Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not that anybody's is, but neither of the births of my children were particularly easy. My daughter, Zuzu was born after 32 hours of hard labor and emergency cesarean. The day happened to be September 11, two years before the towers fell. She was actually a perfect baby. She had a sweet temperament, ate well (after some coaxing), and only cried every now and then. I, as many mothers, lost myself in my baby girl. Singing to her and making up songs was a favorite pastime.
My best, in my opinion, was "Zuzu-belle". If you think vaudeville, or barbershop quartet you'll get the drift. It went like this:

"Zuzu-belle, you are my cutie little Zuzu-belle.
If they don't like you they can go to hell, Zuzu-belle!
They can all just go right straight to H-E-double hockey sticks,
Cause you're so cute
And you know that I love you more than words can tell
Cause you're my baby girl, the best one in the world.
You are my little Zuzu-belle!"

I always get a good laugh out of that.

Remembering Zuzu's birthing experience, when it came time to have my son Asher, I simply scheduled the day and time I would have him. Easy, right? Well, it just so happens that the time and date I scheduled was exactly the same day tropical storm "Gaston" came through Virginia and destroyed all of downtown Richmond behind the flood wall. It was the storm of the century outside while inside I was recovering from another c-section. The anesthesiologist threaded my epidural wrong and they had to put me on narcotics to ease the pain. Meanwhile, several inches of rain an hour were filling the streets and began to pour in the windows of the hospital. We lost power and were officially declared to be in a state of emergency. Luckily, I was on a battery-powered delaudid drip for the pain. The only problem with that is delaudid is an opioid and I was in a haze, to say the least. My final memory of that morning before passing out was something like this: Having trouble keeping my eyes open, I leaned my head as far as I could (without my neck giving out) to get a view of a truck floating down the street below. I wiped a few drops of rain from my face (eyes closing and reopening) just as the nurse walked in with a bundle. My head fell back against the pillow. She helped me lean forward, handed me the tiny bundle and said, "Here's your baby." Then, she left. Needless to say, we managed.
As with most great musicians, artists, poets, etc., it seems their best stuff came from them while they had some sort of addiction to a powerful substance. That's how I explain the poem I wrote about my son's birth. Not that I count myself among the greats, but I had to attribute the inspiration to something. I came home to a flooded basement, freshly out of a narcotic mind-swim and wrote this down...

"Sometimes it takes something warm to touch you before you know how cold you are. I feel the change, moving 'round inside me and I know it can't be long. So I grit my teeth, and yell like hell as the sweat pours down like tears...

If I saw my life the same today, I'd have wasted all these years.

You came to me that stormy night when the lightning turned me blue. I felt the rain pour in the door and the wind just howled like you. And the trees outside were tangled and tossed till their branches all laid bare...

If I saw my life the same today, I'd have wasted all these years.

So we make the grand entrance, and I'll hold the door for you. I'll dry your body and keep you warm for as long as I may do. I'll hold your head in slumber and I'll lay you down, my dear...

If I saw my life the same today, I'd have wasted all these years."

That's about as deep as it got, because after that day, that baby boy never stopped crying.

One day, after another sleepless night, Asher had been crying for two hours straight. I sincerely felt like I was going mad. I just started singing, low at first, then louder and louder until I was a bit louder than him.

"Asher, the Christmas poo.
I'm gonna kick you to the moon,
And you will shut up very soooooon....
'Cause there's no oxygen in space!"

In my craze, I laughed. Asher had become quiet. So I kept singing. It had worked. It's kind of his theme song now.

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