Sunday, March 20, 2011

Smeagol's Birthday Story

How terrible! I got so wrapped up in making an awesome birthday party happen for Smeagol's ninth birthday that I didn't put his birth-day story on here the way I did for Buttercup, or the way I had intended. So though this is a bit late, I am putting it up now. As I mentioned for Buttercup, these posts are largely for my children way down the line, but I am happy to share them, as I remember them, because some day I may not be able to tell the story any longer, for whatever reasons.

The earliest digital shot I could find of Smeagol - all the rest are on hard copy! He's about 3 here.

Our Smeagol is the only one of the four children that was born in a hospital with a "regular" Obstetrician (as opposed to a midwife) attending.
I was no longer in the Navy, having gotten out just the year before, but I was still a military spouse and had to use the military medical system for my prenatal care. With our first - Maestro - we were both working and could afford to pay out-of-pocket for a midwife; with Smeagol, we didn't make as much and decided to give the military a try. I went to the OB clinic on post several times for regular appointments certainly, but also to flesh out the possibility of getting the military to pay for a midwife.

Instead, what I got was an appointment with the head OB in the clinic, and a reassurance that he would personally attend the birth and his cell phone number. I explained that my first labor went fairly quickly (unusual for a first child), and I expected my second might go equally quickly. He instructed me to have the hospital call him as soon as I arrived and he would come immediately. So with little more than this reassurance, I pressed on as best I could.

Just prior to my labor with Smeagol, my mother came out to help both with the labor and with Maestro as he made the transition from only child to older brother! Parents are such a Godsend - both my mother and my mother-in-law - I couldn't be more grateful for them both. So as I finally hit labor, we took Maestro to a friend's house and headed for the hospital. We had a pretty good idea that I would not take long. Smeagol was about two weeks ahead of his "due date," but that was not a concern - I had said that the date was off since the beginning.

We checked into the hospital through the Emergency Room and were whisked upstairs. In the beginning, they took me into the delivery room, but required my mother and Jeff to stay outside and wait until all the paperwork was done. The on-call doctors were not willing to call the military doctor right away, as I was told to have them do. Instead, they made a plan to check my "progress" and then check back again an hour or so later and we would "go from there." The initial check made it clear that things were not going to work out quite as planned - they agreed to call the doctor immediately.

He was determined to get pictures that looked like he was holding the jellyfish at the Baltimore Aquarium! About 5 here.

At that point, they also agreed to let Mom and jeff into the room - thankfully! I laid there on the bed and Mom was at the foot of the bed eating an orange. I really wanted that orange. They nicely told me that I could have "ice chips" - thank you, no. Mom passed her orange over.

Very shortly after that, it was time for that boy to come O-U-T. Mom hollered out the door, down the hall, at the doctors that I was ready to push. I could hear them laughing in the hall as they put on gowns and gloves. Clearly there was no sense of urgency with them. Well, when the body tells you to do something while in labor - you do it. Here comes Smeagol! Mom caught him, handily and those working out in the hall to "prepare" themselves for his birth rushed in and fussed at her because she had caught him with no gloves on.

I'm not sure what she should have done at that point, in their view but it makes for a very funny moment in the telling now! He was smaller than Maestro had been, weighing in at 5 lbs. 9 oz. I couldn't tell you what time of day it was or how long or any of that good stuff - I'm really not all there by the time labor kicks in, but he was healthy and in good form. He took a little while learning to nurse, and they decided he might be slightly anemic, so he was taken to the nursery (with Jeff or Mom going along with him - he was not leaving out sight!) to be placed under lights to determine if he needed further care (he didn't.)

Playing the part of "New Big Brother" himself - here about 7 years old.

We left the hospital about 24-hours later to take him home to meet his big brother. What a pip! Our Smeagol was born with a line right across his belly - darker skin above, and lighter skin tone below. Jeff's natural skin tone is slightly darker than mine, and this was a very interesting way to see that illustrated I thought! That is the story of Smeagol.

The only one of four (so far) who was not born within 24-hours of his initial "due date" and so very different from Maestro, in temperament as well as attitude. Now at nine years old, he is a joy to have in our lives, keeping us guessing at what we'll hear or see from him next. He cracks me up with his drawings and his made-up songs, and he has phenomenal self-confidence. What else could a parent ask for? We are well blessed.

Ninth birthday dinner at La Palapa's Mexican restaurant.


  1. My co-worker tells a similar story about an idiot doctor who took his time getting to her bedside, not believing she was in labor. As much as I appreciate the American medical system, there are times when its workers get too smug and know-it-all!

  2. On the one hand, it was good to have a "regular" birth experience - WITH others there who could help stand up for me and be there for me. On the other hand, his has guaranteed that I will NEVER, EVER use conventional medical care for L & D again. I will FIND a way to pay out of pocket if I have to. Midwives are totally worth the cost and the drive.

  3. Thankfully you did have us there - catching him yourself would have been a challenge! I have retold his birth story to many people, it is one of my life's highlights and pleasures to know that I did not drop him, and that he was healthy despite my not having washed up first :-)

  4. I don't know, Mom - you not washing up first might have caused him to have allergies! Doubtful, but they needed to worry over something, eh?


I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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