On Motherhood

May 10, 2012

One of MamaKat’s Writing Workshop’s prompts this week was: tell us the time when you really knew what this mothering thing was about.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Miss D. was born in December, in a town where I didn’t have any friends. I gave up a lot for love: my impeccably decorated condominium, a career that I loved, my comfortable city. But that man. Oh. How could any girl say no? So I left it all behind. My mother thought I was insane–who sacrifices everything on a whim?   But I just knew.

Marriage came fast. So did motherhood.  I got pregnant so easily I was stunned–was this really all there was to it?

Of course, first-born didn’t stay easy. She made me sick and peevish for five months, and on a day in December–on her due date, in fact–she came in the middle of a blizzard. My parents vowed to fight ice and wind to get there in time, even though it was folly to do so.

The roads were treacherous, just on the short ride to the hospital, and I called them from the hospital lobby, telling them not to bother, but I was alone, walking the hallways, trying to dilate.  The agony seemed excruciatingly fast and hard, and as I crouched in a corner near the telephone, urging my parents to stay home, I knew they wouldn’t. Because I was alone.

Hubs was nowhere in sight–he was back out in the snowy night, trying to find childcare for Awesome Stepkid Ro in a town we hadn’t been in long.

I was hunkered there, bent over and clutching my belly, propped against a lobby wall, when an enormous African American woman, with two adorable children at her side entered the hospital, took one look at me, put her hands on her hips and said indignantly, “Girl? Where is your man?” And suddenly, it really did hit me. I might have to do this all by myself.

What if Mama and Daddy got stuck in the snow, or worse, in an accident? What if nobody could care for a 7-year old boy for God-knows-how-long this was going to take? I would have to do this myself. I really, really, did not want to do this by myself.

I was in the bathtub, naked and fat, thrashing like a freshly caught trout when my parents arrived. Daddy took one look at me had to leave the room. Mama sat on the edge of the tub, watching me heave back and forth.

When the nurse came back, and took a look at me, she quickly got me out of the bathtub, took a peek and said, “OhmyGod. You’ve gone from a 3 to a 10 in, like, 20 minutes. I haven’t even called the anesthesiologist yet. Don’t cough, don’t laugh, don’t do anything.”  She ran from the room on her stocky legs.

She shouldn’t have bothered calling the anesthesiologist. That baby came down the birth canal like a Russian on a luge. My husband barely made it before Miss D debuted, pissed off  and wailing, small eyes rolling around the room, as if wondering, “Where the Hell am I and who is to blame for this?”

“Where’s the champagne?” I hissed at my husband–giving birth without anesthesia calls for champagne, dammit.

His eyes widened. “I’ll go get some.”  Wise man.

“This is a tiny one,” the nurse by the scale said. “A little over 5 pounds. Apgar’s good, though. Awww, look,” she said to another nurse. “She has a tiny mongolian spot on her butt.”

Then the bleeding began. And continued. And continued. The nurse wearing the new white Keds was not amused when my blood engulfed them. I apologized and promised to buy her a new pair.

“The placenta’s attached,” the doctor said harshly to my mother. “We need to get her into the ER now.”  She looked me directly in the eye. “I need to tell you that this usually requires a hysterectomy. I’m sorry.”

Inexplicably, I started laughing. “Well, this is the perfect time to tell me. Because I’m never doing this again. Go for it.” Mama looked stricken.

“Can I just hold her once before I go?” I asked.

For a brief moment, they put my little, warm monkey girl on my chest. And then she promptly shit all over me.

Motherhood had begun.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica@PLRH May 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

Oh my, what an initiation! I’m so glad you were ok and able to do it all over again!

Congrats on giving birth without anesthesia. I had the *pleasure* of doing it twice.


TKW May 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm


I really was a lucky duck. I got to keep that uterus for another baby! I also had the *pleasure* of no epidural twice…thank God we forget.


Kate May 10, 2012 at 8:44 am

Yup… Motherhood – scary, full of love and a little shit here and there.


Jennifer May 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

Oh God I love you. There are just so many perfect examples of motherhood in this post, driving through a blizzard to be with your baby, facing giving birth alone, almost bleeding to death, being shit on (and probably not caring all that much)…. Just perfect.


Jenna May 10, 2012 at 11:02 am

What you’ve said and not said perfectly encapsulates what you were after. You are a word-crafter extraordinaire. HOWEVER, part of me is still longing for a ‘to be continued.’ =)
And I love what that woman said to you–it made me laugh. I could see the scene in my head as if I had been there.


TKW May 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Well, Jenna,
Part of the “to be continued” is that I obviously got lucky enough to keep my girl parts intact to do the whole thing over again. :) xo


Jenna May 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hah! Yes. That much I was able to guess. =) Glad you got to keep them around.


TKW May 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm


What that lady said to me, and the expression on her face–it just tickles me still!


Alexandra May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

What a story.

What a story.

All of our stories are SO amazing.


Mary Lee May 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I wasn’t expecting that! I laughed loudly enough to wake the dog. Remember, she’s deaf.


TKW May 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

Mary Lee,

I’ll take that as a compliment. :)


Justine May 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I swear to God, Kitch. Only you. Only YOU could make me cry and laugh at the same time.

I love you!


TKW May 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

I love you, too. It was a freakshow night, I tell ya.


Katybeth May 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Well at least you had no where to go but up. In my mind-eye I am an Earth Mother and found a midwife to prove it–in reality I am not Earth Mother–I said give me drugs 1 hour into a 14 hour labor.
This story is a close second to my all time favorite story of your fateful visit to see Santa.
Glad that doctor was wrong–two little girls is just so special.


TKW May 11, 2012 at 10:05 am


It was pure luck that I got to keep that uterus. And you’re right–they’re special!


SuziCate May 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Wish my deliveries had been that quick! Once they start crapping on you it just keeps on happening! Love the way you tell your stories!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes May 11, 2012 at 4:42 am

Ah birth without anesthesia, I have very fond memories of wanting to rip my husbands head off while I was in labor. He was there for both births the whole time, but he nearly fainted both times. So the ‘I’m going to have to do this by myself’-feeling, I’m very familiar with it.


TKW May 11, 2012 at 10:06 am


When Mama was in labor, Daddy started feeling so woozy that she got up and let HIM lie down in the bed!


idiosyncratic eye May 11, 2012 at 5:58 am

Maybe they should make teenage girls read this through once or twice! ;) I love how you can write about such trauma with a minimal of fuss, very matter of factly but it still packs a punch. :)


TKW May 11, 2012 at 10:07 am


Ah, teenage girls. Hey, it couldn’t hurt, eh? *evil cackle*


Arnebya May 11, 2012 at 6:54 am

I had the “pleasure” of the unmedicated birth with #2. I vowed I’d do the same with #3 but he ended in an emergency section (I not so secretly want #4 but I just as equally do NOT want another c-section). I am giggling so very hard at “where is your man?”


TKW May 11, 2012 at 10:08 am


That’s still my favorite part of the whole story–those hands on her hips…


CK May 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

Have a fantastic mother’s day celebration (and I hope the party level is always cranked up to 11 on that day because 2 x no epidural = sainthood). xo


Barbara May 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Geez. Not me. I wanted to be OUT. No natural childbirth for me. Nope. Uh, uh.
Yes, I was awake and alert, but numb from the waist down. And no husbands in the room either, back then. One of mine turned yellow (AB-O problems) and yeah, life changes. I always think of Gallagher (the watermelon comedian?) who, when his wife had their first, walked out on the stage dragging an anchor. Hah. No kidding.


Barbara May 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

And BTW, Happy Mother’s Day kiddo. When you get old, they send you presents and flowers. :) Kind of makes up for the shit we went through. Literally.


VodkaCalling May 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm

So glad to hear you got to keep your uterus and went on to have another baby!

Very funny and very real. Nicely done.


TKW May 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Oh no, Barbara, make no mistake–

The minute I got pregnant both times I immediately signed up for the epidural. Numb me, baby! Alas, it didn’t work out that way either time. I was tremendously pissed off.


Pamela May 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Aww, Lady. You just get me every stinking time. This could be my story. New city, new man, all alone, NO FREAKING EPIDURAL. Thank you for making me feel so much less alone in my past. xoxooxoxoxo


TKW May 15, 2012 at 10:06 am


Yours sucked that hard, too? Ouch!


Dawn May 12, 2012 at 4:34 am

You make me laugh…and very glad all I have in one dog. Never did the child thing with ‘my man’ but can appreciate your story still! You took along for the ride and I’m really glad you got to have daughter #2.


Not a Perfect Mom May 12, 2012 at 5:21 am

taking out the part where you needed a hysterectomy (though you were funny about it)
this may be my new favorite birth story of all time
especially when she shit on you…


TKW May 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

Not a Perfect Mom,

When the shit flew, I was like, “Whaa? I’m supposed to be having a moment, here, people!”


Jessica May 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

TKW you never cease to amaze me – gorgeous & funny & of course I’m crying. Happy Mothers Day!!


Velva May 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm

You have a way with words…There is nothing romantic about giving birth. I don’t care what those birthing videos say-My first thought after I gave birth….not kidding… “My God I may be fat but I am not pregnant”

Awesome post. of course, I have come to expect nothing less than awesome from you.



Sarah May 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm

You are so absolutely amazing, woman. Reading your stories is a gift I so happily receive. You’ve got panache. And fire. So much fire. Let it burn, baby.



TKW May 15, 2012 at 10:08 am


Fire, that’s for sure. You should have heard me cursing in that birth room. :)


Heather May 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm

This post is priceless. Glad you were able to hang on for one more kiddo :)


Kat May 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Clearly you didn’t have enough drama going on in your life and someone upstairs was just trying to keep your life interesting by throwing in the ol’ Crazy Labor and Delivery wrench. I’m glad you were able to keep your baby maker AND that you weren’t alone when that baby made the grand entrance.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri May 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Oh my, Kitch. Tears and laughter. That Russian on a luge description – didn’t know what to do. You got a gift for telling a story, that’s for sure.


TKW May 15, 2012 at 10:10 am


Seriously, it’s the first metaphor that came to mind. “Whoosh!”


Tiffany May 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I think I’d give my left arm for one ounce of your storytelling talent.


TKW May 15, 2012 at 10:11 am


You’re no chopped liver, love.


Contemporary Troubadour May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I. Am. Amazed. You pack so much into so few words, Kitch, while it all comes off as if each word slid easily into place like beads on a string, sprezzatura at its best. And for a story like this one, it needs that kind of pacing. Not easy to pull off.

On motherhood: I’ve always been freaked out by the idea, but now you’ve properly terrified me ;)


TKW May 17, 2012 at 10:31 am


Dogs are good. Or cats. :) Actually, the second birth story is worse, but I’ll spare you the details. Pets, baby.


Contemporary Troubadour May 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Worse?! Hey, I’m all about being an informed participant — details are fine. Though I understand if you’d rather not do that here … ;)


Paula May 17, 2012 at 6:14 am

I got tickled by the “where’s your man?” comment too. I think those things way too much but try not to say them ’cause it usually doesn’t come out very good.

Why were you in the bathtub? Is that supposed to be a great way to birth a baby?


TKW May 17, 2012 at 10:32 am


They’d just completely re-done the maternity ward and all rooms had huge jacuzzi bathtubs “for your comfort.” Ha.


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