Spice Cake and Tears ……

…… are on tap for today.

But before I get into that I need to tell you that I’m multi-tasking while writing this.
I’m writing …… and I’m completely NOT dealing with the fact that there’s a good-sized, once-beautiful, now-horrifically-smelling, dead deer in my yard.

It’s back there:

I’ll spare you the details.
You’re welcome.

Back to the title.

Today is Son #2’s twenty second birthday.
Some days it’s impossible to believe that my children are the age they are. Other days I feel like I must be a million years old.
These past six years their birthdays have brought me smiles, as well as tears.
Tears for the same four words, over and over and over.

But the smiles …… the smiles come easier now.
Especially this day.
This day contains hilarious memories.
Oh, they weren’t so hilarious when they were actually being made, at least not to me.

You see, Son #2 was due on July 11th. That would’ve been a cool birthday … 7/11.
But he, as well as 4 of his siblings, decided to take his damn sweet time before being born.

I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday, July 17th. My dr. told me that if I didn’t go into labor over the weekend, he’d start an induction on Monday. I asked if Jim should take off work to be there. He assured me that this induction (the application of a prostaglandin gel) would be slow. I’d go home and “hopefully” go into labor after 24 hours. But I’d most likely have to have this procedure done again a couple of days later. No need for a husband or a packed suitcase.

Now I have to take a moment to remind you that we lived in Houston. And July in Houston is about as close to hell as I ever want to get.
But I got out in the sweltering heat. I rode my bike. I walked. I ate shrimp by the pound (we went to a shrimp boil the month before, and a good friend went into labor right afterwards. She encouraged me to eat shrimp). Poor Jim, he brought home every kind of shrimp he could find for a few nights.

So I went into the office on Monday and he sent me over to the hospital to have the gel applied. The woman in the next room was also having this done. For the third time.
Poor her.

So the dr. came in, applied the gel, told me to stay down for thirty minutes and then go home. And he went back to the office.

Within five minutes I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere.
That damn gel didn’t get the notice that it was supposed to be slow-acting.
One of the nurses came in to check on me and I was Lamaze-style breathing. I asked through gritted teeth, “When can I get an epidural?!”, to which she replied, “Well, we have to make sure you’re in real labor before we can talk about that.”
If I hadn’t been breathing so hard I think I would’ve hauled off and smacked her.
She put a belt on me to measure the contractions and keep track of the heart rate. Then she said that she’d be back in 15-20 minutes to see if anything was happening.
I told her that since this was my fifth child, fourth pregnancy, I think I could pretty much give her an official opinion that this was indeed labor.
She just smiled at me like I was a small child and said, “We’ll see.”

After she left I called Jim’s office. His secretary answered. Bless her heart, every time I called him in that month she’d ask, “Is this it?!”. And it never was.
This time she informed me that he was out of the office. He’d gone to lunch with some clients. She asked, “Should I get a hold of him?” I’m pretty sure it was the panting and heavy breathing that caught her attention. Or the pauses in the conversation when I’d breathe out … “just a sec …”, hold the phone away and either breathe or swear.
I finally told her that, yes, she needed to get ahold of him right away.
So she put me on hold and called his cell. When the call transferred over Jim said, “Hello?” I could tell that he was in a restaurant. I could hear gentle laughter and conversations. I could hear the tinkling sound of silverware on plates and glass ware.
It didn’t make me all that happy.

I said, “Hi, you need to come to the hospital, I’m in labor.” There was a small pause. Then the man actually said …… “But they’re getting ready to serve dessert. And it’s spice cake.”

I’ll let you sit with that for a while.

Done laughing?
I didn’t think you were.

Yes, the man loved spice cake. But REALLY?!! I’d been having contractions on top of contractions for about 30 minutes and could hardly talk. But I did manage to tell him what he could do with the spice cake if he didn’t get there soon.

I then hung up and kept requesting an epidural in spite of all the collective birthing knowledge out at the nurses station. The nurse finally came in to check me and said, “Yep, you’re in labor all right. Looks like it’s going fast.”
If looks could kill there would’ve been one less nurse in Labor and Delivery that day.

The contractions came on so fast and were so hard that I just couldn’t get on top of them. No matter what breathing method I used. Or didn’t use. Evidently I wasn’t being all that quiet.
Jim later told me that as he was walking down the hall toward the room, he could hear yelling and crying. He nervously asked a nurse, “Is that Mrs. E?”, to which she replied, “Yep.”
I think he knew at that point that he was in trouble.

I knew that he was in trouble the moment he walked into the room, as they were giving me the epidural. He was carrying my bag (yes, that was sweet) and he was wearing shorts and a baseball cap.
I, or some demon who had take over my body, roared, “You went home and changed clothes??!!!!!”, to which he replied, “I thought I’d have time. These things are usually slow going.”

Forty five minutes later, Son #2 was born.
Yes, I soon forgave Jim for almost missing the birth of our son.
I’m not sure how long it took him to get over missing that spice cake.

We were in Oregon the next year when Son #2 turned one. I spent two days searching surrounding stores for spice cake.
Alas, I was not successful, but he was ok with it.
He got it for his birthday.
Every year.

God, I miss that man.

Jim, snoozing after a rough day of missing out on dessert.

Son #2 at 5 months:

Son #1 on his first birthday, out in an Oregon forest.


Sleeping buds (as Jim was with every baby):

Swimming, at less than one year.

Happy Birthday, P. I love you to the moon and back.
And so does Dad.
❤ ❤ ❤

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