Pam and I were the only other people in the room who didn’t have kids yet, so we were unaware of the blood sport better known as Tales of Horror from Labor & Delivery, in which shower participants are apparently required to discuss—in great detail—their long, agonizing, hideous, bloody labors. Extra points are given for brushes with death, idiotic husbands, evil nurses and incompetent residents. Pam and I learned—graphically and against our will—about forceps insertion. Tearing. Epidural migraines. Hemorrhoids. Phrases like “stitched up worse than a quilt” and “head the size of a watermelon” and “bled for weeks” were tossed around with grim pride.
Finally, Pam and I could take it no longer. We bolted to the parking lot, clutched hands, and sweating profusely, exchanged terrified glances. Pam, who had quite the potty mouth, let loose a stream of curses that would make The Wolf of Wall Street sound tame. I could only make squeaking noises, like a baby rabbit being eaten by a hawk.
Well, it turned out that Heidi did just fine with her baby, and the two babies that followed. Pam did all right, too. As for me, when Princess Daughter came into the world 18 years ago, I wasn’t actually sure I was in labor, because it just didn’t hurt that much. Two hours and forty minutes after I got to the hospital, certain they’d send me home for fake contractions, I was holding her in my arms.
I always make sure to tell that story at baby showers. I save Dearest Son’s tale of terror for people I know really well. : )