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Yes, I Delivered a Baby! Another Thing to Add to the Resume!





A long time ago, I moved back to New York after living in San Francisco for a year and a half. I quit my job because the company declared Chapter 13 and, at the same time, my mother was diagnosed as terminally ill. I needed somewhere to toss my belongings while I took care of my mother. An acquaintance, Cajun, offered a newly renovated apartment in one of his apartment buildings in Queens. Since this was a spur of the moment decision, I took him up on his kind offer which meant an exorbitant rent for all of 450 sq ft.

In a matter of days, the shipping company delivered my furniture from a 2,000 sq ft home which they crammed into that tiny apartment. No mean feat! After a few months, I bumped into some of my neighbors and discovered, to my delight, we met before. As it turns out, Cajun appropriated vacant apartments in that building for friends who direly needed someplace to live due to divorce, break-ups, dispossessions, relocation and numerous other reasons to account for their homelessness.

I called the building, "Cajun's Home for Wayward Boys and Girls." The gang in there dubbed the place, "Tarantula Arms," referring to Cajun's vise-like grip on our lives. He ruled our lives with a heavy fist as the building was close to toppling. We never knew when pipes would burst, mice would run rampant and the building would lose heat. Only through our whining and pleading would he prompt our superintendent, another lost soul, to make a quick repair. Which usually fell apart in hours.

Despite the horrible on-going events in my life, I enjoyed living in Tarantula Arms for two and a half years. The dinner parties, brunches and, in general, get-togethers were a lot of fun even though we had to invite Cajun. He was a real buzz-kill who dominated several parties as Lord and Master of our domicile.

Moving along, there was a tenant in the building, a beautiful, elegant, tall woman with the strangest eyes. They were so gray/green, they looked surreal. She had a classic Russian look with razor-sharp high cheekbones and white hair that framed her face.

"Who is she?" I asked when she mounted the rickety stairway in the latest designer clothes.

"We don't know," answered one of the gang. "But we believe she's a hooker. Older men come and go and they pick her up by limousine."

She was the enigma in the building. All of us were fascinated by her beauty, her air of diffidence, and those damn limousines parked in front of our building.

Then, one of the gang, Chicory, wiggled in earnest. "I invited Natasha to brunch."

"Who the hell is Natasha?" I inquired.

"The hooker."

When she arrived for brunch, the gang pummeled her with questions: What do you do for a living? Where are you from? Where do you buy your clothes?

Strangely, her responses, in a mellifluous voice, fluent in English with a thick Russian accent left us deflated. It turns out she worked as a cashier in a local restaurant. And she bought those clothes from sample sales.

"Well, now we know she isn't a hooker," I said to a crest-fallen Chicory. Her enthusiasm waxed with that knowledge. A cashier in a restaurant just didn't make the cut.

Natasha and I became friendly, like neighborly acquaintances. In candor, she was rather a gloomy person although her life story's fascinating. Another time, dear Reader, another time. At any rate, one of the older gentlemen who came to visit was the restaurant owner and quite wealthy. He knocked her up the first time he slept with her. He didn't want the child, but she did. Unbelievably, she continued to work at the restaurant during her pregnancy under his supervision. It got rather dramatic and messy those months.

This point in history, I purchased an apartment in a building around the corner and spent my time occupied with renovations. Cajun took my move as a capital offense and cut me off from our friendship and access to my former gang in Tarantula Arms. I had to meet them on the fly outside the building. Months later, around eight at night, I received a phone call from Natasha, nine months' pregnant.

{Imagine a thick Russian accent} "I don't know what is going on, but something came out of my body."

I groaned. "What is it?"

"I don't know. It's a membrane."

"A membrane? What the hell? Why are you calling me? I never had a kid!" I thought back to those classes in high school. "Did your water break yet?"

"No. But I've cramps. Bad cramps. I don't know what to do."

"How about calling your doctor or going to the hospital?"

"I spoke to him. I'm not ready to give birth. They won't let me go to the hospital if I don't break my water."

"Natasha, I can't help you. I'm not around the corner. I'm up at the summer house and too far away to help you now. Call Chicory. Call the other people in the building. "

Moments later, she called in a frenzy. "No one's home! Please please come here. I don't feel well."

I groaned once more. "Go to the hospital."

"I can't. Please come here and take me to the hospital."

"What the fuck? It takes me an hour to close down the place and put the boat away. And it'll take me two hours to drive there."

"I'll wait for you. COME HERE!"

Knowing she was all alone without family or friends, I relented. Like a lunatic, I locked up the summer house and put the boat away. I grabbed my stuff and jumped into the car. While driving towards Queens, Natasha must've phoned me around a dozen times.

"Is anyone in the building?" I asked, trying not to smash the car up.

"No one is here. Please COME HERE!"

"I'm en route."

By the time I made it to Tarantula Arms, I was in a frenzy as well. What do I know about pregnancies and childbirth? I spent my entire life AVOIDING pregnancies and childbirth! Of course, there were no vacant parking spots, so I left the car running in front of the building double parked. She buzzed me in and I ran up the four flights of rickety steps where her front door was left ajar.

"Natasha? Are you okay?"

"HELP ME!"

With trepidation, I entered her apartment, walking down the corridor into the living room. There she was, standing in the center of the room butt naked. Let me tell you something - you ain't seen nothing until you see a nine-month pregnant woman naked. That was a first for me.

"Why aren't you dressed?"

"I'm in too much pain!"

"Natasha, you can't leave the building without clothes!"

I ran into her bedroom and pulled out a pair of slacks and a shirt. Then, I went back to the living room where she paced back and forth. "Here, put these on!"

"I can't! I hurt too much!" Then she ran out of the living room into the kitchen, with me following, her clothes in my hands. The moment I got near her, she bolted back into the living room, me in tow. I never knew a woman that pregnant could run that fast.

After chasing her around the apartment for quite a few minutes, exasperated, I yelled, "I can't take any more of this!" and picked up the phone and dialed Chicory.

She answered on the first ring. "Thank GOD you're home! Listen, can you come up to Natasha's? I have to bring her to the hospital, but she's naked and won't stop running around the apartment."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Get her dressed!"

In moments, Chicory entered the apartment. I tossed Natasha's clothes at her and said, "Listen, I left the car running in the middle of the street. Let me go down and move it."

I fled out of the apartment, down four flights of stairs, out the building to my car. And realized I left the keys inside the locked car.

"SHIT!" I shrieked. I ran around the corner to where I lived and buzzed the super. "Can you let me in the building? I locked my keys in my car and need the spare set."

In moments, I took the keys from the super who stared at me. "You look frazzled. What's going on?"

"Got to take a pregnant lady to the hospital."

"Oh-kay." The super knew better than to question me. In the few months living there, I already made a name for myself.

Instead of taking the elevator, I ran up four flights to my apartment, grabbed the additional set of car keys and then sped down four flights, bursting out from the Lobby to return to my idling car. Luckily, Chicory and Natasha were already outside on the sidewalk walking slowly towards me.

Chicory volunteered, "Sorry to take so long. She broke her water after she got dressed. So she had to change again."

 After they buckled up, I said, "This is good news. Which hospital are you going to?"

"Mount Sinai."

I sighed. The hospital was in Manhattan. Luckily, it was 11 o'clock at night and an ordinary half hour to two hour drive in traffic turned into a mere ten minutes. I dropped them off at the front of the hospital and scouted for a parking spot. Half an hour later, I walked into the hospital to see the two of them seated in the waiting room, gloomy and depressed.

"What's going on here?" I asked.

Natasha moaned. "I'm not dilated enough. I have to come back."

I turned to the nurse behind the reception desk and leaned over the counter. "I just drove like a maniac for two hours. It took us only ten minutes from Queens to get here because it's late at night. If you want us to return, more than likely we'll hit traffic and she'll give birth in the backseat of my car."

I must've had a crazed and desperate gaze because the nurse relented. "It's against hospital policy, but we'll put her in a room and check up on her in a few hours."

"Thank you."

Chicory and I followed Natasha and the nurse into a private room with a birthing bed and one broken chair. After Natasha changed into the gown and the nurse examined her, Chicory turned to me. "Where did you park?"

"On Ninetieth Street, two avenues over. Why?"

"Give me your car keys. I need to sleep. Phone me and I'll pick you up later. We'll change shifts."

I settled in on the broken chair. Every time I nodded out, Natasha moaned and screamed, "Talk to me!"

"What about?"

"Anything."

"How about how much I need to sleep."

Around one am, the nurse entered and measured Natasha's dilation. "You're almost there. Would you like an epidural?"

Natasha shook her head. "No. I want this to be a natural birth."

The nurse tsked. "Listen, it's painful. If you don't get it now, you can't get it later. Once again, do you want an epidural?"

Natasha shook her head again. "No."

The nurse rolled her eyes. "We'll check in on you later. This may take all night."

I pulled out my cellphone and was about to dial Chicory's number.

"What're you doing?"

"I'm tired, Natasha. I drove two hours and it's late at night. This is gonna take hours. I want to switch with Chicory."

"No, PLEASE STAY!"

Staring into those gray-green eyes, I dialed the number. It rang and rang and rang. "Shit, she must be sleeping!"

"Good!"

Two hours later, I mildly dozed in a near foetal position on a broken metal chair while Natasha moaned and complained about her pain. Then, she yelled, "I think it's coming!"

I jumped up and ran out of her room in search of a nurse. No one in sight. I ran to the reception desk, but it was abandoned. I ran up and down the corridors. Not a soul!

When I re-entered the room, Natasha's feet were already in the stirrups. She hunched forward. "I feel it coming! I can't believe this pain!"

"You should've taken that epidural when you had the chance," I remonstrated.

"SHUT UP!" she yelled.

With one hand, I supported her back and the other I lifted her left leg while bending over to peer at her crotch. I relayed the only information I knew from countless movies and television. "Push," I shouted.

"What do you mean by push?" she shouted back.

"PUSH! Like you're going to take a shit!"

Again I looked into her crotch and saw a bloody looking solid thing starting to bulge outwards. "Oh my GOD, I see the crest of the head!" I shrieked. That was something else I remembered from movies which made me wonder about my choice of films. "PUSH!!"

"I DON'T UNDERSTAND PUSH! IT HURTS!!"

"Now you lose your fucking English?" I screamed back. Finally, a nurse entered the room, quickly donned a robe, gloves and mask and handed a set over to me while we exchanged places.

"PUSH!" yelled the nurse.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PUSH?" Natasha said again. "IT HURTS!! GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL!"

"You should've taken that epidural when I offered it," remonstrated the nurse. "It's too late. PUSH!"

Suddenly, a funny look creased Natasha's face. "Ahhhhh. Now I know what you mean by push. I'm embarrassed." The nurse and I exchanged glances.

"Now you know what I'm up against," I said to the nurse.

While I continued to hold Natasha up, I peered into her crotch, watching the head emerge. When she screamed in agony because the shoulders got stuck, I said, "Listen, I don't want you to ever say to me, 'you've seen mine, now I want to see yours!'"

Natasha stopped screaming for a second and said, "Now you tell jokes?"

"It got you to stop screaming, didn't it?"

In moments, the baby was delivered. The nurse hit his feet and he howled, surprisingly like his mother. The nurse turned to me with a scalpel. "Wanna do the honors?"

"Who should I stab? Natasha or myself?" I asked.

"It's to cut the umbilical cord!" The nurse rolled her eyes.

Let me tell you something, the damn thing was slippery. And not that easy to cut. It felt rubbery and took a few tries, but I finally did it.

Then the nurse congratulated us. It dawned on me she thought we were a lesbian couple.

I turned to Natasha, coddling her newborn son to her breast. "It's settled. Put my name on the birth certificate as father."




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