The Heartburn Baby
As I was typing this entry, my mother called me to remind me about this story.
“In two hours, it will be twenty-four years since …” she said.
When my mother went to the hospital to give birth to me, after not nine but ten months of me in her womb, she was more than ready to evict me from her young uterus. Of course, I would finally decide to come on a day when the small Illinois town in which I was born already had two feet of snow on the ground. She and my father piled into his old Mustang and made their way.
Because fate did not seem to be pulling for her, my mother’s doctor was not only out of town, but out of the country. To make matters worse, when she came in, they immediately rolled her next to a lady she describes as large and in charge. She was what my mother, generally polite, referred to as a lady of great mass. The Lady of Great Mass whined and whined about her heartburn.
My mom says she considered flanking her in the face with a syringe or IV pole. After all, she was dealing with a baby that was a month overdue and a doctor that ran off to Europe. The last thing she needed to listen to was the Lady of Great Mass scream about her heartburn. She went on and on about how the barbecue sandwich she had eaten for lunch was apparently ravaging her insides. She wouldn’t give it up.
The wait was long in the room where my Mom was seated, and soon the moans of the Lady of Great Mass became unbearable. She was screaming that the heartburn had moved to her back. My mom noted that her contractions felt the same.
Then a light bulb went off in minds of those in the room. Was she pregnant? No, the lady had remarked. She wasn’t pregnant. Surely, she would know if she was pregnant. Perhaps she was newly pregnant? It was all the barbecue’s fault, after all. You know how that barbecue is, she kept mumbling.
Two hours later, the Lady of Great Mass gave birth to a ten-pound baby boy. A baby boy she hadn’t even known about. For nine months. The Heartburn Baby was born.
All the while, my mother was nearby—still pregnant after ten months. Lady of Great Mass’ husband was also close by playing around with the idea of having a nervous breakdown. He was a skinny little man with thick glasses that he pushed up his nose almost religiously. My mother says he was the classic ’80s middle-aged man nerd. Whatever that means.
In the mean time, you know, the time between the Lady coming in ravaged from a barbecue sandwich and giving birth to a baby she didn’t know she was pregnant with, the Lady of Great Mass’ husband had attempted to pal up with my dad. After the ten-pounder was born, he freaked out. We don’t have any supplies, he said. They didn’t have any children. Any cribs. Any diapers. So this grown man walks up to my eighteen-year-old father and asks if he would mind making a list of all the things they needed to raise this baby.Yes, ALL of the things.
My dad is a smart-ass, and it would be hours before I was born. So he filled up a few pages worth of items ranging from diapers and onesies to birdseed and lawn chairs. After he handed the list over, Mr. Lady of Great Mass went off to the store.
He came back hours later, while I was still in my mother’s womb, and he handed my dad a lawn chair and told him Thank You.
Five hours later, I was finally born. My mom still hates barbecue or hearing about it. I always wonder about this couple. Where are they? How did the ten-pounder, the Heartburn Baby turn out? Did the guy ever figure out that my Dad was joking about half of those products or did he attempt at some point to use the Birdseed? If so, what for?
Every year on that kid’s birthday, does his mother call him to remind him about the lady that was ten months pregnant that almost beat her down in the hospital? Because my mother calls me every year to remind me about the Heartburn Baby.
February 11 is the Heartburn Baby’s birthday and mine too. I feel like we should be friends.
Do have a funny birth story?
Originally published on ShamelesslySassy