Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Announcing the Birth of Chamomile Aphrodite

Blitzen Manx, who, despite the chaos perennially threatening to surround him, looks at least as average as the most ordinary baby on the planet

Note: This is an old post about my Aunt Cristelle. I will post something more current about her soon, but I'll allow any newer readers to first read previous posts about her so that they might more fully understand the pervasive lack of sanity in my father's family. Note that Cristelle is one of the few siblings of my dad that I actually like. please note also that I take very seriously my role as chronicler of the family's uncensored history. When Blitzen Manx wants to know the true story of his birth, he need look no further than to yours truly.

My Aunt Cristelle and Uncle Mendel are the proud parents of a new eight-pound-three-ounce baby. When they told us that Cristelle hadn't yet been to a doctor, then told us the baby was to be a girl, I don't know why we didn't put two and two together and end up with seventeen as Christelle and Mendel obviously had done. I can't speak for anyone else, but I had assumed they must have visited an ultrasound clinic or something of the sort, but that sort of thing, by their standards, probably would have constituted cheating or, at the very least, a breach of faith. Instead, one of their Wiccan friends had some sort of ceremony wherein she consulted all four winds to determine the sex of the baby to be female; the results of the Wiccan ceremony were supported by Cristelle's and Mendel's strong feelings, which turned out to be as reliable as the results of the Wiccan ceremony. They'd all  had a fifty-fifty shot at predicting correctly. An adorable array of little dresses hanging in the nursery closet eagerly awaited the new baby.

So I now have a new cousin. His name is Blitzen Manx. The Manx part comes from his having been born on the Isle of Man - the tiny island between the two larger islands of Ireland and the isle that is home to England, Scotland, and Wales. The Blitzen part comes from God knows where. Perhaps either Cristelle or Mendel has an affinity for Santa's eighth reindeer. While they don't claim to practice Christianity, maybe the Santa part of Christmas is exempt from their system of non-belief. It would be altogether fitting for such to be the case. My dad says that no matter what is Cristelle's baby's legal name, he shall heretofore address and refer to the child as "Mutt," and, for that matter, that Mutt is a better name than Blitzen Manx, anyway.

Blitzen was born in a hospital, as I think I announced earlier that my dad had persuaded the parents was an absolute necessity. (The entire North American-based contingent of the family had been alarmed to learn that Cristelle planned to give birth in a wooded outdoor area on a bed or roses, until my dad's brother Michael -- the sibling closest in age to Cristelle -- reminded everyone that Cristelle has all the pain tolerance of a hypochondriac three-year-old and would last maybe one-and-one-half contractions before emerging from the woods and storming the nearest E.R. in demand of narcotics and immediate surgical removal of whatever was inhabiting her womb.

Labor proceeded very slowly, as in Christelle thought she was at death's door when only the most sensitive of monitors would have possessed the capacity to detect that a contraction was even taking place. Christelle was two days overdue. Labor was in progress, slow though it might have been. The doctor in charge 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. 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 Cristelle would tolerate before throwing plans of a natural childbirth to the wind and demanding painkillers, whether they be demerol, stadol, whatever is given in an epidural, or rock cocaine, as well as to the manner of birth. Dad and I would've made a killing. Cristelle was reportedly threatening medical personnel with bodily harm to everyone within earshot if they didn't produce an anaesthesiologist and get that baby out of there immediately. One of the hospital personnel who incurred her wrath and threats was the janitor who had the misfortune of having been called in to mop up the mess after Uncle Mendel tossed his cookies all over the floor following the breaking of the water. (Perhaps it's a Wiccan tradition.) In any event, I have it on good authority that the staff on duty offered to pool their funds and pay Christelle upwards of a thousand Manx pounds to deliver her next baby elsewhere.

The epidural didn't happen quite on demand, but Cristelle's doctor did grant her a therapeutic dosage of demerol through her IV. This caused Christelle to become incredibly loopy. She grabbed at the arms of anyone foolish enough to walk to within her reach during one of her contractions and begged them for more drugs because she sincerely believed herself to be terminal. At the immediate conclusion of each contraction, she would fall into a deep sleep, or at least as deep a sleep as one could feasibly fall into in the three minutes between each set of contractions. After about twelve hours of this repetition, Cristelle was dilated to a whopping four-and-one-half 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 the Pitocin accomplished was that Cristelle transitioned from begging for more drugs to shouting out the most graphic  of profanities imaginable. It didn't persuade her uncooperative cervix to dilate any further or faster.

When Pitocin had yielded no measurable results after two hours, the doctor decided that Cristelle's baby simply 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 Christelle was lifted on. In a weird sort of way, Christelle was able to give birth on a bed of roses.


  1. This is one of the funniest things I have ever read!