Category: Family

Birth, Part 2: The Miracle

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.

Part 2:
The Miracle

It was Friday. I was due on Saturday, but doctors don’t like to work on weekends, especially Easter weekend, so my mom was scheduled for a C-section and hysterectomy on Monday morning. She crossed her fingers and legs and hoped I’d wait.

Her mood was up. In fact, she felt a strange, placid peace within, while also having an urge to do some housework. So she went about her day tidying things up, and also preparing my baby bed, and making sure all was in order for the big happenings scheduled for Monday.

What she didn’t know, but may have realized subconsciously, was that this was all part of Mother Nature’s plan as prelude to labor. Just before childbirth, the mother’s pituitary gland releases a hormone called oxytocin. The oxy gets busy stretching the cervix and uterus. And it also causes psychological changes. Mood improves, and a “nesting” desire develops, prompting the mother to busy herself with preparing her shelter for the arrival of her newborn.

About four o’clock in the afternoon, the first hard contraction hit. Now Mom made no mistake about what was happening. She picked up the phone and called my dad at work. “Get home now! I’m having the baby! I need you to take me to the hospital!”

Dad went into panic stage, dropping the phone and rushing out of the machine shop, where he worked, while forgetting to clock out or even say anything to his boss. He gunned the car onto the highway and sped up the winding grade to our home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

It had snowed the day before, and this day, approaching my birthday, was very cold. Patches of black ice remained in the shady spots of the highway. And my dad, speeding along, straightening out curves, hit one of those patches and spun out of control.

His car flew off the grade and plummeted down an embankment. An axle broke. A tire blew out. And the surprised engine chugged to a stop with one final blast of black smoke from the tailpipe.

Dad was now stranded and unable to assist my mother.

But if there was anything my mother knew how to do well, it was how to raise an alarm. Because as soon as she hung up the phone with my dad, she called my grandparents. She needed them to come over and babysit my four siblings, while she was at the hospital.

Grandma and Grandpa showed up a half-hour later. Grandma stayed behind to babysit, while Grandpa packed his daughter into their car and headed straight for the hospital.

“I have cancer, and have to have a C-section and hysterectomy,” my mom matter-of-factly informed the emergency room staff.

The hospital contacted her old man Seventh-Day Adventist doctor, who had been preparing for the Sabbath. Dr. Senesquez dropped everything and immediately rushed to the hospital, driving a whole five miles per hour faster than the speed limit. Which was pretty fast for the way this old geezer normally drove.

My mother sat in the emergency room’s waiting room, feeling the contractions gradually increasing in strength and frequency. A little after 6:00 pm, Dr. Senesquez hobbled in and spoke with the staff. He was a little hard of hearing, so everyone had to speak louder than normal. And so everyone in that waiting room, including my mother and my grandfather, overheard this conversation:

Dr. Senesquez: She has cancer, and must have a C-section with hysterectomy. Prepare a room for me. I will do the surgery.

Nurse: Doctor, I looked at her records. She does NOT have cancer. She has a benign tumor.

Dr. Senesquez, after a long pause: Oh yes. It does say that, doesn’t it? (another long pause) I’ve been praying at my bed for this woman, every night. (another long pause) This is a miracle! God has answered my prayers!

Nurse: But doctor, she never did have cancer. See?

Dr. Senesquez: Isn’t that strange? The Lord works in mysterious ways. It seems God has erased all traces of her cancer. Even in the written record. I’ve never seen such a wondrous miracle before, in all my years of practice!

Soon after, Dr. Senesquez appeared in the waiting room and conveyed the miraculous news to my mother.

“No doctor, I DO have cancer. I just know it. I feel it. I still want a hysterectomy.” Nothing, not even a miracle, could push my mother from her belief in cancer.

Her contractions continued to increase. But now that everyone in the hospital except my mother believed she did not have cancer, nobody was in any great hurry. A C-section and hysterectomy still had to be performed, in order to remove the benign tumor. But this surgery was going to be far less complicated, and much more routine, than cancer surgery.

At around ten o’clock, my dad burst through the emergency room doors, breathlessly asking for my mother. A nurse led him to a room, where Mom was being prepared for surgery. Dr. Senesquez was examining her.

He was filled in on what had happened, what was happening, and what was about to happen. And then he turned to Dr. Senesquez and mentioned the “C” word.

“Oh Mr. Gnu, you will be so happy to know that your wife no longer has cancer!” proclaimed the good and saintly doctor. “She is cured! The Lord and strong prayer have worked a miracle.”

Dad was stunned. “How-how do you know this?” he asked.

“It’s in her medical records,” murmered Dr. Senesquez, with a hushed tone of numinous mystery.

At midnight my mother was wheeled into the operating room and, at 12:31 am, two old hands reached into her opened up belly and yanked me into this world.

And that’s when I woke up, kicking and screaming, from a hard slap to my rear end.

Come on back in a few days, or so, for the final installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, Conclusion: After Birth.

Birth, Part 1: The Kick

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.

Part 1:
The Kick

I slept most of the time, during the weeks approaching my birth. And when I was awake I usually felt groggy and cranky.

I didn’t like confinement. I kicked and pushed against the womb that imprisoned me. Sometimes I could open my eyes and detect a faint glow of light coming through the skin of my mother’s belly. This gave me hope that there was a free world out there that I might one day be able to reach.

My spiritual body could no longer leave my physical body. But once in awhile I’d have lucid moments where memories of the Other Side came back to me, and I could think and plot and plan with clarity. It was as if my spirit was trying to escape, but the only escape it could manage was to separate itself from the primitive functioning of my fetal brain.

When I could think clearly like this, I always wanted to return to the Other Side. And why not? It was such a wonderful place compared to the hardscrabble drudgery of life in the physical realm.

One night, while listening to the muffled sounds of my father snoring, and my mother softly breathing in deep sleep, I hatched a plan. I decided that after I was born I would simply commit suicide. That would be my ticket back to the Other Side.

I knew I’d have to spend a few years on Earth as a human, because babies aren’t strong enough to commit suicide. I’d have to wait until I could move around well, and be able to toddle to the edge of a cliff, or tie a noose, or handle a firearm with dexterity, or something of that order. But I vowed that as soon as I was able, I’d end my human life and get back to where I thought I belonged.

This plan gave me such a jolt of delight, I kicked my mother with glee. It woke her up. And not only that, but it jostled me around in her womb much more than I’d ever been able to jostle myself before.

Somehow, that kick loosened things up in my prison.

My mother got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. I knew this from the sound of her peeing, and the feel of her deflating bladder.

When she stood up from the toilet, I felt my feet slide down from below her ribcage. It was a weird thing, this sliding, like the bottom had momentarily dropped out of the womb. I instinctively tried to push myself back up, but to no avail.

I had already turned a few weeks earlier, so that I was hanging upside-down like a bat. These days my head was smashed down against the bottom of the womb. I was basically standing on my head.

Could it be? I wondered, feeling excited. Could my freedom be coming very soon? Was this bottom going to open up and let me drop out of this prison?

But then I started feeling that old grogginess return. My spirit let go of its latest escape aspirations and settled back into my fetal brain. And I dropped off to sleep.

I’d like to give you a first-hand account of everything that happened after this. But unfortunately I slept through much of it. And when I was awake, I was in my fetal brain, and not able to comprehend what was going on, in the clear, knowing manner of a spirit mind.

But after I was born and things calmed down, I was able to relax in a reverie that sometimes overtakes newborns. And during these occasions my spirit would sometimes detach from my infant brain, and once again function with clarity. And that’s when I’d overhear adults talking to each other, and I’d actually be able to comprehend what they were communicating.

What follows reflects what I overheard them saying about my last days in the womb:

The day after I dropped in the womb was the day I was born. It happened during the small hours of the morning. My mother had already had four children before me, so she well sensed what was going on. She knew, after I dropped, that childbirth was imminent.

She conveyed her suspicions to my father after he woke up. But she was experiencing no painful contractions, no breaking of water, nor any other signs that my emergence into the world was approaching. So my father shrugged it off and advised her to call the doctor if anything changed. Then he shuttled himself off to work.

Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, Birth, Part 2: The Miracle.

The Third Trimester

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.

The Third Trimester

Within a few weeks after the sleeping and physical waking episodes began, I merged into the third trimester.

I was growing frustrated, because I was missing out on more and more of the family show. Sleep, and the job of physical being was encroaching into my spiritual awake times. And I wanted to be awake, because I was very much interested in how long my mother could keep up the charade of having cancer, and of heroically risking her life to save mine.

She was fortunate in that her Seventh-Day Adventist doctor was very old, and getting a little senile. This dotard doctor failed to review the report from the oncologist. Instead he took my mother’s word for it, when she gave him her own report from her oncology visit.

I felt glad to be awake during that particular medical trip.

“Oh,” said my mother to Dr. Senesquez, “the doctor advised me to have an abortion. But I refused. I think that if God wills it, I can survive, and so can my baby. I’m putting myself into God’s hands.”

Dr. Senesquez smiled with such an angelic look of admiration that I had a hard time not feeling proud of my mother. The doctor was a religious man, and very much against abortion, except when a mother’s life was in danger. But even then he felt some moral compunctions, and wondered if even this might be a sin. So when faced with such a brave woman willing to risk her life to avoid violating the Sixth Commandment, he felt appreciation.

“Then I will pray for you,” the doctor promised, with his feeble, shaky voice.

Having fooled her obstetrician, it was easy enough to keep the rest of the family in the dark. And so my Munchausen mom kept the spotlight of sympathy and attention upon her, as her pregnancy progressed.

I really wanted to watch the unfolding drama, but I kept getting sleepier and sleepier. And my navel watching time kept getting shorter and shorter, and less and less frequent. I got to where I was sleeping almost all the time. And when awake, I was usually physically awake, stuck inside the dark tomb of the womb.

My last perch on my mother’s navel took place at around eight months. She was a big ol’ balloon by this time, so I got a good view of up, down, and straight out, from her pooched out bellybutton. Just the same, it wasn’t exactly a wonderful view. She was sitting on the toilet taking a big crap.

And that about summed everything up for me. I was about to enter a shitty realm of existence. It was time for me to mentally steel myself for the experience of crap everywhere I turned. The game of life on Earth isn’t easy. For every great hand you’re dealt, you get about nine or ten shit hands.

On Earth you’re constantly wading through swamplands of diarrhea, bullshit, and all other things execrable and stercoraceous. Sometimes through great effort and luck you may find a small patch of dry ground. But then you’re constipated.

No matter what, there’s a big, shitty price to pay for being human.

But maybe my attitude was shitty also. It’s just that when I compared the Other Side with This Side, the contrast was so stark I wanted nothing to do with This Side. You might say I was obsessing with the past, rather than trying to make the best of the present. And maybe that’s why I was becoming human. I had a lot of lessons to learn.

I peered dismally at Mom’s panties, resting on her feet, and made one final wish for the Other Side. And then for the last time, I felt a pull and was whooshed back into her womb, there to sleep and fidget about until birth.

Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, Birth, Part 1: The Kick.

"Depths of Poison" Book 2

Scroll down to read the sequel.

Marie Lamba, author

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