I was nineteen when I had my first child, John. John was quick to talk, and by the time he was two-and-a-half, he was asking “Why?” He asked questions about everything. Why do we brush our teeth? Why is the cat licking itself? Why do we have seat belts? You get the gist. I loved his inquisitive nature and would answer all his questions, even an obnoxious amount, consecutively. He loved hugs and he loved to sit on my lap and read books and do puzzles. He had stolen my heart.
When John was three-and-a-half, I was due with our daughter, Kacie. My body wouldn’t kick into labor naturally, so all three of my children were induced, but the doctors didn’t recognize this till after this second pregnancy, and I went three weeks overdue before they induced me.
As many of you know, in the last weeks of pregnancy, you get to visit the doctor’s office weekly. When you are overdue, you get to visit the doctor bi-weekly. I had seen the doctor too many times without progression. It felt depressing and pointless. I was as big as a bus and uncomfortable. I had thrown up for the first five months of the pregnancy and gone from 110 pounds to 170 in six months.
At two weeks overdue, I was scheduled for another bi-weekly appointment. You know — pee in a cup, check blood pressure, give blood and another dreaded physical exam. This time I was scheduled to go to a different office, since my doctor was scheduled to work in the next town over. I was done with work since my due date had come and gone, and I was no longer using childcare since I was home. So John would have to come with me to my appointment.
I wasn’t sure how this would work. I didn’t need any awkward questions.
John and I arrived at the appointment and I was handed that plastic cup. (Back then, the cups didn’t have lids.) The restroom was the size of a small broom closet. Sitting on the toilet, my feet could reach the wall. By this time, my wardrobe was down to just a few comfortable pieces that would still fit around my stomach, and on that day, I wore my maternity bib overalls. I was overly modest and self-conscious of my three-year-old son standing there in his inquisitive innocence, so I turned him to face the door, in need of just a little dignity. I sat and thought of waterfalls and rainy days. Once done, I opened the little cubby door to place the cup in the cupboard, but unlike my normal doctor’s office, this cubby door had a spring on it. As I let go of the door, it swung back against my hand, which was holding the cup of pee. Yes, the unthinkable happened, and in just a moment’s time I heard, “Mom, why is it raining?”
Poor John. And poor mama. Ah well, we survive the indignities of motherhood!