I Did It My Way

V Pendragon
5 min readApr 12, 2024

On Birthing My Daughter

My mother birthed eleven babies. I was the eldest… and, as time would eventually allow, I was also the built-in baby-sitter. My parents were both physicians, pathologists, to be exact. Both were baptized Catholics… surprise, surprise. Mom opted for sedation when she gave birth. The techniques for sedation improved from the time of my birth for which she had been so heavily sedated that I was born not breathing and apparently somewhat resistant to doing so. The more babies my mother had, the easier it got, but she still opted for sedation every time except, for some reason, the last one.

The last child my mother had, she had by the just-then-becoming-popular “natural” childbirth. I was in my teens by then and I couldn’t help but notice how attached she was — and remained as he grew — to that particular child. The other siblings took note as well. That child did not experience a particularly easy early childhood. Mom was — or pretended to be — more or less oblivious to the minor harrasment the poor kid endured which was easy as she was working all day and the boys weren’t dumb; they didn’t do it in front of her.

By the time I was about to have my first baby most physicians had stopped sedating birthing mothers specifically because of the possible effects on the child. Having no idea what birthing a child ‘cold-turkey’ might actually entail from the standpoint of pain as my mother had never mentioned it, I was utterly unprepared for labor pains… never-mind actually trying to squeeze what turned out to be almost ten pounds of baby out of me. It hurt more than I could have imagined something hurting and it wasn’t a quick delivery either.

I literally screamed, at one point, just as said infant’s head hit the air, when the delivery nurse alerted the doctor that the little newcomer was not breathing, “Breathe you little motherfucker or I will kill you myself!”

Nice, I know.

Also, it makes literally no sense at all, but I had crossed the line between rational behavior and whatever state that was.

After we got our baby boy home and settled in and he moved slowly but surely through the next months into the crawling and playing stage, I realized that I was, essentially, going to be responsible not just for guiding him through various learning processes but also for ‘playing’ with him. I was not a bad person but I had pretty much had my fill of taking care of babies. Nevertheless, that goes along with the job description for a stay-at-home mom.

Then it hit me. I could make him a playmate. That would at least help to occupy some of his time. And so, without mentioning it to my husband, I “went off the pill.”

I got pregnant in no time. As before, I just loved being pregnant. Can’t tell you why except that being pregnant just felt good to me. My belly, stretched out a bit from the previous pregnancy, got even bigger than it had the first time. People in the food store and at other venues would literally point at me and laugh. (I’m only 5’3” so I get it… but I didn’t like it.) I felt good… but I would never forget how bad I’d felt during the actual birthing process. So I determined to come into the next delivery room I entered better prepared than I had been the last time. Way better prepared.

I read everything I could get my hands on about birthing and, in the process, discovered a particular breathing technique that was said to help mitigate the pain of contractions. I took notes and I practiced whenever I could catch a few minutes to myself. I told no one what I was doing. I wanted to be as in charge of the process as I could possibly be.

I did a good job…no… a great job! I say this because neither my husband nor his interfering parents who had arrived to celebrate Thanksgiving with us (as if we’d asked) even noticed my surreptitious, exceedingly controlled breathing as I puttered about the kitchen preparing the feast that I would not be present for.

When a labor pain hit, I’d casually relax back against whatever countertop or appliance was handy, do my calculated breathing, and then swing back into action. When the pains were at ten minutes apart I knew that it was time to head for the hospital and simply, if somewhat loudly, announced that fact. You’d have thought I’d said that the house had caught fire. My husband and his mother both lost it, so I stepped in and told them what was going to happen next and very shortly thereafter my husband was speedily driving me towards the hospital which was, on a no-rush-hour-traffic day, only about a half an hour away.

I simply continued with my controlled breathing.

When we pulled into the emergency lane at the hospital, where, technically, only ambulances are supposed to go, an attendant attempted to advise my husband to get the heck out of there to which my husband replied that my labor pains were two minutes apart and the next thing I knew I was being rolled away on a gurney. They got me to a delivery room in the nick of time and I delivered within about a minute of being on the table… and had an orgasm at the same time which startled the nurse who was guiding my new little daughter out of me into virtually shouting “She’s having an orgasm! I’ve never seen that before!”

Neither had anyone else present.

I’m 77 now and that day and that event remain the highlight of my life. And that baby girl, well past the age I was when I had her, has become one amazing person, in charge of a decently sized organization. She can handle some stuff.

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V Pendragon

Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor of two 'fatal, incurable' diseases and a healthy dose of CSA