by Nancilynn Saylor
My first child was born on the last day of June in 1968. If not for my excitement, he may not have arrived until well into July. I remembered my paternal Aunts and my Mother and Granny telling stories about childbearing, hearing “Castor oil would coax a reluctant baby from the womb.”
It was hot that summer, in Abilene, Texas. Actually saying it was hot does grave injustice to the weather that June. Temperatures were in excess of 100 for weeks on end. Hot and dry just as I was in the full bloom of my pregnancy. Many things gnawed at my sanity as I lumbered up and down the sidewalks stained with droppings from the canopy of Mulberry trees. I could not get cool or comfortable; for distraction I was reading Rosemary’s baby.
I purchased Castor oil; if there were instructions given in the conversation overheard long years before, I’d forgotten them. Mixed half and half with Welch’s grape juice, I swallowed it. I busied myself in the baby’s room waiting for”the potion” to do its magic. Awakening the next morning with no baby, I immediately drank the other half.
Another hot day of walking miles down the purple stained sidewalks. My feet were swollen beyond description, and my neighbor’s everyday lunch of liver and onions had landed unpleasantly on my last nerve. The frown on my face was getting comfortable there when at last-a cramp (or maybe not a cramp followed by what I knew then had to be, contractions. “Glory be!” There really was going to be a baby!
Dusk dimmed the long summer afternoon. I walked. About midnight, I woke the lucky father; we got word it was “time.” I thought 10 minutes apart meant imminent birth.Alas, this was not the end but the beginning. The excitement I felt when I arrived melted as the minutes slowly passed followed by hours that passed as slowly. I have a sense that the frown came back and stayed throughout the day.
They discovered the baby was breach; they flipped him and he flipped back…multiple times. I remember losing my charm with the nurse when she reported the Dad was asleep in the waiting room. I meanwhile was groaning and imagining I had slipped into Rosemary’s Baby as a secondary story-line.
After 12 hours the Dr. decided to break my water to “hurry things along.” The air-conditioner in the hospital also decided to break;it was 118 degrees outside. The day was melting slowly; in early evening they announced it was time. I let everyone within earshot know it had been time long before that!
One last flip of the boy-who-wanted-to-be-breach and he was here! Many years later he told me he was not ready to face this world.He really loved the heat of summer; his favorite time of year.
He arrived here on a smoldering hot day in June. Oddly, he left the world on almost the same kind of day, 36 Junes later.
Nancilynn resides in Austin,Texas with her Romeo and two needy dogs! After taking Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a gift to her after the death of her oldest child, she joined Story Circle. She writes in E Circles 4, 5 and 6.