How I Came To Have My Own Birthday

Today would have been my mama’s 75th birthday and it’s our tradition to laugh our guts out each year on her special day. For this year, I wrote the story of my birth, which has my family rolling in the aisles.

We’ll see what y’all have to say about it.


The story of my birth began in a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Virginia during my father’s birthday celebration.

Back in the Sixties, Shakey’s was the ultimate in old-time pizza parlors where you sang along with the bouncing ball or picked a song on the player piano.

It’s a pretty safe bet my mom wasn’t singing along with that bouncing ball. Not only was she well into her tenth month of pregnancy, she had my brother in tow. He was a toddler who bounced enough for everyone already. Plus, she’d had a backache all day long.

When her water broke, she realized that backache was me.

As a mother, the prospect of childbirth wasn’t terrifying. As a nurse, the trip to the hospital wasn’t a scary prospect either. The spooky part of my birth was this was the first trip to Labor and Delivery that included my father. (He was off doing soldiery things when she delivered my brother two years prior.)

As a military captain in an Army hospital, my father spent his time and energy trying to direct the process. As my mom liked to say, she drove the doctors crazy and my father drove the nurses insane.

“What is that?”

“What will YOU be doing with that?”

“What should my wife be doing?”

“Where is the doctor?”

“How long will this take?”

For a nurse, these questions were stupid in the extreme, especially while enduring labor pains. My mom spent much of her time and energy trying not to snap at her husband.

Each time a new person entered the room, my father announced that “his wife was having their second child on his birthday.” He was terribly proud of my mother’s impeccable timing.

As the hours slipped by, he got more and more impatient.

At 11 o’clock, he pressed the call button for the nurse and asked them to hurry up and come in. When the nurse hit the door, he asked “what are the chances of this baby coming by midnight.”

Labor and delivery nurses are used to parents with timetables so she said, “I’ll need to examine your wife before I answer that question. Why don’t you go stretch your legs for a spell?”

After my father was gone, she examined my mom and let her know she was about an hour from  ‘showtime.’ “I can tell that man is driving you plumb crazy. Do you need us to keep him out of the room?”

My mom told me later, her first thought was “Could you?”

Her contractions were coming much closer together, and she just didn’t have the energy for a fight. “I don’t think you’d be able to keep him away. He was overseas for the last one. Plus, he’s pretty excited about getting a child on his birthday.”

The nurse gave my mom a sympathetic look. “If you’re sure,” she said and went to let my father back in the room.

“Well?” he demanded.

“It’ll likely be another hour or so, unless this baby decides different.”

“Oh. Is there anything you can do to speed things up?”

“Babies come on their own schedule, Sir.”

My dad sat down and patted my mom’s hand, keeping one eye on the clock. At about twenty minutes after eleven, he looked over at my mom. “You’ve got more experience at this, Jo Anne. Do you think we’re getting close?”

And my mother — the pissed-off woman who was now in transition — gritted her teeth and said, “Nope.”

“Well, it’s coming up on eleven-thirty. I saw a TV on in the lounge. I think I’ll go get a cup of coffee and watch ‘Hogan’s Heroes.’ Seems like it’s gonna be a long night.” He paused at the door. “You’ll have them call me if the baby changes its mind, right? We could still have it today.”

My mom gritted her teeth some more and nodded her head, breathing through a contraction as the door closed.

The same nurse hurried into the room a few moments later. “Your husband just told me he was off to watch TV in the lounge. Are you doing okay, honey?”


“How are you feeling, dear? You look a bit pale.”


The nurse stared at my mom for a moment and asked, “Are you sure? That belly of yours is rippling something fierce. I’m just gonna take a peek.”

My mom clamped her hand on the nurse’s wrist and panted, “Tell me when it’s midnight.”

And that, my friends, is how I came to have my own birthday.

How do you commemorate your loved ones who have passed? Do you have any stories about YOUR birth? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!


Note: This story is part of a compilation of vignettes about my mom that I’m compiling for my daughter, so she can get to know her grandma.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
This entry was posted in Humor, Parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to How I Came To Have My Own Birthday

  1. Carrie says:

    ROFLMAO!! That is AWESOME!! I love that she held you back. We all deserve our own day 🙂

    I was born about an hour before my grandmother’s 50th birthday. She asked my mom is she couldn’t have held out a bit longer to which my mom answered HELL NO 🙂


  2. LOLOL! That is hilarious!


  3. Bill Parker says:

    That’s great.

    When my sister was born (three years younger than me) my dad called my mom’s parents from the delivery room to let them know. They didn’t really do epidurals then, and it’d be a reasonably lengthy, typically painful labor. My mom heard my dad say into the phone, in a very casual offhand way: “mild discomfort , no real pain.” That’s a phrase that will stick with my family forever. 🙂


  4. ROTFL!!! I almost got my own birthday. My brother and I were born about 20 minutes apart…between 11:30 pm and midnight. Sooo close….


  5. filbio says:

    Great story Jenny! We all deserve a day to ourselves and mom made sure of it, pain and all. Happy weekend!


  6. Julie Glover says:

    How did she do that? I really wanted my son to arrive in MY birth month, but he came the last day of the previous one. When I felt that urge to push, there was NO STINKIN’ WAY I could have resisted. Your mother must have steel nerves.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      My mama DID have nerves of steel and I have no idea how she did it. She said she basically stopped trying and just breathed against the pain for an extra 20 minutes because she was OVER him. 🙂


  7. Cory Imhof says:

    Sounds like my birth too. Jeff was still in tow but he was 18. Dad was stuck in an elevator and my mom had to drive herself to the hospital through LA traffic!


  8. Happy BIRTHDAY to your Mama Jenny!!! I know she’s smiling down from heaven filled with immense pride for the absolutely incredible person you are.

    I absolutely LOVE the story…ROFL!! From everything you’ve shared about her, that totally fit the bill. LOL!!

    I was Mom’s second as well. She had my brother 19 months prior (and we were both born on the 19th – me March and him August – creepy). She had wanted a girl desperately and her doctor knew it. Mom said when I came into the world, the doctor cut the chord and started dancing around the room with me in the air yelling “It’s a girl!!” Mom was a bit surprised…the doc seemed more excited than she was. LOL!!

    Now….you know we know all about celebrating our loved ones that have gone on before us. We celebrate Mamma K on her birthday every year in the Dominican Republic….but we also do a lot of adventures where we bring her ashes with us so we share the experience with her and celebrate her; whether it’s whale watching, hiking, or even just enjoying a beautiful canoe ride at sunset….but I’ve also come to realize that I celebrate my Dad just by stopping whatever I am doing and saying “hey big guy…wish you were here…I love and miss you…”. Often whenever I am golfing and I see some amazing wildlife, I am convinced it’s my Dad saying “hey daughter…I love you!” Warms my heart…

    LOVE how you celebrate your Mama Jenny…sending you a big hug!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Nat! This comment made my day…I just have some sickies at home so it took me a while to tell you.

      I think that’s darling that you caused so much excitement. Babies are awesome, but I am a little partial toward girls at this point, since I got one. Mamma K is having a blast with all the adventures you guys are taking her on. I know she is. 🙂


  9. What a cool freaking story! Your mom… wow! She totally rocks. Happy Birthday to your sweet mom, Jenny. That’s totally awesome that she gave you your own day.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks for the ‘Happy Birthday, Mama!’ I know she’s grooving on all this joy, wherever she is. My dad was the kind of guy who sucks up all the air in the room, so it was REALLY a public service that she gave me my own day. 🙂


  10. tomwisk says:

    Jenny loved the story. Mine is on Sunday exactly one year and a day after Stephen King’s. I’m a writer and want to be as rich as he is, or as read. As for my own birth, not a clue. Only it was in a home for unwed mothers in Hartford CT.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s a fascinating birthday, almost sharing it with Stephen King. And it sounds like you have plenty of good material for your writing. (That’s how I look at all my less-than-stellar memories…Fodder!)


  11. Ooh, that is a great story! I love your Mom! All I can say is, do not argue with a woman in transition. She fixed your Dad’s wagon. I actually could see myself doing something like that. lol. That is classic. Baby girl is gonna love that story someday. 🙂


  12. WOW! Your mom knew how to write a plot twist ending!

    I howled when I read it and read it again, just to make sure. No way was that man-with-a-thousand-questions going to win that one. BONUS! You got to spend some extra time swimming around inside your mom soaking up her strength. The impact on your head pressed against those I-am-the-master-of-my-own-body bones? I didn’t notice you had a flat-top, so I assume it was all good.

    I love that you’re putting together vignettes about your mom for yourself (there’s gotta be a lot of joy in keeping those memories alive) and for baby girl.


  13. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, your mom sounds like the best! There are still Shakey’s Pizza parlors around VA, although I’m a northern transplant and have never been to one. Paul remembers them from growing up, though.

    What a great story! I could already get the sense of your Dad “sucking the air out of a room” in that vignette. Skillfully told, my friend. Thanks for sharing. 😀


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ahhh, the old Shakey’s parlors. I do have some vague early memories of them. Those and the Farrell’s ice cream parlors were a blast. 🙂

      Thanks for the kudos. And yes, my mom ROCKED.


  14. Great story! Thanks for sharing.


  15. Kathy Walker says:

    Great story Jen!


  16. Melissa Lewicki says:

    What a woman! Great story.
    I got my own birthday, but it cost my mother $10,000. Twins run in my family. The doctor told her she was due the end of January and he thought he heard two heart beats. My grandfather and his brother were twins born on January 28. They told my mom if I was twins and born on their birthday, they would give her $10,000. My grandfather said if I was a single but born on their birthday, he would give her $1,000. I was born all by myself (9 pounds) on Feb. 4. They didn’t give her a dime.


  17. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Awesome story. Your mom had serious willpower for holding back from pushing. Thanks for sharing and happy birthday to your mom 🙂


  18. Diana Beebe says:

    Beautiful story! LOL. Your mom was smart to be sure you had your own day. 😀


  19. Pingback: Celebrating Childbirth: 5 Great Ways to Commemorate the Occasion | Natural Childbirth

  20. That is a new definition of resolve! My mother’s tale of my birth is kind of silly, too. Two weeks past her due date, no longer able to shave her own legs, tired, and the next day was Friday the 13th. She made it happen!


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