Thursday, April 22, 2004

I was born at 3:39 pm on Thursday April 22, 1976. So technically I'm not 28 for another 6 hours, but I thought it fitting to put some of the more interesting details of the day I was born:

My father was stationed at the Pentagon then but had taken the week off of duty in anticipation of my arrival. Apparently I was pretty close to being born on my due date, and my dad had unfortunately missed enough other births during his years at sea that he made a point to be on hand for this one. That morning he and my mother got up and got the other 5 chill’uns off to school when my mother announced that she thought this was it, they needed to head for the hospital. Fine, OK, whatever…6th time, the franticness is gone. So they pile into the red VW bus, and head for Ft. Belvoir.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Military doctors are great. But they’re hassled most of the time, and seeing too many patients w/ too few resources, and apparently that day the person my mom saw at Ft. B wasn’t terribly…um, skilled…because this person told her she was in false labor (Braxton-Hicks, baby), it wasn’t time, go home. She was skeptical (again, 6th baby, she knew the score with her own body) but thought, fine, OK, whatever.

Since they were already on base they decided to make the most of the time and went to the commissary to do the week’s shopping. I’ve seen the cancelled check and everything. They didn’t mess around, and stocked up the house for an invasion based on the amount. They loaded everything up, got it home, and unloaded it. Then my dad lay down for a nap while my mom fixed some lunch—an aside, seriously, how unbelievably badass is my mom? Five kids, mostly teenagers, uber-preggo with number 6, pushing 40, IN LABOR, does the grocery shopping and cooking for her husband so he can rest?!! There isn’t enough room in any house for the medals she should have earned. End aside.

By the time she finishes the lunch (fixing it, that is, not eating it) she concludes NO REALLY RIGHT NOW LET’S GO IT’S TIIIIIIIIIIME. She wakes my dad, they pile back into the van, and away they go. By this time she is in serious labor, hee-hee-hee-hoooooooing all the way. Her body had no time for long labor or slow dilation—she was READY. This, understandably, freaked Commander Doss the hell out, and my normally law-abiding dad put the pedal to the metal, Ft. Belvoir or bust!

They pull up (I like to think Indy-pit style… "Screeeeech!”), some nurses trundle out with a wheelchair and whisk my mom away. My dad then pulled around to park the van, and in NINE MINUTES, by the time he’d parked and come into the hospital, I had been born. Anne Elizabeth, named after my great-grandmother, 21” long, 8 lbs. 2 oz., with one huge curl of brown hair on my shiny new head. Mom and baby fine, siblings in awe of the little person with little fingers and toes, the blue Doss eyes and the rosy Hornbeck complexion.

A few days later the dumb “you’re not in labor" doctor came in to visit my mom. I don’t know what she said to him exactly, but I think my presence in the room was the biggest “Told you so” she could have given.

So it’s my day, kids. My own personal holiday, to celebrate that long ago moment when the Army had no idea what it was doing but on their own my mom and dad blew the doors off the parent thing in their usual awesome style. My thanks to them both. I’m glad to be here.


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