Year of the Dragon

Updated: Jul 19

I was born choking to death.

This is Mom's Side of the Story:

It was a sunny day in Los Angeles, California.

I was waiting in the doctor's office while your dad played at the park across the street with Andrew and Brittany. It took forever. Like 1 hours... [Mom, 1 hours is inappropriate] 2 hours... 3 hours! The doctor had a line of pregnant ladies waiting out his door. After the 3rd hour... He entered the room. "Sorry about that! The baby's breech and we're going to need you to get an x-ray across the street immediately."

As I waddled across the street, your father, never a man of patience jumped in my face and barked: "What’s taking so long?" I explained, "The baby’s breech and they want me to get an x-ray."

I got the x-ray and went back to the doctor’s office. Waiting… Waiting… So bored…. Waiting. I walked to the gift shop and bought those bubble gum baby cigars. I thought Andrew could be “Mr. Big” and give them out”.

Over the intercom, I heard: "“Lucy Douroux, report to radiology immediately. LUCY DOUROUX! Report to radiology immediately!”" I'd only been gone for 10 minutes. The moment I left the gift shop, a team of nurses rushed towards me with a wheelchair. Don’t walk!” They yelled. "You sit down right now!" I had one nurse pushing me, 2 nurses holding each arm, and your dad, brother, and sister chasing after us with a bag of McDonald’s.

I was stressed. Your dad was stressed. We were arguing. The nurse chimed in, “Do you anyone to watch these kids?! You're going to have a baby!"

My dad dropped my brother and sister off at "Aunt Lester’s".

A medical team rushed us to the Operating Room.

My mom's a little dramatic.

She describes my birth like this:

"I felt like cattle in a slaughterhouse. They shaved me, shoved an IV in my arm, and prepared me for the epidural. I looked at the needle and asked the nurse, “Is that the epidural?!” The nurse said, “No! That’s the one that numbs you before the epidural.” The doctor cut me open like fish fillet and threw my intestines to the side. It was so cold. All I remember saying was: “There’s a draft coming in! There's a draft!" It was the coldest air I’d ever felt in my life. I was shocked. It literally brought shock to my body. My teeth were chatting! I was freezing!"

"This baby is the worst kind of breech!” The doctor said. “Back butt, sideways, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck! Oh! & she shit in the womb!” After much pulling, cranking, and maneuvering, the doctor pulled me out and yelled:

“This is a big baby!”

8 lbs 9 oz

“The second you came out, they took you away. In the recovery room, I had uncontrollable shakes. Cold air was trapped inside my body and I was miserable. Freezing. The clock was not moving. The nurses finally came back and asked,

“Do you want to see baby Valerie?

“Who the hell is baby Valerie?!” I yelled.

The nurses looked shock to say: “Your baby.”

“What?!" I couldn't believe it! "I wanted to name you Casey! ABC! Andrew… Brittany… Casey. Where did the name Valerie come from?!”

A K-mart commercial.

That’s where my name comes from. Apparently, there was a baby in a studio getting her portrait taken and the photographer kept saying, “Valerie! Look over here, Valerie!” and that's why my name is Valerie.

There's Brittany trying to touch my soft spot.

My mom and I were in the hospital for 4 days.

On day 3, there was an Earthquake. I got jaundice. They finally agreed to let us go with the instructions: “To be on bed rest and lay baby Valerie in a sunny window until her skin is tan.”

We got home. The house was for sale. Everything was a disaster.

“What the hell is Karl doing here?” My mom asked. Karl is my uncle and dad's older brother. Apparently, Uncle Karl came over “to help”. His idea of “help” was eating all the food my mom prepared. “That mother f*cker was licking his fingers, polishing off the last bite of my casserole!" There were dishes in the sink, piles of dirty laundry, and Brittany who was potty trained had just peed her pants. "I was exhausted and starving to death so I asked your father to get KFC.”

“I popped 2 stitches cleaning that day. Your dad came back with the cheapest bucket of chicken, and half the bones cleaned, so I threw milk in his face." She says nonchalantly. "Remember, I threw milk in your face?” She asks my dad.

“Man! Why'd you ask your mother that question?! You always gotta be causin' problems for your mother and I.”

Speechless, I respond:

I just wanted to know what it was like the day I was born.

My Dad’s Side of the Story:

“Your head wasn’t oblong like the others.”

©Val Douroux 2022