Category: Series (Family): The Birth of Tippy Gnu

The book.

The Birth of Tippy Gnu

This is a series of posts about the birth of me, Tippy Gnu! Awe, ain’t I cute? To start reading at the beginning click this link: Link to Beginning. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a lot of scrolling to find the beginning, due to WordPress’s peculiar way of doing things.

Each post provides a link to the post that follows, leading you sequaciously from the start of the series to the finish.

Conclusion: After Birth

This is the final installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu. Hooray, it’s finally over!
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, and read the whole durned thing, click this link.

After Birth

Me, looking for a steep precipice to crawl over.

I lost the ability to escape my fetal body, weeks before I was born. But I did not lose the ability for my spiritual mind to occasionally escape from my fetal brain, and remember the Other Side. These were lucid moments that allowed me to think with clarity, and to clearly understand the thoughts of others nearby.

These lucid moments continued beyond birth and through the first four years of my childhood. But they grew weaker and less frequent the older I got. And by the time I reached four years of age, they had ceased completely.

And so did my memory of them. And that dashed my plan to commit suicide. I’d come up with the plan just hours before I was born, and I would occasionally be able to remember it while lying in my cradle, or crawling about in my playpen. I felt excited about it, and wanted to go through with it, so I could get back to my pals on the Other Side.

I even tried suicide a few times. I tried stuff like, holding my breath, crawling off furniture and dropping to the floor, and putting big things in my mouth that could make me choke to death. But I was too weak, too uncoordinated, or too supervised by my mother to succeed with these attempts.

It wasn’t impossible. There are other infants who have successfully committed suicide. But it’s just very hard to do, and I was never able to pull it off.

Evolution also intervened. Evolution can be a real bastard. It has favored brains that forget the first few years of life. And when you forget the first few years of life, you forget your memories of the Other Side. You also forget any suicide plans you may have made. So when you get big enough and strong enough to do the act, you have no motivation. Nor can you remember to do it.

Forgetting about the Other Side is what keeps the human species alive. If we could remember how we lived before we were conceived and born, we’d want to go back immediately. But we can’t remember. And so, we can never know for sure if an Other Side truly exists.

In fact, we worry that maybe nothing exists after death, and this motivates us to try to stay alive for as long as possible. The annihilation of the soul is a terrible prospect to imagine, and it’s something we try to stave off for as long as possible.

That doesn’t mean we lose all hope for life after death. Evolution is not all-powerful. The spirit within existed long before we became human, and it remembers. But its memories have a very difficult time overcoming the barrier of the brain, and manifesting to someone occupying a human body.

Still, tiny traces of the spirit’s memories can percolate through. And these tiny traces can leave us with a sense that something exists beyond the grave. But it’s so vague, and so mysterious, that it’s not enough to feel comfortable with suicide.

And so, we lumber on with our lives, gritting our teeth, staving away death for as long as possible, hoping to make it as far as we can into old age, before the inevitable end finally frees us from this mortal coil.

My mother awoke from her anesthesia to see Dr. Senesquez kneeling beside her hospital bed, praying for her recovery. This would be the same doctor who would put me through the horrible torture of circumcision just a few days later. Fuck that son-of-a-bitch for performing such sadistic mutilation!

There he knelt on his old, bony knees, supplicating the Lord Almighty for the health of my mother and me. And we did recover, both of us, to live good, long lives. So maybe a Higher Power answered his prayers. Though I doubt it. It’s not that simple.

If you really want to communicate with the Other Side, look inside. That’s where the Other Side dwells. That’s vague, but I can’t explain the Other Side any better than that.

Now you may wonder how it is that I can remember the Other Side, myself. How is it, you may ask, that I can remember my friends, Scump, Cleeta, and Forchetti? And how can I recall my odyssey to the egg? Or my experiences in the womb? Or my infantile suicide plot?

I know it may seem strange, but it does happen sometimes. Although it’s very, very rare. After we die and we’re released from our human brain, all our spiritual memories flood back to us. This happens to everyone. But on very, very rare occasions, this can happen to people before they die.

Sometimes the brain’s normal pattern of function can be suddenly interrupted. And when this happens, the spirit mind can rush into one’s conscious awareness. Memories of the Other Side flood back, and are trapped in the brain. Yes, yes, sometimes this really does happen. Right? Hmm.

Well, did this happen to me?

No, it did not.

Actually, I’ve been bullshitting. I don’t know if memories from the Other Side can ever come back while we’re alive. In fact, I don’t even know if there really is an Other Side. I hope there is. And I assume there is, because to assume otherwise is damned depressing. But I really don’t know if there is, or what it might be like.

This autobiographical tale is the product of introspection, speculation, and imagination.

It’s also based on truth, though. For instance, I truly was conceived, carried in the womb, and born. And my stages of development in the womb are based upon the actual stages known to medical science.

And sadly, the “cancer” bit is basically true. My mother has been a hypochondriac and drama queen all her life. And other things I revealed about my family life are also based upon truth, sometimes loosely and sometimes closely.

For instance, my dad really did have a mistress. He divorced my mother when I was about one or two, and married his paramour. Later, he cheated on her and married another. And he cheated on her, too. My dad was a skirt-chaser until nearly the day he died. But aside from that he was a wonderful man, and I loved him.

But as for memories of the Other Side, and all the spiritual descriptions of life in the womb, that is all speculation. Who knows, it could be true. Or maybe I’m way off base.

I wrote this to convey an alternative perspective of how we enter this world. The traditional idea is that life begins at conception, or sometime later in gestational development. But the problem I have with traditional ideas is that I think they are often colored by political views that are for or against abortion. They are wishful thinking, rather than reality.

Truth is, nobody knows when life begins. We are all very ignorant on this subject. The best we can do is speculate, as I have done, with this little tale.

I like to assume that life has never begun. And I like to assume it will never end. I assume we have always had life. To me, that is the most comforting of speculations and assumptions.

So whether I’ve written a true tale, or work of fiction, remains to be seen. We cannot know. Not as long as we’re part of the human condition.

We’ll only find out when we leave this life and reach a place where it’s impossible to report back to others. That never-never-land place. That place we long for while we suffer, and dread while all is well. That place lurking within the shadow of our doubts. That place we often stake a claim to, while secretly wondering if it truly exists.

That place that lies far beyond this realm, yet remains just one stopped heartbeat away.

That place we vaguely refer to as the Other Side.

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.

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