Friday, October 5, 2012

What is the opposite of heroic?

I suspect that "Wynn Anne" is listed as an antonym for heroic. Despite having delivered three babies without benefit of pain-relief medication, I can assure you that I did not do so happily or mildly.

In fact, I screamed so long and loud that the nurses came running. One nurse told me that they call this "le cri de la femmelle" - the cry of the female animal. (Emily, our third, was born in Quebec.) It is, evidently, a distinctive howl that says, "Oh my f***king god! A baby is about to fly out of my vagina*! Or I am about to leap off the roof of this building! Either way, serious SH*** is happening NOW!" My sister was outside in the hall during my first delivery; she thought I was dying.

You would think I'd have figured it out by, oh, the second baby. Denial, however, is an extremely powerful psychological tool. I had read so many books about the dangers of going to the hospital too soon (extensive monitoring, unnecessary interventions, infection, exhaustion) that I kept waiting until it was clear that, oh, yeah, I guess the baby is coming within the next couple of hours; better shave my legs.

(You should have seen the looks on my in-laws' faces as they gently asked, "So, when do you think you'll head to the hospital?" I think they were trying to figure out if they'd remember how to deliver a baby if push came to shove. Pun unintended, but pretty good, I think.)

Hmm. Did not intend for this to be a childbirth post. I guess this means you and I are now best friends and can be godparents to each other's children?


I'm sick right now. Sort of. I'm not actually sick, my body just thinks it's sick. Which feels pretty much the same. I got my first-ever flu shot on Tuesday. I'd had the inhaled flu spray before, with no real side effects, so I didn't expect anything untoward. Well. Let me tell you! (I'm going to tell you, because that is what we wusses do.)

My immune system seems to have kicked into overdrive. I've had three days of migraine, a swollen arm that I have wrapped up with an ice pack and have resting in a sling while I write. (Awkward.)

It is possible that normal people who are not hypochondriacs would take this in stride, swallow some Tylenol, pack on the ice, and get on with it.

Not me.

I am like the annoying husband in the commercials who nudges his wife in the middle of the night and whines, "Maggie, my throat hurts."

On Wednesday night, I came home from work and climbed right into bed. About two hours later, I got chills and shakes and could not get warm.

I texted my husband to bring up my special furry blankie.
This is the blankie. Elly likes it too.
I e-mailed him.

I Facebook messaged him.

I texted my son to ask his dad to bring my my special blankie.

Still no sounds of sympathetic feet climbing our squeaky stairs.

So I phoned him. Yup. From my bedroom, I picked up my cell phone and called the house line.

Soon I was swaddled in my furry blankie and gradually started burning up. By morning, I was a drenched puddle of sweat. I would have stayed in bed but, as these things often happen, I had an important business trip that day.

I made the trip, tied up my meetings in record time, only to have to spend hours in an airport waiting area. Have you noticed how annoying those are? They are an assault on so many senses. Uncomfortable. A cacophony of noise. Smells of all things noxious. At least the Quebec terminal was attractive.

I was desperate. So I did this.
I am too sexy for the lounge, too sexy for the lounge!
The ear plugs were a bonus with the sleep mask. How brilliant is that? They didn't work terribly well, but it was enough for me to get a short nap.

Today, my head still throbs as soon as the pain relief wears off, and my arm is still swollen and painful, but I can work from home, which is a great relief. My doctor's office assures me this is normal.

Thank you for bearing with me. I'll probably survive with all my limbs intact. But I do find odd comfort in sharing my pathetic misery with you. Don't you feel healthy?

*I originally censored myself and wrote "out of my body" instead of "out of my vagina." On rereading the post, it occurred to me that I was not too shy to write "f***ing" but drew the line at "vagina," a perfectly useful and appropriate word. So I put it back. If it offends you, think about that some.


  1. With Alec, I remember punching the wall in the bathroom of the hospital room I was in. And the doctor asking me what I couldn't just scream, like normal women do in childbirth. I had no answer for him whatsoever. Nor was I happy to have bloody knuckles for the next few days!

  2. Why I coudln't scream. Not what!

  3. Your doctor was right. Screaming helps.


What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...