Thursday, March 18, 2021

Uncertain Beginning, A Memoir, Post #151

 Photo Courtesy of

JM Snyder Books is moving quickly on the Strobaw Family series novels. They published the last book in the series Wastelakapi… Beloved, and have already republished Cut Hand. River Otter will be coming out soon, probably sometime this month or next. Echoes of the Flute is already in the works (I approved the cover a couple of days ago). Then, there remains only Medicine Hair. Thanks, JM.

Also my thanks to Don Travis for his guest blog last week. Alas, this week, I’m all on my own. In a reflective mood, I reached back into my history for something to talk about and came up with the story of my birth. Hope you enjoy it.

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A Memoir

In his heart, he knew it was a stillbirth.

The bright October sun streamed through the tall windows of a second-story apartment, sharpening the smell of blood and sweat and afterbirth in the little bedroom. The physician hoisted a newborn by its ankles to deliver a series of slaps to the tiny rump. Nothing. No reaction.

Although the baby was small—only five pounds—the delivery had been difficult, complicated by the mother's severe toxemia. The small-town family doctor delivered another loud smack. Harder this time. Still no response. He laid the still form on the bed and swabbed its mouth with gloved fingers. No obstruction there.

As the clock ticked away precious seconds, he motioned the midwife assistant forward, and together they frantically labored over the inert child. Nothing worked. After placing his stethoscope to the still chest one final time, the medic glanced at the exhausted mother lying on the bed. Her pretty features sagged from illness and exhaustion.

Judging her more or less out of it, he swiped his damp brow with a forearm and turned to the anxious father perched on a windowsill at the far side of the room.

“I’m sorry, but it’s not unexpected given your wife’s condition. She’s the one we have to worry about now.”

The father stood and pressed thumbs into the corners of his eyes. His shoulders slumped. “Was it a boy?”

“Yes. You have to be strong now… for your wife’s sake.” The doctor sighed from weariness and sorrow. “I know you were hoping your son would grow up to be a first baseman, but—”


They whirled at the sound of an angry wail and saw the midwife holding the baby. As they watched in astonishment, she calmly removed her finger from its little rectum and handed the squalling child to the doctor.


          I'd heard that story all my life but didn't really accept it as anything other than family legend—until I met Mrs. Ward four decades later. She had been the midwife in that little Oklahoma drama. She sat in the easy chair in her son’s living room and recited the story with a cherubic smile on her pleasant face. She finished with, “It’s true Every word of it. We were so worried over your mother. She wasn’t in good health at all.” She beamed at me.  “And I see you grew up to survive whatever life chose to throw at you.”

My father did not get the first baseman he wanted from that child. What he got, instead... was me. My mother recovered from her illness and lived to bear a daughter and twin sons. She passed away peacefully twelve days shy of her ninety-seventh birthday. My father preceded her in death by some 30 years.

I have speculated many times over the course of my life on the psychological implications of drawing my first breath in that manner. You see, I’m often accused of being anal-retentive.

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What more is there to say? Now you know all of my intimate details. However, I challenge you to come up with the story of your own birth.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog:



Twitter: @markwildyr

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next time.



 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

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