Then again, you've heard so much anecdotal evidence of the erratic behavior that occurs in my family that this next instance may not even come as a surprise to you. My Aunt Christelle and her husband, Uncle Mendel, who have been living and working in various places throughout Europe, are presently stationed in The Isle of Man. The latest news they've dropped on us is that Christelle is eight months pregnant with a baby girl. I understand why Christelle and Mendel sat on this news for a few weeks or months. With the number of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, I wouldn't choose to make the big announcement too erly, only to have to make nother announcement to the contrary a short time later. But why wait eight months before telling anyone? At that point, why not wait another month and announce the pregnancy and the birth at the same time? Mendel had some bizarre explanation relating to the horizontal and vertical symmetry of the number eight. Right. Exactly. Now we all understand perfectly.
You may remember Christelle and Mendel from their Wiccan wedding. They hear and saunter along to a beat that most of us wouldn't consider occurring regularly enough even to be considered anything resembling a beat. If you can think of a perfectly lucid action or normal way of handling a situation, Christelle and Mendel would choose the diametric opposite of what most of us would consider normal. Usually, what they would choose to do in a given situation is totally random to the point of chaos.
They plan for the baby to be born outdoors in a wooded area about ten miles from their house. Christelle has always has an image of giving birth on a bed of red rose petals. (Actually mendel just said rose petals, not red ones, but since they're going to end up red anyway by the time the baby and the placenta make their way out of there, the petals may as well start out red.) I talked briefly with Mendel on the phone about how he is going to manage this. If he buys the roses too early, the petals will dry out. If he risks buying them too late, the blessed event may occur sans rose petals. Christelle could go into labor this very night. Does Mendel have a butt load of rose petals on hand? Somehow I doubt it. I told Mendel that he's going to have to be the most generous husband around from now until the baby is born. He'll need to order a large (at least two-dozen in number) rose bouquet tonight, and replace it once a week until the child makes its entrance into the world.
I haven't checked The Isle of Man's weather report lately, but I can't imagine that it's going to be anything resmbling balmy there in the next month. I'll have to google it. Then I'll ask Mendel if he plans to build a fire or use an extension cord about a quarter-mile long so that he can plug an electric heater into the nearest house, or if Christelle plans to give birth in thermal underwear.
My dad was concerned about the medical practitioner involved in this rather unorthodox birth. Mendel stuttered and evaded the question before ultimately admitting that he and Christelle had been unable to find any doctor, or even a nurse/midwife, who was willing to go along with their vision of a birth.
That, apparently, is why they told my dad. (It really didn't hsve anything to do with either the horizontal or the vertical symmetry of the number eight. Mendel is totally full of shit.) They thought my dad might be willing to hang out in The Isle of Man for anywhere between the next day and the next seven weeks until nature takes its course. (It's not as though he has a job or a family to support or anything like that.) My dad gave them roughly fifteen thousand reason why this was not a good idea, starting with his lack of specialization in OB-GYN. Sure, he's delivered a few babies in recent years during his stints in the ER, in one case because the mother didn't know the difference between pregnancy and gall stones. My dad used the analogy that sometimes major league baseball games get so out of hand that a team runs out of pitching and doesn't want to put the next day's starter into the game when their team is down eighteen runs, so they bring the center fielder in to pitch because he pitched when he was in high school against other high school kids fifty bazillion years earlier. Dad said that if a lady shows up in obvious labor and there's not another MD within seventy miles, he'll probably scrub up and put on s pair of rubber gloves and help get the child out of there the best he can, but choosing him for the task is like if the Giants had started Nate Schierholtz at pitcher in Game One of the World Series. In a pinch you make do with what you have, but you plan your line-up assuming your number one starting pitcher is going to be available for the game.
My dad said he considered saying yes and showing up to deliver the baby even though he's not licensed to practice medicine in The Isle of Man just so that when the second or third contraction hit, he could announce that there were complications and immediately pull Christelle's ignorant butt off the bed of red rose petals and drop kick her to the nearest hospital's labor and delivery ward. Then he thought about Christelle and her pain tolerance level. A paper cut is a reason to take Vicodin as far as she is concerned. After the first contraction, she'll drive herself to the hospital if Mendel doesn't agree to take her. In fact, my dad said, for all their talk of letting nature take its course, he predicts a C-section delivery. There will be no babies born on rose petals in The Isle of Man at any point in the immediate future unless some couple with more resolve that Christelle and Mendel happens to have the same idea.
I forgot to tell you the name Mendel and Christelle have chosen for their baby. You'd think, since they kept the pregnancy a secret for so long, that Christelle and Mendel might hold on to that one last detail until the baby is actually here, but they're so damned proud of the concotion of a name they've brewed up that they're announcing it to everyone who will listen and some who would just as soon not. The baby will be named, and I swear I'm not making up a word of this, Chamomile Aphrodite.