The Lass Is Always Greener


While some people spend St. Patrick’s Day clad in green, doused in Guinness, and channeling Riverdance, twenty years ago today I was dilating 10cm pushing the reluctant youngest of my three daughters into this crazy world.

From that moment on, she became an Irish girl. It hardly mattered that we came from hearty Norwegian and English stock, because when her head crowned at the onset of the beloved Saint Paddy’s parade, we were immediately hurled into a foreign land of green food coloring, shamrocks, leprechauns, and drunks hell-bent on hurling corn beef chunks.

Just two short decades ago, there I was in a Seattle delivery room. Far different from my previous birthing experience in Norway, I lay there in relative comfort trying to breath through each painful contraction as a nurse uttered the words I’d longed to hear…“the anesthesiologist is on his way.”

Now if you’ve never imagined cramming a watermelon through a garden hose I can understand how those words might elicit a strong fight or flight response, especially if you catch a glimpse of that spear they plan to lodge into your spinal column. But at that point you don’t care if it’s an Olympic javelin as long as it offers relief.

For the record, I was one of those women who took the task of “eating for two” VERY seriously. With every pregnancy I gained fifty pounds, which seemed a little excessive but I wanted to make sure the kids were exposed to all of the nutritional groups in the food pyramid. The fact that my meal portions could have fed the entire work force constructing the ancient Egyptian monoliths prompted my doctor’s order to, “Stop hopping the gravy train and lose the caboose.”

The next thing I knew the anesthesiologist arrived, dressed in green scrubs and a facemask. He picked up my chart and flipped through a page or two.

“Turn her on her side, please.” The doctor ordered.

It took two nurses five minutes to rock my whale butt and blubber thighs to the specified position. And all the time I kept thinking of Edward Lorenz and his theory that if a butterfly flaps his wings in South America it can affect the weather patterns in Central Park. I was scared that what had just transpired on that gurney might have caused some major shifts in the San Andreas Fault… and I wanted to be on my feet and speed waddling if the earth rumbled.

It was at this point that my legs took off in an uncontrollable exorcist-like Irish jig. No doubt I should have been embarrassed…with an open hospital gown exposing my fluttering fanny to the doctor and other passersby, but I was WAY beyond that.

Even in my hazy state I recognized his voice. It was like going back to my childhood. Oh shit, that’s exactly what it was…and suddenly it came to me. His nickname from grade school shot out of my mouth before I had a chance to pull back.


The room went silent. It became instantly obvious that it was not a moniker that triggered fond memories for him as he glared, and shot back…

“Yes, Annie. It’s me, “Tubba-Fuh,” the one now holding this 5-inch syringe.”

With that I careened into a state of half conscious shock, and twenty years ago today…a beautiful little lass came to be. We both love all things Irish…potatoes, Bailey’s crème, Notre Dame, the Blarney Stone…and as proof that in utero trauma has lasting effects, she shares my acute fear of needles.

So tonight to celebrate the glorious event, I invited her over for a traditional Irish seven-course meal….a six pack and a loaf of bread.



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  1. Love it! My grandson is a St. Patty’s Day baby too!

    • Hi Debra, thanks so much for the follow. Hope your grandson Nicholas had a nice birthday. They are two lucky kids!

  2. Loved it! Ah, the luck of the Irish! Happy St. Patty’s to you!

    • Thanks Astra…yes, there is a lot of magic that goes along with that day. A belated happy St. Paddy’s day to you too!

  3. Top o’ the morning to both you lasses! As you know, everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s day!

  4. So true, Heather! It’s a wonderful day to be Irish.

  5. Just that image of passing a watermelon through a garden hose is enough for me to keep my IUD in, thank you but no thank you very much. Enlightening post as usual! xo

    • Hey Dani,
      Okay, maybe that was a little graphic but you have to admit it’s a visual not to be wasted. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a funny comment. Always fun to hear your take.

  6. Happy 20th Birthday to your youngest daughter. And thank you once again for providing such an excellent read! I laughed the whole way through.

    PS: I can relate because I also took eating for 2 very seriously. I gained 85 pounds during my one & only pregnancy.

    • Thanks, Meleah. Yes, I got the whole report from the birthday girl this morning. She survived another St. Paddy’s day celebration. You are a small person…can’t believe you hit the 85lb. mark. Got to admit, it was a good time while it lasted. Toward the end though I had a vat of ice cream permanently resting on my big belly and I was shoveling it in as fast as I could. (Maybe I should stop there…I’m sort of grossing myself out.)

  7. My kids were born 12 days and 3 years apart. I guess since that’s in early September, you know what I did to celebrate New Years Eve. I love that your youngest daughter is Irish by virtue of St Paddy’s Day. My children’s last name is O’Malley. I haven’t heard from them since Friday, so I hope they aren’t still at the pub.

  8. Linda, well, why not bring the New Year in with a bambino or two! And a few O’Malley’s to boot! I did get a full report from my birthday gal. She was struggling into the day (but alive) and said it was a blast. Hope you have found your clan. If this keeps up I may have to put one of those microchips in my daughter so that I can find her on that blessed Saints day. (kidding…I think.)

  9. Wow, what a story! I recall reading your other birth story and I’m not sure which is more funny, or embarrassing. Certainly stories to share with the grand kids one day. 😉

  10. I just realized how much I love birth stories. Let’s face it, if you love communicating and hearing the truth, this comes very close… I’ll never forget the story of your first child, it is tucked into my horrified subconscious forever. The nickname thing was absolutely hilarious. A neighbours kid was born on St. Patrick’s Day and so they called him Patrick – just thought I’d tell you. Now I want to know the gory details of the birth of child no. 2, with the promise that I will share my own stories sometime. Thanks for sharing girlfriend!

    • Hi Elizabeth, my daughter did skip being named Patrick, but she narrowly missed Erin. No gore to tell about child no. 2’s birth. Still in Norway, but I might have been a little wiser. I always think it’s fun to hear birth stories…unless I was pregnant.

  11. Annie, what a great St. Patrick’s Day story. Although my son was born in February, St. Patrick’s Day was the first day that dawned on my sleeping completely through the night. Guess details about our babies never leave us.

  12. Wonderful! I have quite recovered from your last story. I do like this about your writing, the honest, humor, and not to mention the beautiful writing. Happy belated birthday to your girl. I hope it was a fun might.

  13. Thanks so much, Brenda. I appreciate your nice words on my writing, especially from someone so talented!

  14. I am lying on my daughter’s bed reading this blog and laughed out loud at Tubba-Fuh. Earning me extra minutes on the cold floor since it awakened her again! Worth the laugh! It was like I was in the room!

  15. Annie, you never fail to disappoint. Your unique outlook, great stories, use of language…I love them all.

    Thanks for another great one.

  16. Annie, you’ve done it again and what a winner this post is! I love it! You had me chuckling throughout the entire thing! I even read it to the Significant Other who laughed out loud during the part where the nurses are turning you on your side! Oh my goodness, you are a hoot! Happy belated birthday to your daughter! Twenty years old. Brace yourself, lady! hee hee! :)

    • Bella, so good to hear from you. Thanks for reading the post to the Significant Other. When I read it to my partner he crossed his legs when I mentioned the garden hose and watermelon.

  17. OMG I too was popping out a baby 20 years ago. 😀

    Sadly…I did nothing for St. Pattys…not even a green beer! Can you believe it?

    • Of course I remember that, Nate! Who could forget the way you exercising your vocal chords in the delivery room? Of course triplets will do that to you! Sorry you did not drink a green beer in honor of the triplets but they probably drank your share.

      Okay…on a rather serious note, if anyone has not seen Nate’s video of being the 19-year old German model named Unki who was fired for losing his hair, go to Nate’s Shenked site and scroll down to Unkit Got Fired. He just may be the next Sasha Baron Cohen. I would like to see more videos, Nate! Then, scroll back up and read some of his posts. The guy is truly hilarious, but also wise. I’m a big fan.

  18. We had something similar. My daughter was born on Valentine’s Day ten years ago and it’s been that long since I celebrated that holiday.

    I gotta ask, when you saw him could you think of his real name? And what does the nick name mean?

  19. Hi Jen, I can understand how your Valentine’s Day took a hit. Hard to have an intimate moment when there are ten or so screaming girls running through your house on a birthday cake sugar high. I sympathize with you!

    Actually, when the anesthesiologist opened his mouth it was like I was transported back to grade school. He had a rather distinct voice back then and through the years it has remained consistent. Tubba Fuh was rather studious and a few of the kids condensed his name and thought it was funny. I never knew what it meant as he was a few years older and I never really knew him…which makes it even worse to instantly cough it up twenty years later. Thanks so much for visiting, Jen!

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