very early zaz

So Margaret asked what I was like as a child. And you know, the quintessential story of me starts – at least as far as I’m concerned – shortly after Christmas 1962.

xmas1962

That’s my mom, my two older brothers and me. What? You don’t mean to tell me you need help finding me in the picture?

Let’s go back a little way in time. My oldest brother would have been what – 9? Yeah, I think so. You’d think I could just subtract but I compute ages in the strangest way. And my younger brother would have been 4 1/2-ish. Mike was actually from my mom’s previous marriage. We were told one story about that our entire lives but when Mom started losing her memory to Alzheimer’s another story came out. Because both of my folks have dementia, and my uncle as well I understand, we’ll never know the truth. Does it matter? Not really. It was pretty rare that anyone thought anything about it. But my meandering point was my parents wanted a daughter and they decided to try one last time for the prize.

And Christmas 1962 my mom was almost 9 months pregnant. In Michigan. Land of snow.

You know, I don’t think I heard many stories of my brothers’ births. I know when Mike was born that no one had ever really explained to Mom what was going to happen. I mean, she grew up on a farm so she knew the physical part but she didn’t know things like that she would bleed afterward and apparently the hospital expected her to have her own supplies. Dave was born in the summer and Mom told a story of her being hugely pregnant and Dad with a broken arm out in the snow trying to shovel the car out. It was Michigan. I figure it was June.

But not me. I was a New Year’s baby and the story of my birth was kind of a holiday tradition. New Year’s babies are pretty much the only ones who know exactly when they were born. I was #11 in the state of Michigan. No free car for me.

The story starts a few days after Christmas, depending on which parent you believe. Mom’s version focuses on the hellishly long labor. She didn’t sleep for three days. Every time they went to the hospital, which was, according to Dad, every time he tried to sleep, they ended up being sent back home. Dad’s story focuses more on how he didn’t sleep. Mom spent those three days (or so) sleeping in between labor and trips to the hospital. Dad took care of the boys and drove Mom back and forth to the hospital. He didn’t sleep for three days. Mom insists that he slept and she suffered.

Finally on New Year’s Eve the blessed event (me) was ready to come out. My mom’s parents came to stay with the boys and Dad drove Mom to the hospital late on New Year’s Eve night, in a blizzard, at some ungodly temperature below zero, at 102 miles per hour. Dad says he really wanted me to be born before midnight for the tax deduction. He blames Dr. Hurd, who was at a New Year’s Eve party and had to be sobered up before he could deliver the baby.

And that is how, in my family, I came to be known as the child who was 6 hours and 58 minutes too late for a tax deduction. And I think it explains a lot about me.

p.s. Margaret. I’ll tell you another story about what I was like as a slightly older child.

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10 thoughts on “very early zaz”

  1. This is a great story! I don’t think I know of any stories about my birth; I should ask my parents. I think it was pretty dull. I was the first born–dad stayed out in the waiting room and mom did twilight sleep. When my much younger brother(their 4th child) was born, Dad went to school and worked; the hospital called him to let him know that he had a son. Then he called me at my junior high to let me know that I had YET another brother. (now my only surviving sibling)

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    1. It’s kind of interesting how birth… involvement? changes. I’m sure Dad was out in the waiting room back then though that part wasn’t part of the traditional story. And it’s so not today for Dad to go off to work during the big event – though I bet a lot of Dad’s don’t have much of a choice.

      It’d be fun if people would play along. What do you know about your birth story? Is my New Year’s Baby theory accurate?

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  2. I’d love to play along but mine isn’t a good story. My son’s though, is fabulous! He was supposed to be born at home in a pool, but right at the end contractions stopped and we had to go to hospital. One tug and he was born. My husband was freaked out by the amount of blood but calmed by the fact that no one else seemed to be worried. It was a beautiful evening / night / early morning. I fell in love that day.

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    1. That is a great story! I’ve seen shows about water births and know that they’re supposed to be much more relaxing. Relaxed yourself out of contractions?

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      1. Just as likely! The great thing about home births is you have two midwives to yourself, as opposed to two or three midwives between however many are on the ward at the time. They kept saying “I can’t believe how calm she is, I can’t believe…” So yeah, that’s probably what happened!

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  3. Love your story. I bet that you’re right about New Year’s babies knowing every detail of their births. Some day I might post on my blog about my birth– if I ever get into the mood to talk about my past. Just know that nothing bad happened, but that true to form, my parents disagreed about my pending arrival.

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    1. I look forward to maybe reading it someday! The past seems much easier than the present or future these days.

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  4. Well I have a before and after story that involves me and my older sister. These stories were told to us by our parents. When my mother was pregnant with my older sister they lived in Houston and had little money so they would go to the zoo for entertainment as it was free. They were wandering around and my father happened to wander really close to the stork aviary. Now my mother was just about ready to burst with my older sister and it really showed. All at once she started jumping up and down yelling at my father to ‘get away from that damn bird’! According to both of them some people were laughing so hard that they had to sit on the ground for fear of falling over. The was in December 1939. I was born in February 1945 and because it was the end of the war there was little extra space in hospitals because of the wounded soldiers so they had dorms with spaces for six women and their babies so it wasn’t very private. One day when my father was visiting my mother looked at him and said in a very loud voice that he was going to have to sell the car. They had a coupe. He fell for it and asked her why and her answer was because ‘you screwed yourself out of a seat’! The room was full of other women with their husbands and babies and my father said that not a person had a dry eye after they stopped laughing. My mother was a very proper person but had a very mischievous sense of humor.

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