Lesbian Couple In Hospital Humorously Experience “Being Seen First and Foremost In Terms of Your Difference.”

by Vera Whisman

My name is Vera Whisman, I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma. But this story doesn’t happen in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My partner and I decided in the 90s, when a lot of lesbians were doing this, that we wanted to have a child. So we picked a donor and she got pregnant very quickly, and we went to birthing classes and we picked a midwife and we read what to expect when you’re expecting and all of those things. And in early September of ‘96, it was time and Sherry, my partner, went into labor and we went to the hospital and nothing happened. And we went back home and we waited and we went back to the hospital and nothing was happening. And we were there at the hospital that time then for 48 hours with basically very little progress. We walked all through the hospital, we sat in the hospital hot tub, we sort of did everything except jump up and down but this baby just wasn’t coming.

Eventually, after 48 hours or so it became sort of medically important to get this thing going and the decision was made that this should be a cesarian section. And it was a quick thing and it was an emergency. So suddenly she was being prepped for surgery and I was being scrubbed and put into scrubs so I could be in there too and they wheeled her into the actual operating room which was all bright lights and stainless steel and we were kind of afraid. The midwife had said, “I think everything is going to be fine, the baby is in good shape.” But it wasn’t what was supposed to happen.

They put a screen so that Sherry couldn’t actually see the surgery that was taking place, but I could. I was standing next to her and that’s where we are. And the anesthesiologist came in, he was kind of a middle-aged, grey-haired white guy, very nice. He had a big rack of music equipment that was all sterilized and wrapped in plastic, and the first thing he said to us was, “Now, we can play music. I have all kinds of music, so just tell me what you want to hear.”

And that wasn’t where our heads were at so we were just kind of, “Mm, uh, I don’t know.”

And he sort of thought for a second and his face just brightened and he said, “I’ve got k.d. lang!”

He thought of k.d. Lang because he thought, and you could almost see the gears in his mind going, “Hmm, I’ve got a lesbian couple here, what kind of music would lesbians like?”

And his blurting that out, “Oh! I’ve got k.d. lang, I’ve got it!” was on the one hand harmless, and on the other hand, yeah, okay.

So we laughed, even though all of this was going on, that was just too funny. He actually did play k.d. lang so our son was born to the sound of 90s k.d. lang.

I think this story is worth telling because on the one hand I think it’s an amusing story. But it’s also a story about the kind of pervasiveness of difference and being seen first and foremost in terms of your difference. But in the end it all worked out well, we had a beautiful boy.

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