My Aunt Christelle and Uncle Mendel are the proud parents of a new eight-pound-three-ounce baby. When they told us Christelle hadn't been to a doctor, then told us the baby was to be a girl, I don't know how we didn't put two and two together and end up with seventeen, as Christelle and Mendel obviously did. We thought they must have visited an ultrasound clinic or something of the sort, but no; one of their Wiccan friends had some sort of ceremony where she determined the sex of the baby to be female in utero; the results of the Wiccan ceremony were supported by Christelle's and mendel's stong preomitions, which turned out to be about as reliable s the reults of the /wiccan ceremony.. They all had a fifty-fifty shot at predicting correctly, but were consistently on the wrong side of the fifty.
So I now have a new cousin. His name is Blitzen Manx. The Manx part comes from his having been born in the Isle of Man. The Blitzen part comes from God knows where. Perhaps either Christelle or Mendel has an affinity for Santa's eighth reindeer. They don't claim to practice Christianity, but maybe the Santa part of the Christian-related holiday is exempt from their system of non-belief.
Blitzen was born in a hospital, as I think I announced earlier that my dad had persuaded the parents was an absolute necessity. Labor was proceeding very slowly, as in Christelle thought she was at death's door when only the most sensitive of monitors could even detect that a contraction was occurring. Christelle was two days overdue. Labor was clearly in progress, slow though it might have been. The doctor decided that the baby was clearly on its way and that Christelle wasn't going to be anymore rested for the big event if they let nature crawl along at its own snail's pace, so the doctor broke Christelle's water. After that, all Hell broke loose. My dad and I really should have (and would have if we weren't related to a bunch of total buzz-kill Mormons on that side of the family) created a betting pool related to the number of full-scale contractions Christelle would tolerate before throwing plans of a natural childbirth to the wind and demaning painkillers, be they demeol, stadol, whatever is given in an epidural, or even rock cocaine, as well as to the manner of birth. Dad and I would've made a killing. Christelle was threatening medical personnel with bodily harm if they didn't produce an anaesthesiologist and get an epidural going pronto. One of the hospital personnel who incurred her wrath and threats was the janitor who came in to mop up the mess after Uncle Mendel tossed his cookies on the floor following the breaking of the water. (Perhaps it's a Wiccan tradition.)
An epidural didn't happen when it was demanded, but the doctor did give Christelle demerol through her IV. This caused Christelle to be incredibly loopy. She would grab at the arms of anyone who was foolish enough to walk within her reach during a contraction and beg them for more drugs because she honestly believed she was dying. At the immediate conclusion of each contraction, she would fall into a deep sleep, or in as deep a sleep as one could fall into in just three ,inutes. After about twelve hours, Christelle was dilated to a whopping four centimeters, which might have been sufficient to allow her to give birth to a gerbil if forceps were used. Pitocin was administered. The only thing this accomplished was that Christelle transitioned from begging for more drugs to hollering out the most graphic profanity imaginable.
When Pitocin yielded no measurable results after two hours, the doctor decided that the baby wasn't coming out in the traditional way. Forty-five minutes later, Blitzen Manx was born via Caesarean section. One aspect of Christelle's dream childbirth experience was realized. My mother had purchased a sheet that was a rose petal-covered print. She had it hospital-sterilized and sealed and sent it over to the Isle of Man. It was placed upon the O. R. table before Christelle was lifted on. In a weird sort of way, Christelle was able to give birth on a bed of roses.
I won't get to see the baby anytime soon because I won't be healthy enough to travel in the near future, plus there's the pesky matter of school. I ordered an outfit for Blitzen and had it sent to him in the Isle of Man. Mendel's parents are no longer on the planet, and Christelle's parents (my paternal grandparents) have had so many grandchildren already that they ceased to be excited about any new ones, which makes me a bit sad for Christelle. My Uncle Steve and his wife, my Aunt Heather are going to visit the new little family next week, and will stay for ten days or so to help with housekeeping tasks and to take care of the baby and Christelle while Mendel works. Uncle Steve is a pediatrician, and Aunt Heather is a nurse practitioner, and they have two children of their own, so they should be of practical assistance. My parents plan to visit right after Christmas. I wish I could go, but it's not in the plans right now. Maybe either their family will visit the U. S. or I can go there during the summer.
I would like to go on record as saying I have never experienced labor or childbirth, and I cannot guarantee that my performance during such won't be every bit as dramatic as Christelle's if not more so. My dad said if is, he will disown me.