Thursday, November 10, 2011

Announcing the birth of Chamomile Aphrodite, but not exactly . . .

My Aunt Cristelle and Uncle Mendel are the proud parents of a new eight-pound-three-ounce baby. When they told us Cristelle 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 Cristelle and Mendel obviously had done. We thought they must have visited an ultrasound clinic or something of the sort, but no; one of their Wiccan friends had presided over some sort of ceremony where she determined the sex of the baby to be female in utero by dropping a white feather precisely six feet above cristelle's navel and observing where the feather landed; the results of the Wiccan ceremony were supported by Cristelle's and Mendel's strong premonitions, which turned out to be about as accurate ass the reults of the Wiccan ceremony.. Everyone had a fifty-fifty shot at predicting correctly, but the Wiccans were consistently aligned with the losing 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 Cristelle or Mendel has a particular affinity for Santa's eighth reindeer. They  claim not to practice Christianity, but maybe the Santa part of the Christian-related holiday is exempt from the Wiccan system of non-belief.

Blitzen was born in a hospital, as I think I announced earlier would happen. My dad had persuaded Mendel and Cristelle that such was an absolute necessity.The poor child faced more than  enough obstacles working against his favor simply by virtue of being the result of the union of Mendel's sperm and Cristelle's egg, never mind compounding the odds against him that would be endured by any baby being delivered anywhere other than in a competent medical care facility. Labor was proceeding very slowly, as in Christelle thought she was at death's door when only the most sensitive of monitors could detect even that a contraction was occurring. I metioned i all seriousness in an earlier blog that Cristelle cannot suffer through a paper cut without an extra-strength Vicodin tablet..

Cristelle 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 Cristelle wasn't going to be anymore rested for the big event if  nature were to be allowed to crawl along at its own snail's pace, so the doctor ruptured Christelle's membranes.  Rupturing membranes, otherwise known as breaking the water, often spontaneously accelerates and intensifies labor. At that point 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 demanding painkillers, be they demerol, stadol, whatever is given in an epidural, or  rock cocaine in its purest form.  Dad and I would've made a killing on the gambling venture. 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.) Imagine the nerve of a hospital custodian janitor  not to immediately cough up the goods required to propel Cristelle into epidural-induced all-time high!

An epidural didn't happen when it was demanded, but the doctor did give Cristelle demerol through her IV. This caused her 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 seemed to seriously believe she was dying. At the immediate conclusion of each contraction, she would fall into an almost coma-like sleep, or in as coma-like  state of sleep into which one could fall into in just three minutes. After about twelve hours of this almost comedic repetition, (I say "almost comedic" because I could never consider the pain experienced by a laboring mother-to-be, as exaggerated as it may have appeared to observers,  to be a source of genuine humor. From most accounts, giving birth is painful, and I will not laugh about anyone's discomfort incurred in  the process.) Cristelle 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 Cristelle transitioned from begging for more drugs to demanding them while hollering out the most graphic expletives 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 Cristelle'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 Cristelle was lifted on. In a convoluted sort of way, Cristelle 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 on the  Isle of Man. Mendel's parents are no longer on the planet, and Cristelle's parents (my paternal grandparents) have  had so many grandchildren already that they cease to be excited about any new ones, which makes me a bit sad for Cristelle and for the baby. Every baby deserves to have grandparents excited about his or her arrival. 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 Cristelle while Mendel works a few hours each day. 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 much 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'm excited to see and  touch and hold little Blitzen Manx even if his parents did burden him with a rather strange name.

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 Cristelle's if not more so. My dad said if it is, he will disown me.


  1. Blitzen Manx... I kind of like it, except for the Santa association, of course. :) Congratulations on your newest cousin!

  2. maybe he'll grow up to be a superhero!!

    1. The kid has developed a serious superhero fixation and now wears a cape in all of his non-school and non-sleeping hours.

  3. As a pagan, I was all about going natural UNLESS something was medically necessary - because you know - we have modern medicine and it can be a wonderful thing. I had a midwife (who was also a RN/Dr or whatever it was) and went to my Dr's appts regularly, took my prenatal vitatmins and didn't really do any pagan/wiccan woo-woo stuff. Because, well, I guess I didn't feel the *need* for that. Everyone is different, especially when you're pregnant - your hormones are a roller coaster ride full of all sorts of mind altering hormonal things!! It's not always a joy ride but for some people, I think they *need* a little extra something to make it more magickal for them.

    I got pictocin and had pain meds, which they had to take off in order for me push. And push I did! Raven was pushed out in 30 minutes :) After 23 hours of labor/slow labor and all that jazz.

    Congrats to them on having a healthy baby :) That's all you can really want!!

  4. Apparently the Manx word for congratulations is "moylley dhyt!"

  5. matt,
    My dad said he's going to call the kid "Manx," because, silly though it may be as a name, it's not half as stupid as being named after one of Santa's reindeer. Seriously, is their another literary refernece in existence to the name Blitzen that doesn't involve the last of C. C. Moore's incarnations of Santa's coursers?