By Margie Keane
At the christening party for their first born, my son, Carl and his wife, Patty, were sitting in their family room, talking with their cousins, all young couples.
Listening to these new daddies, I realized that with men now allowed in the labor room, women had lost sole bragging rights to the births of their children.
Gone are the days when women sat in the living room talking about babies, sharing recipes and gossip. Men no longer go outside to shoot hoops, drink beer and talk about cars. Men now stay with the women because they want to share their birthing experiences. When my nephew Joe started the conversation about birthing, I sat down to listen.
“So, Carl, was yours a long labor?”
“No, not really, but they induced us. I don’t know if that makes a difference.”
“I can’t say,” replied Joe, “I just know that we barely made it to the hospital in time.”
“Yeah,” chimed in my son-in-law Bruce, “that happened to us, too. Julie woke me and said we needed to go to the hospital. So I went in to shower and get ready. She came in and said, “Listen, dickhead, we’re having a baby, not going to a party! Get your butt in the car! Now!!” Boy! I’d never heard her use that language before. I guess it’s a good thing we did go. Our son Bruce was born a half hour after we got there.”
“Well,” said Carl, “Ours wasn’t that fast, but boy women sure get touchy when they’re having contractions. I was telling Patty to breathe slow and deep and relax and she yells at me, ‘Get out of my face, lizard breath! I want drugs!’ I mean, all that time in Lamaze classes and she can’t handle it?”
Mark, another nephew, chuckled. “I wasn’t there for our first one, but it was a C section so I probably wouldn’t have been much help. But the last one was a regular delivery and I was there to cut the cord. What an incredible experience.”
Bruce groaned and said, “Our doctor asked me if I wanted to cut the cord and I asked him if he couldn’t find someone a little more qualified.”
“The episiotomy caused the most problems. Quite a few stitches,” remarked Carl.
(Episiotomy? I couldn’t believe he even knew that word!)
You’re right,” agreed Mark, “Christina wouldn’t go to the grocery store for a week. I got pretty tired of doing the shopping.”
”And what about the post partum,” sighed Joe. “You can’t say anything to them without either getting tears or getting yelled at. Don’t they know that we have feelings too? It’s like we weren’t even involved.”
Bruce raised his hand. “What about the afterbirth? Is that gross or what? I thought Julie was dying! And I was sure I was going to.”
All the guys moaned in agreement. Then Joe smiled and said, “Look at all these beautiful babies. Aren’t they worth the pain? We’re definitely going to have more.”
I looked at the wives who were sitting there in stunned silence, taking all of this in. My daughter - in-law looked at the men, then stood up and said, “Come on gals, we sure aren’t needed in here. Let’s grab some cold ones and go downstairs and shoot pool.”
As the women walked out Joe was saying, “Yeah, I figure about March or April….”