I’m an aunt once more. To a beautiful little girl who took her own sweet time to make an appearance but didn’t mind letting her mom know at great length that she was contemplating her arrival.
“Nearly six pounds,” said my cousin with some awe, radiant and glowing but clearly in pain as I studied her brand new baby, all swaddled up and cute as could be. “Mother always told me my first delivery was way too easy,” she laughed with the childbirth-version of gallows humor, “but this one took care of that.”
“Hmm,” said Ma. “This one was eight pounds,” she said casually, indicating poor little me.
My head whipped around as my cousin’s jaw dropped in horror.
“Eight pounds?” I squeaked, taking another look at the sleeping infant who suddenly seemed very, very large for a newborn child.
It’s true that I’m taller than the rest of the women in our family, frequently towering over them in my beloved heels like a rampaging T-Rex over a herd of bright-spotted deer, but didn’t all babies at least start out the approximate same size? Was I the giant of the baby ward as well? Ignominy.
“But how did you manage?” asked my cousin, wide-eyed as her mother made tsk-ing sounds. “I mean, they were ready to slit me open because this baby was so large.”
Slit open, I mouthed to myself. Slit what open? They couldn’t be saying what I thought they were saying!
“Yes,” said my mother. “They did slit me open. She had to come out, you know.” She shuddered. “The pain of it!”
“Was the she the one they had to use forceps to extract?” my aunt wanted to know.
Forceps? Was my mother pregnant in the 19th century?
“No,” said Ma. “That was the other one. The doctor just plonked herself in front of me as I sat in the stirrups and pushed it in. I had no idea what was going on!”
So this is why they don’t tell you anything about pregnancy and childbirth beforehand.
My mother looked at the expression on my face. “But really, apart from her size, she was very easy. I didn’t even know I was having contractions – I just went to get my check-up done and the doctor told me I was all ready to give birth.”
Too late, Baby Mafia, too late! I’m on to you now!