Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Birthday girl

Hey Jenn,

I drove home from work and thought of you tonight. I passed the hospital where you were born. I tried to remember that night. You were Monday's child, fair of face.

New to this, you were our firstborn. We waited patiently after midnight until your demands to make an arrival could no longer be ignored. We got to the hospital about 3:00am.

New to this, we did what the doctor ordered. I went into stronger labor and your dad left the room for the waiting room down the hall. I remember feeling so alone and praying a lot. I made a wager with the Virgin Mary to help me muster through the waves of strange sensations taking over most of my lower body and to keep you safe on your journey. I forget what my end of the bargain was but she held up hers. You were born beautiful and healthy.

It was a very small space, just me and you and a blue wall that I turned to. No nurse telling me to be brave and breathe correctly, no husband telling me that it would be alright, a young doctor who appeared occasionally and murmured a platitude and then walked down the hall to tell your father that I had a high threshold for pain.

This was my annointing. You tested me. I would hold that pronouncement close to me for the rest of my days. High threshold for pain. It got me through some rough times, emotional and physical.

Finally, my own doctor appeared on the scene and I was wheeled to delivery. By then, you and I had a pretty good thing going - a nice rhythm. I think it was a predictor of things to come. We clicked from the very start.

Six hours after my arrival (spending much of that time by myself), you were crowning and the doctor asked if I wanted nitrous oxide or whatever it is that they let you whiff. I labored to that point without meds and before I could say "I'm almost there - just let the baby come", the mask covered my face. It could not have lasted more than a couple minutes because I heard someone say "It's a girl".

You were whisked away and I was now shaking uncontrollably, my limbs refusing to cooperate and a deep chill settling in. Someone murmured something about falling blood pressure and shock and then a warm blanket, so welcomed, covered me. But you were gone. No baby to look at and check like new mommas do. I lay there wanting to see you, hold you, welcome you into this world of blue walls and painful thresholds. It wasn't quite the welcome I had pictured but you know what? It was honest. We both made it through the night. We were companions from the start. We survived the pain and discomfort together. We've done that a lot through the years, sweet pea.

Eventually, a nurse walked back into the delivery room and held up a baby. A blond baby boy. Did I have a brain fart giving birth? I could've sworn I heard "It's a girl" or maybe the laughing gas really did destroy some neurons.

"That's not my kid." DUH, we don't have the blond gene to begin with. They realized their mistake and brought you in - dark hair, not much of it, bright eyes and little fingers that already seemed to be reaching out and grasping at something ... at Life. You never stopped with the curiosity and wonder.

You hold everything close to your heart, Jenn. Lucky I passed on that high threshold for pain.

Happy birthday special daughter. My life is so much richer because of you.

Love, Mom xxoo

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Jenn!
Great post, as per usual Mater :)
Makes me sad and happy at the same time.

Margaret said...

What beautiful words. Happy birthday Jenn!

Simon said...

Sweet, sweet sentiments, Mater. For an equally delightful daughter.

geogirl said...

You may not have the blonde gene but the literary gene is alive and well in your family.

Thank you for sharing it and for passing it on.

bee said...

Mater, I thoguht we might have seen you last night. I guess I should have double dog dared you!

karina said...

Very lovely post, Mater. You and Jenn both write so insightfully about childbirth. (Although your post is lighter on the poo.)

Jenn said...

You are the best mama. Can't wait till you live up here and we can eat lots of birthday cakes together. xoxo

P.S. Uh, can we swap that pic out for one where I look less chunky and linebackeresque? I look like I'm about to eat you.

LadySeduction said...

Happy Birth Day, MamaMater!

I wish my Mom and I were in sync like you and Jenn. I hope to be with my daughters.

Tosha said...

Such a sweet post! I just wanted to let Jenn know that I think that's a pretty cute photo of her and of you two.

The Mater said...

Thanks tosha - I thought so too. And since it's my blog, I get to leave the picture up :>)

hehehehe The Mater rules!

Neurotic Mom said...

Mater you are so sweet, i love reading your blog

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