Author of the Queen City Boys books

not tardy


The story of my birth, not shockingly, is on my mind this morning. I wonder often about how much of our personalities we are born with. I was born early, very early, and as it’s always been repeated to me by every woman in my family, this means I was eager to be born and as a consequence of this I am always anxious for the next thing, always ready to move along even before the time is right. (My sister was born a month late and is as pokey about getting ready as the day is long, so who knows. Of course my mom also calls us “The Anarchist” and “The Imperialist” but that’s a story for another day.)

So I was 3 weeks premature. The story goes like this: my parents went to pizza with some friends and then caught a late show of A Clockwork Orange. In the middle of the night after that my mother thought she had terrible heartburn which got bad enough she decided they should go to the hospital. At the hospital the nurses declared my mother to be in labor, very advanced labor. As it was a small town and the early 70s they refused to admit my father into the delivery room. So my parents despite the nurse’s insistence that I was coming at any second, my parents got back into the car and drove 20 minutes or so to next town where they would let my father into the delivery room. I was born less than an hour later, some tellings have minutes after they got to the second hospital. Total labor time for me was just over 3 hours.

I came out quietly, only let a single yell, enough to start me breathing. No screaming, no noisy gasping for breath, just a surprised vocalization when air came in.

I was tiny, like just over 4 pounds, in the days before incubators and good preemie care. The doctor wouldn’t let my mother take me home until I weighed 5 pounds.

Does any of this affect who I am now? Was it predetermined that I would never scream even when I had the chance, even when I should? Am I still rushing headlong into things only to be held up, my own urgency leaving me waiting until the time is right, until I’m big enough, strong enough, ready?

Hesitation before birth. If there is a transmigration of souls then I am not yet on the bottom rung. My life is a hesitation before birth. – Franz Kafka

Author: Ajax Bell

Seattle author. Stops to smell the flowers. Amateur nerd (I wanna go pro but I haven't found anyone to pay me). Humble hippo enthusiast. queer/bi. they/them.

14 thoughts on “not tardy

  1. Happy Birthday, Mama J!

  2. Happy birthday, toots! Taurus like what?

  3. I was six weeks early. I was just under 5 pounds. Heck, I can gain or lose that much in a day, now. Nobody has ever offered any connections between my personality and being premature, though. I think that’s becase the dichotomy of how big I am compared to how tiny I was at birth, so usually they just say “wow.”

  4. I was born early, very early, and as it’s always been repeated to me by every woman in my family, this means I was eager to be born and as a consequence of this I am always anxious for the next thing, always ready to move along even before the time is right.

    I was born late. Like three weeks or so, I think. Which means that I will wait way beyond the point where I should, because I’m not quite ready to leave my comfort zone and venture out into the world.

    Yeah, that’s about right. Clearly we are good for each other. *g*


  5. I was supposed to be born around Sept. 27th (even according to my mom’s calculations), but as you know, I showed up on Nov. 2nd. Hmmm, nuthin’ much has really changed. I am not usually late for anything, but that’s because I do everything on my own schedule, when I am ready and not one minute before. *ponders* I think you may be on to something here.

  6. I was born approximately on time, but a bit late.

    What I do think is entirely fitting is that my mom woke up on a Sunday morning feeling fine and went to church. She was fine for the singing but her water broke when the sermon started, destroying a pew cushion and starting a lifelong battle to find ways out of church early. Once she got to the hospital, I slowed right back down and was born a day and a half later by emergency c-section. It seems that while I was heading the right direction at the beginning of labor, I somehow flipped and was trying to be born ass first.

    I think this suits my personality just about right.

    Happy birthday, my lovely babygirl. I love you and I’m lucky to have had you in my life for so long. I hope that the next year turns out even better than your wildest dreams.

  7. This is a great post.

    My mom always jokes that since I was supposed to be born on April Fool’s Day, I played a prank and made her deliver me one day early.

  8. Are you always early for things? Do you start out small and make things big? 🙂

  9. Clearly we are good for each other.


  10. See? It totally holds up!!

  11. Thank you, sweet girl!! I’m equally lucky to have you!!

    I love that you were getting out of church from the very beginning.

  12. HA! And you’re still a joker, or smoker, or a midnight toker. G0d, I can’t believe I just said that.

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