Lisa Schmagenbuch), at the birth of her first child.  She knew that I had expertly handled all of my own birthing events and was impressed with how effortlessly I had sailed through my personal sea of pain.  Of course, I agreed.  And frankly, being a role model comes as second nature to me.

 But, it’s no secret that the bigger they are the harder they fall.  This is the story of my tumble from grace and the valuable lessons learned as I plummeted from heights of greatness to the humbleness of defeat.  It’s not easy to show weakness and vulnerability, but know this – I share this story with you for one reason only, and that is – it is a required step in a particular “class” I am associated with.

Looking for Lisa

Lisa Schmagenbuck was clinging tightly to the hope that a certain aging rock star would marry her.  But, besides a few brief stalking episodes, they had never met and we all thought Lisa would become an old-maid waiting for him.  Then she was introduced to “Dave” and we were all thrilled when he asked her out.  He was not a rock star, but he was successful, handsome, intelligent, and it didn’t bother him in the least that Lisa practiced witchcraft as a hobby.  I’m sorry, not witchcraft – astrology (I always get the two mixed up).  

Within the year, Lisa broke up with the rock star she had never met and accepted Dave’s request for her hand in marriage.  They had a fairy-tale engagement, marriage, yada yada, and a year later Dave and Lisa found themselves staring at a cross on a urine soaked stick.

after

Notice the lip gloss? The carefully coiffed hair? I look pretty good, huh? Took me until #4 to figure it out.

Lisa has always looked up to me and since becoming a wife and now an expectant mother, she relied on me more than ever.  I couldn’t go five minutes without her calling, wondering whether she should have a bagel or toast for breakfast.  Now, we all know that a bagel in the first trimester is a given, but these are the kinds of things that Lisa was clueless about.  Please don’t blame her.  It wasn’t her fault – she was the youngest of four and had been waited on and babied her whole life.  Once again, I think this is another example where we can point the finger at the parents.

It was apparent she was headed for trouble when, during one training session I held, she put my infant son’s diaper on backward and inside out.  Then there was the time she made a tuna-noodle casserole and forgot the peas!  Her washcloths were always folded incorrectly and don’t get me started on her silverware drawer.  Dave appeared unscathed by these “issues”, but I knew the hard, cold slap of reality would be a painful one for my dear friend, and I vowed to be there to witness it when it happened.  I just didn’t know that I would learn something in the process.

You don’t know what you don’t know

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Lisa is the pregnant one on the right

When Lisa asked me to be in the delivery room with her and Dave, I knew at once that it was a duty that I would have to perform.  Besides my own experience, I had actually never see a live birth, but judging from my successes, I felt confident I could assist.  We talked at length of the things she would need in the delivery room: lipstick for pictures, refreshments for the hospital staff, “Footloose” on DVD, flattering birthing wear and of course, a CD mix of her favorite tunes.

For a brief time, Lisa seemed preoccupied with the Lamaze Method.  It took a few weeks, but I explained to my inexperienced friend, over and over, that breathing came naturally – she didn’t need to pay someone to help her do it, and besides, I wasn’t sure how legit the whole methodology was.  Sometimes these “necessary” classes are scams.  I can say this with confidence as I had taken the class three times and I didn’t remember it doing much more than relaxing me when the pain became the greatest.

We discussed our birthing plan in great detail.  The brownies were in the freezer – ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice and Lisa had chosen a couple flattering shades of lip stick.  We went with basic black for the birthing wear but were still up in the air on whether or not to include her former flame’s songs on her CD mix.  Other than that, the stage was set.

Spoiler alert!

I sometimes say “Hindsight is 50/50 – could have gone either way”.  Looking back, this was definitely the case.  We could have sailed through Lisa and Dave’s birthing debut, but it didn’t happen that way.  Like most disasters, you either blame someone else or wonder “what if?”  “What if” I hadn’t lost my temper?  “What if” the brownies had gone over better?  “What if” the whole epidural debacle was just a dream?  Could I have done something differently?  You betcha!  But what?
 
To be continued . . .

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