We’re talking about embarrassing moments this week and I have had my share…and a couple of other people’s as well, I believe. I was so easily embarrassed growing up and as a young adult that it took me a very long time before I wrote anything I let anyone read, and even after I had won an award in a prestigious competition, I didn’t let many people I know read the pieces or even know that I had ever written anything at all.My husband, on the other hand, is almost unembarassable, (is that a word?); he’s one from whom I probably took a share.
I’ve told a few stories here where I have done something embarrassing, but it’s only been lately that I have made a real fool of myself, especially with a couple of people. I think I just need to keep my mouth shut, or as the case may be, my fingers off the keyboard.
However, today is the thirtieth anniversary of one of my most embarrassing moments, or rather, the moment the embarrassment hit from what I said the night before. It is one that has kept family and friends in stitches, (even though I was the one in stitches at the time).
On the morning of February 6, 1984, I went into labor with my first son. It had been a very healthy pregnancy and although it was about a week before my due-date of Valentine’s Day, the baby had been growing rapidly and both he and I were ready for it to end. I could go into detail which is also funny about trying to get to the hospital, (at least, it’s funny now. Suffice it to say that my husband, whom I warned as he walked out the door to go to work, did not get the whole message of how things seemed to be progressing rapidly and tried to finish the class he was teaching when I called his school. As easy as the nine months prior had been, the next twelve hours made up for it. So much so that my sister went into such dramatics that despite my problems, the nurses asked me to have her go home,(she would not), then my husband left me between contractions to calm her down. (Yes, my sister “stole my thunder” when I was in labor.)
The doctors shot me full of everything they had,(some of which they no longer use), trying to keep from doing a cesarean section but after twelve hours and an almost standstill in the progression for about eight of those,(very painful lack of progression, I might add), they put me under.
You have to understand that I never did any drugs whatsoever, so even though the pain meds didn’t do a much for me physically, they knocked me for a real loop mentally, especially after the anesthesia hit. I don’t remember, but in the recovery room I told my husband and mother that I always wanted a little boy. I don’t know. I was also convinced that had I lived in a former neighborhood many states away that my son would have been a girl. I have no idea why I believed that, but I did, apparently, although I have little recollection of it.
What I do remember is waking up in the elevator with two nurses, one male, one female.
I was not clear-headed, but had enough presence of mind to realize when the male nurse explained very carefully that I would get to see the baby, that on the way to the room they would stop by the nursery, not to worry, and the female one chimed in, reassuring me that I would indeed get to see the baby, I knew I must have complained that I had not seen him. That was embarrassing, or so I thought. A neonatal nurse brought the baby out but when I went to reach for him ,I was too weak to hold him. They said that they would hold him for me, that I had just a moment there with him. Of course, the baby was beautiful,(he still is!). I made a comment and they all snickered. I thought, “Uh, oh. That wasn’t right”, but I was becoming groggy again and they wheeled me away.
When I woke up alone in my room the next morning, I had to get my bearings. Yes, I thought,I had the baby. I had post operative pain, I was hooked up to drips and monitors and the baby was no long with me. I had to concentrate. It was a boy, (despite the fact the doctor had predicted a girl), or had I dreamed that? No, my thoughts continued, he looks like Ed…OH. MY. GOD!
When the nurses showed the baby to me in the hallway, I had been surprised that he looked very much like my husband’s father. I started to say then, “He looks just like Ed!” , but my drug-addled brain thought, “They don’t know who Ed is”, so I caught myself midsentence. Did I say, “He looks just like his grandfather”? No. Did I say, “He looks just like my father-in-law”? Again, sadly, no. What came out that they found amusing was a vague, “He looks just like….somebody I know”.
The embarrassment I felt that morning is still real. What did they think? He looked like….who? A passerby? A man I can barely remember? The milkman, perhaps?
Well, I survived the embarrassment. It makes a very funny story and it has become a classic line in the family. So, Happy 30th birthday [yesterday]to my #1 Son, Anthony, (who still looks like somebody I knew. Here is a picture of the two of them taken about two years ago.Ed passed away last August.)