Birth Announcement
A Short Story by Tim Josephs
Written using the suggestion "Birth"
Originally featured on 10-29-2007
As part of our series "Journey To A New Word"

Brenda and Todd Henderson of Hartsville were extremely happy to welcome their son Jonathon Lawrence Henderson into the world on October 20th. He was born at 2:37 am at Valley Memorial Hospital and was 23 inches long and weighed in at seven pounds, four ounces. He is Brenda and Todd’s first child together; Todd has five other children from three previous marriages.

Proud grandparents William and Francine Henderson were on hand as well as Brenda’s mother Louise Greene who coincidentally was already at the hospital for gender reassignment surgery. Louis Greene went down to the maternity ward as soon as the attachment was complete.

The delivery wasn’t an easy one and Brenda, a Sunday school teacher and former Miss Tri-County Area 1995 runner-up, was in labor for more than 60 hours. She politely refused all drugs, insisting on a completely natural birth because she wanted “to be fully conscious to be able to experience everything.” After a particularly painful contraction however, she said she had changed her mind and wanted the drugs after all. When asked if she was sure, an uncharacteristically vulgar Brenda yelled, “Shoot me up with everything you got, motherf***er!” A put-out Dr. Swanson later said “A simple ‘yes’ would have sufficed.”

Todd, a bikini inspector [as gathered from his trucker hat] was with Brenda through it all, except when he needed to watch a “very important” car race and the end of an episode of MASH he had never seen before. However his brother Barney, a member of the Beaver Patrol [as gathered from his official t-shirt] was there filming the whole thing and Todd said he would eventually get caught up with everything once Barney had added some music and edited out all the “really gnarly stuff.”

Because of some minor complications, doctors decided a Cesarean would be best. At first Todd flat out refused asking “How can you be thinking about something to eat at a time like this?” When it was explained to him that a Cesarean was in fact a standard procedure and not a type of pizza, he was delighted and was later overheard telling an uncomfortable-looking orderly that “I’m glad things will stay nice and tight down there. I mean, you could crack a walnut, seriously, dude. You don’t believe me? I can show you a video.”

When the baby was finally delivered, his excited father cut the umbilical cord and lifted him up triumphantly. A life-long Harlem Globetrotters fan, he then cued Barney who started humming “Sweet Georgia Brown” while Todd attempted to spin the child on his right forefinger as, he later explained, he had done with all of his previous kids. Fortunately a nurse was there to catch the slippery child and he was taken away to get checked and cleaned.

When the baby, now wrapped in a blue blanket, was given back to his weary mother there was a slight moment of concern when the doctor commented on his dark hair and tan skin. (Both Brenda and Todd are blonde and quite fair). “Well, I’ll be,” a bemused Todd said. “Would you look at that?” A slightly nervous-sounding Brenda attributed this to the terrible lighting in the delivery room. She then quickly added, “Plus, my great great grandmother once dated a guy from Paraguay, so that explains that.”

In addition to several friends and family members, the Hendersons’ landlord, Julio, dropped by with a Teddy bear and large bouquet of flowers. Although the Hendersons have only been a tenant of his for a little over nine months, the birth seemed to be very emotional for him. Standing in front of the viewing area with tears in his eyes, his palms pressed against the glass, he kept saying over and over “mi chico,” which in English of course means “how wonderful.”

The contented couple was able to gaze at their new bundle of joy for a while — “yup, he’s got my eyes,” Todd said — but after a short breast-feeding demonstration, before which Barney quickly changed the camcorder’s battery, they were asked to leave the hospital immediately due to a problem with their insurance. (Todd later explained he had gotten the policy free with the purchase of a cell phone). And after he found the placenta in a medical waste barrel — “you’re supposed to make a stew out of it for good luck” — and some ears he said would make a great necklace, the tired but happy family headed home.

Both mother and baby are doing well. And, going above and beyond his landlord duties, Julio is currently working on the nursery.

Read More By Tim Josephs

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Portland Fiction Project

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