Monday, June 15, 2009

Jazz Hands!

Alright, alright. ALRIGHT, already! *smiles*

So, my sister wanted me to tell y’all about one part of my labor experience that cracked us all up. Now, remember, I spent a good 16 hours of my labor in the hospital before the baby was finally delivered. As a result, there was a lot of “fill-time,” where there’s all sorts of blah stuff that went on that’s just not worth mentioning. I had thought that this had been one of those “blah” things, but my sister begs to differ. So, for her sake I shall attempt to explain.

I had been shaking uncontrollably for the entire 16 hours.

It wasn’t a mild shaking that might come with the shivers or even a chill. No, we’re talking an entire-body shuddering experience that just didn’t stop. Ok, so there were times when it would calm down a bit, but then it would intensify within minutes as another contraction would approach.

When I was pregnant I had attempted to read as much as I could on what to expect when going into labor. And I had read about how some women would start to shake, and how it would usually signal that they had started going into the “transition phase” of labor, meaning just before you give birth to the baby. So why I had started shaking from the very beginning, I have no clue. I think maybe it was my body’s way of coping with the pain of it all.

Anyway, so imagine me in a hospital gown on a hospital bed with wires and tubes wrapped all over me (I.V., epidural catheter, baby monitors, etc.). I was MASSIVE. (The fact that I lost 50 pounds after I gave birth to my boy tells me that I must’ve been carrying at least 25 pounds of water weight alone!) Bloated, trapped, and miserable, I had been doing what I could to keep in good spirits. After all, this is what everyone had been waiting for! I was about to give birth to my first baby—my parents’ 10th grandchild—and everyone had turned out for the occasion.

And then another contraction gripped me. I raised my hands up in a manner that would bring to mind a welcoming gesture, although that pain had certainly not been welcome. But I couldn’t help it. I just reacted without thinking, and when I felt that contraction grip me I started breathing the way I’d been taught to breathe and started reaching my hands out while grimacing past the pain. Finally when the pain started to ebb, I came back to myself and realized what I was doing.

I looked down at my violently shaking hands and proclaimed to my sisters, “JAZZ HANDS!”

It was true! It was like I’d been sitting there performing to my audience, but the only move I knew was “jazz hands.”

(Watch this brief commercial to see Just what I mean about “Jazz Hands!”)


Again, we had a good chuckle. That’s when the nurse said, “If she’s still got her sense of humor then she’ll be fine.” And I was fine, all through my extended stay at the hospital.


  1. Sigh. I wish you'd said 'spirit fingers,' but I will take Jazz Hands as an appropriate substitute. :) It's moments like these you need to write down, so I'm glad you did! Hilar.

  2. YES!! Thank you for posting about that! It was hilarious and I'll never forget it! And that video had me cracking up. Love you!

  3. OMG I would have busted out laughing and you probably would have drop kicked me because laughing at a woman in labor is like flashing a red cape at a raging bull.

  4. Snotty, I admit that I was tempted to put a link in to Wikipedia's explanation of Jazz Hands (which mentions "spirit fingers").

    Terri, I am so glad you reminded me of that story. I would've totally forgotten I even said that!

    Kim, I would've most likely grown even more fond of you as a result. :) Just ask my sisters.

  5. I am so glad that Bob Fosse came back from the grave to choreograph your birth. See how special your boy is?

  6. I'm not ashamed to admit that I just had to Google Bob Fosse. :|

    ...and by doing so I disovered that he developed a type of jazz dance that was noted for its "cynical sexuality." SPOT ON.

  7. YEAH! <---said in that breathy way that performers use when they perform jazz hands. ;)