In honor of my 56th birthday, I have decided to post a rather large excerpt from my soon to be finished novel based on my mother’s life story. Even though the passage is surely more than a “teaser,” it is merely a short part of this chapter. It is however the part that covers my birth. Virtually everything my mom ever did came along with an amusing story and as you will see, giving birth to me was no exception. I hope you enjoy it and that you are looking forward to the release of the novel in totality.
Unforgettable (Trudy’s Story)
Copyright 2011 by Donald Philip Massetti
All rights reserved. No part of this book or Blog may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a novel based on the true-life events of Gertrude Wilson- Massetti-Abate.
Aside from immediate family, names have been changed to protect the privacy and the rights of all other individuals.
Wednesday, May 22, 1957
Trudy had been in labor for over eight hours. She was hot, sweaty and exhausted. She was tired of being on her back, tired of having her feet in stirrups and totally fatigued from hours of painful contractions. It was only two weeks earlier, on Mother’s Day, that Trudy was in this very hospital with what turned out to be, false labor. She remembered Dr. Thatcher joking, “I think you just wanted your baby to be born on Mother’s Day!” It was no mistake this time. This was definitely the real thing! This has got to be a boy, she thought to herself. Maureen was so easy compared to the Duke and now this one. She was worried that this baby would be another eleven-pounder and more worried still, because her doctor was away and had an associate on call whom she had never met. Suddenly a long and agonizing contraction came upon her, which caused Trudy to have to cry out. A nurse took a look and told another nurse to run and get Doctor Grant now! The baby was crowning.
In a few moments the nurse returned with a very annoyed doctor who announced as soon as he walked into the delivery room that he was just about to put a little boy under so he could take out his tonsils.
“Great timing misses!” he sarcastically grunted at Trudy.
Trudy was in no mood for a doctor with attitude or anyone else for that matter.
“Gee I’m so sorry doctor, she replied with an intentional caustic tone to her voice. “Imagine my selfishness not choosing a more convenient time for my delivery.”
“Well that poor little boy is now going to have to wait until this afternoon to get his tonsils out thanks to you.”
“You’re blaming me? Do you think I have a choice here? It’s my fault?”
“Well it sure isn’t mine,” he loudly barked.
“I’ll tell you what doc, next time just let me know your schedule and I’ll try keeping my legs crossed as the baby comes. Maybe this way, no other tonsil will ever have to wait! We must have our priorities!” She sneered, mocking her tormentor as she brushed her hair, which she now dyed black, off of her sweaty forehead.
Then all at once she was hit with a pain that was too bad to do anything but cry out… “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
The doctor took a look and saw that the baby’s head was out and the shoulders were about to come next.
A few more pushes, and at last, the baby was out. Donald Philip Massetti was born at exactly 8:05 AM. The doctor tied off and cut the cord. He told the nurse to clean, weigh and measure the baby. He signed a document and left the room before the nurse could call out that the baby boy was eight pounds, four ounces and was twenty-one inches long.
As Trudy held her new son in her arms, nothing else mattered. She didn’t give the jerk of a doctor a second thought. There was something so wonderful about giving birth, she thought. The very moment she got to hold her baby in her arms for the first time, she could no longer see her life any other way.
As usual, Mario was waiting just outside the delivery area for news and Trudy could almost swear that she heard her husband cheer when the nurse brought him the news of baby Donald. He came into the room to see the baby and visit with Trudy. After a while a nurse came in and announced that she had to cut the visiting time short.
“This new mother needs to get some rest after all those hours of labor,” said the smiling nurse.
Mario kissed his wife tenderly and told her that he would be back later that afternoon. Then he stood back and looked at her for a moment.
“What it is? You’re making me self-conscious. Why are you staring at me?” Trudy asked sheepishly.
“It’s nothing,” he answered through a grin. “It’s just that I was right. Since the very first time I saw you walk by the barber shop window, I knew that you would not only change my life, but bring me more joy than I could even dream of.”
Mario went home and made the necessary calls. Although his father was at work he was still able to ring up his sisters, brothers and Trudy’s sister Eunice. There was no reason to call Lily Wilson. The matriarch was in the midst of yet another feud with Trudy. It seemed as though the old woman was always at odds with one or more of her children, wiping them out of her life completely for years at a time. Her latest clash with Trudy began over two years ago and in that time; she had not even so much as answered her daughter’s Christmas cards. She knew damned well that Trudy was pregnant. Eunice had told her on more than one occasion. Yet she had not even once cared enough to see if her daughter was doing well. He knew calling her would be fruitless. Besides, she was certain to hear the news from Eunice anyway.
Saturday morning was the big day. Trudy and the baby were being released from the hospital and Mario packed his wife the tweed suit she requested to wear. As he was leaving the house carrying the suit on a hanger over his back, Mario ran into one of the neighbor women. She laughed at Mario and told him that Trudy will need one of her maternity outfits to come home in.
Mario laughed back. “Not Trudy,” he proudly answered. “She always goes right back into her old clothes.”
He tried to convey to the doubting neighbor that history had shown that Trudy’s body snapped back almost to original, pre-pregnancy form, virtually right after labor. The neighbor just laughed at him and went on to explain , as if he didn’t know, that most women take almost a year to get back into shape. While others, never get their original figure back again. Mario didn’t want to seem rude but his wife and baby were waiting to come home so he had to get moving. He thanked the neighbor for her concern but this outfit would be fine he told her in a reassuring tone.
Trudy was sitting up in her bed with baby Donald in her arms as she patiently waiting for Mario. Her aqua green eyes seemed even more striking framed by her now dark hair. Mario thought that with this hair color Trudy looked like all the best parts of Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner rolled into one. His wife was a head turner there was no denying that, regardless of hair color.
He sat on the bed and held the baby as Trudy slipped into the bathroom to get dressed. In only a few moments she emerged like a screen star.
Smiling her biggest smile, she announced that she was ready to go home. She asked Mario to wait with the baby for just a moment while she walked to the nurses’ station to say goodbye to the gals there.
While she and the ladies were chatting who should walk up to the desk than the ever so “charm challenged” Dr. Grant. He took one look at Trudy and put down the chart he was carrying.
“Well I certainly hope that a beautiful woman like you is here to see a loved one and you’re not in need of any medical attention. But if you are in need of a good doctor,” he flirted, “allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ed Grant…Doctor Ed Grant!”
Trudy looked at him in utter disbelief. The nurses all stopped what they were doing as they pretended to read charts, hoping to overhear the conversation.
Looking directly into his eyes, Trudy replied, “Well I was in need of a good doctor a few days ago, unfortunately there was none to be found. But I’m fine now. In fact, I’m going home.”
“Well I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help you,” said the suave doctor.
“Yes doctor, so am I,” Trudy responded, causing the nurses to snicker. Dr. Grant looked startled when they did.
“You really don’t know who I am do you doctor?”
“I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage leaving me rather ignorant.”
“Ingnorant? Well at last we agree on something,” Trudy was unable to resist saying. “Wednesday doctor, you were quite annoyed with me when you had to postpone a tonsillectomy because I went into labor.”
The doctor was truly shocked. “That was you?”
“I’m afraid that spending half a day in agonizing labor doesn’t leave us gals looking our best. Maybe if you tried to pass an eight-pound bowling ball through your little penis you’d understand better. Don’t they teach you those things in medical school? Or did you miss that class along with the one on bedside manor?”
Just then Mario came walking down the hall towards them holding Donald. To his side was a nurse who was pushing a wheelchair.
“Looks like my ride is here. I hate long goodbyes so I hope you don’t mind if instead, I just tell you to take your greasy, used car salesman charm and buzz off.”
When the nurse and Mario approached the desk the doctor picked his chart back up and walked away without a word.
“Who’s that?” inquired Mario.
“That was nobody,” Trudy replied
Her husband laughed. “Nobody? He can’t be nobody, everybody is somebody,” he joked.
“Darling, trust me. If ever there was a nobody… that was him!”
Then Trudy sat down in the wheelchair with her new son on her lap.
Off they went to the elevator and just as the doors were about to close, a group of three nurses stopped the door.
“Mrs. Massetti,” they said, “we just wanted to say thank you.”
“You’re thanking me? Whatever for?”
“For saying what we’re not able to say to that creep. It was nice to see him with his tail between his legs and we just wanted to thank you.”
“Well dears, we gals have to stick together. Believe me, it was indeed my pleasure,” she replied with a wink.
With that they allowed the elevator doors to close. Mario looked at his wife wondering what they were talking about. Whatever it was that had just gone down, he could tell that Trudy handled it quite well.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Every year since I was 12 years old, on my birthday I uttered the same words to my mother and I shall continue to do so for the rest of my life… Happy Birthday to us!
Hospital photo taken directly after birth
Until next time,