The wonderful whoops, or Phillip Douglas took forever, or My birth story

March 24, 2015


There’s a section in Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! (superfluous praise here), where she recounts the day she was born. Her parents even make an
appearance to narrate their respective recollections in the audiobook. It’s adorable.Anyway, Amy, my new best friend, encourages people to ask their parents about the day they were born. If you think about it, it’s astounding how many people don’t know their story. My Dad didn’t know his. So, even though I’d heard parts of it before – specifically how they had a great 10th anniversary
celebration and nine months later an unplanned blessing ­­– I asked Rog and
Marilyn to crack open the vault and share the story of the day I came into the

How Mom remembers it …

“I woke up in the middle of the night and felt a little crampy. Instead of staying in bed, I went downstairs to
watch television. There was a stupid movie on called Islands in the Stream. It was about Papa Hemingway … so boring. At
around five in the morning, I heard this gurgling sound and realized that my water was about to break. I called for your Dad, as I figured I would probably have you right there. Your sister came so quickly. We went to the hospital where I had many hours of labor, during which we were trying to pick out boy names since I was sure you were a boy. I believe we settled on Phillip Douglas.  After hours (yes hours with no medication) of labor they finally
decided that they needed to do something to make things happen. I was reluctant, but your Dad told them to go ahead bring in the pit drip. Really? (Sure, it wasn’t him having the labor.) It looked like a foot-long needle that they inserted in the side of my wrist but within a minute all heck broke loose. With constant contractions, I was in delivery within 45 minutes.  I was not aware, but it seemed your heart rate had dropped, so they were anxious to get you delivered. Bing, bang, boom, there you were in all your glory! My beautiful Courtney.”

So, to recap:
I always thought the whole Islands in the Stream thing was why I have an affinity for Dolly and Kenny. Turns out, maybe it’s why I’m a writer.
“Your sister came so quickly” = Kirsten’s is perfect.
Phillip Douglas sounds like someone who signed the Declaration of Independence. Actually … is that someone who signed the Declaration of Independence?“a foot-long needle inserted in the side of my wrist” = thank you, Mom, for my horrendous fear of needles.

“Really? (Sure, it wasn’t him having the labor.)” = homegirl still isn’t over

How Dad remembers it …
“I woke up early that morning.  I found your mother in the family room watching Islands in the Stream about Hemmingway. Her
water had broken, and she felt anxious about getting to the hospital. You were the third baby, and you were the first that they didn’t have to break her water. We thought that we were in for a quick delivery. Hours went by with no progress. Finally at about 4 pm or so, the nurse suggested a Pit drip to get things in gear.  They were concerned that we were coming up on 12 hours after the water had broken and the risk of infection. Of course,
being the brave one in the family, I said yes. Once they started the drip, things went very quickly. Your mother was in pain almost continuously, but she had no anesthetic. You were born at 5:15 or 5:30. You cried right away. You were pretty and pink with all of your fingers and toes. We were beaming with happiness! You and your mom only spent about a day in the hospital and went home. You were the biggest of the babies at 9 pound 2 ounces.  Cute as a bug’s ear and still are!”
A few final thoughts:
Does anyone else find it disturbing that these people barely remember that my heart rate dropped – clearly a near-death experience – during delivery, or the exact time of my birth for that matter, but Islands in the frickin Stream stands out clear as crystal?“You were the third baby, and you were the first that they didn’t have to break her water.” = Why can’t you be more like your brother and sister?

“Of course, being the brave one in the family” = I get my ability to bullshit
from my father.

… The rest is actually pretty sweet. Thanks for having me, Mom and Dad! Best decision you two crazy kids ever made.

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  • Reply Nissa Otero March 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    This is hilarious! Now I feel like I need to watch Islands in the Stream.

  • Reply Libby March 27, 2015 at 1:18 am

    serious lol at your mom's description of the needle!! and love the pics!

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