When Benny was born, my labor and delivery went very well, but I did a few goofy things.
I was induced on Jan. 29. The next morning, after a few hours of strong contractions, they put me on morphine, which made me feel itchy all over.
"How do addicts do this?" I asked the nurse. "I could never be a morphine addict, the itching would drive me nuts. Maybe I could get addicted to something else. Does cocaine make you itchy? What about heroin?"
I just went on and on, naming everything from angel dust to cocoa beans. The nurse just stared, she didn't know what to say.
Then a hospital staff member entered and asked me to be part of an epidural study. I was given a paper slide rule with a smiley face on one end and a frowny face on the other. I was told to position the gauge to reflect how much pain I felt.
The first thing I did was push the gauge next to the frowny face. Then I said I didn't want to be part of the study.
After the staffer left, I told my husband, "Gee, that guy must have been really disappointed." Ron rolled his eyes. "That was a woman, honey," he said.
Then I started calling the nurse by my husband's name. ("You're a really big help, Ron.") When I saw it irritated my husband, I did it some more.
After Ben was born, I tried to distract myself during recovery by babbling about my journalism career and the job I used to have in California. I talked about the newspaper's circulation, editorial stance, the subjects covered, major stories I edited. I even tried to name all 45 newspapers owned by its parent chain. Ron just patted my hand, gave me updates on our son, and corrected me whenever I made a mistake. ("Honey, they don't own the Chicago paper. That's Crain's.)
The doctors must have thought I was nuts.