Happy Birthday Dear Vinnie!

Vinnie + la plus grande courtisane c. 1973

Gaby, la courtisane à l'origine, with grandson Ian Vincent c. 1972

40 years ago today I wasn’t up to much, washing the kitchen floor or something, when I realized I was going into labour.  This wasn’t unexpected, I was at term, at least 9 months gone.  I called my OB, then called Dave who came home on his lunch break and drove me to the small private hospital in Redwood City where Dr. Ziegler practiced his craft.  The pains were getting closer together.

I was admitted and put in a private room and checked on every so often for about an hour, and the pains started coming thick and fast. Still no sign of the anesthesiologist or the doctor but I wasn’t worried,  IBM was picking up the tab for this and we were assured the best of care.

Now the pains began to feel as though they were seconds apart and lasting way too long.  A tall red-headed nurse bent over me and asked if I knew anything about Lamaze.  Nope.  Instructions started coming in Anne’s soft Irish brogue.  I breathed when told to, pushed when told to, breathed some more and pretty soon the little imp was crowning.  It was like getting a car out of a snowbank, as I later described it to daughter Anna – rocking back and forth and back till it bursts free and speeds on its way.  After a couple of bashes at my inner hips, the imp made it through and as he was escaping, I felt a terrible sorrow and loss at being parted from him, but lose him I must and Ian Vincent Russell Dow was now in the big world.

The anesthesiologist turned up in her green and white golf dress and began giving me oxygen.  The doctor showed up and looked for the placenta which the Irish midwife had already taken care of. They both sent IBM a huge bill.  I felt great, ready to plow a field like the sturdy peasant women of old.

– Janie

Self(ish) Portrait: On the Loken Trail with Kathleen & Lily, Christmas '08

Self(ish) Portrait: On the Loken Trail with Kathleen & Lily, Christmas '08

8 Comments on “Happy Birthday Dear Vinnie!”

  1. lily says:

    vinnie happy birthday!
    hope you have a great day and best wishes for a great 40! it’s the new 20 or something like that. i’m gonna call you! lots of love LL

  2. Sister Anna says:

    Joyeux Anniversaire, baby brother! And many happy returns of the day …

    The Filbert young’uns send their unca’ Vinnie hugs & kisses.

    Lots of love to you! XXXOOO

  3. lily says:

    i like the spinning wheel halo you have. cool.

  4. gardencourt says:

    hey vin! many happy returns of the day!
    when you coming back?
    kate and i are in the habit of deferring decisions re gardencourt with the litany ‘when vinnie gets here…’ ‘when vinnie gets here..’ don’t be a noshow like godot!

    anna x

  5. Campbell says:

    vinnie- all of YUL misses you. hurry home and all the best

  6. Vinnie viddie viccie !!!!

  7. gardencourt says:

    Shucks this is real nice. I went by my birthday so fast I couldn’t even read the station name. Eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel. I sure long to be back chez Gardencourt. And one mile, one step at a time, J’arrive. I love you all

  8. gardencourt says:

    Janie, that’s a remarkable telling of my coming about in this world. My heart’s beat was a little more noticeable as I, reader, came to the crux of the McGuffin. And like any good tale, you know what’s going to happen, and yet it’s so surprising when it happens. Hello Kitty! And along came Vinnie. I’d like to think I came without a fuss, preferring action to words. It’s hard not to let thoughts blow into prismic rainbows, when I hear from a first-hand source, of the last moments on earth before there was me. Like everything else: Wonderful, spooky kodachrome. I miss you mummy

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