Ten years ago, September 12th, I was about to give birth.... only I did not realize it for I was not due until September 23rd.
I went to bed as usual only to awake around 1:00a.m. feeling like something was not right. Immediately I woke up Greg and told him that I thought my water may have broke. He laughed and said I would know, so it didn’t and he told me to go back to bed. Hmmm....he is a man.....never been pregnant....never will be pregnant.....what does he know? Not suprisingly, he was able to roll over and fall sound asleep. I however, was not. No contractions, no back pain. Unable to rest, I got up. I watched a little late late night tv, tried to read, all the while wondering where the contractions were. Where was the pain? At six am I called my doctor who said to pack a bag and head on over to the hospital.
We strolled through Stop and Shop on our way to the hospital. I had everything I thought I needed, my favorite cds and walkman, my comfy pjs, my books, my camera, my slippers and robe. Maybe if I had not walked out of most of my lamaze classes, I would have made some different choices (like packing the softest toilet tissue money can buy and forgetting about my best pjs). I don’t remember what we needed at Stop and Shop but I will never forget the look on the cashier’s face as we told her we were on our way to have a little girl!
I was all checked into the hospital, in my bed, watching some tv still waiting for what I thought labor was supposed to be like. I was given a deadline, either contractions would start on their own soon, or the doctors would start them for me. That did not sound like what I had in mind. Reluctantly I agreed to Pitocin, not understanding the hell I was about to face.
If I only knew then what I know now, I would have educated myself much more on labor. I naively figured that women have been delivering since the beginning of time, why should I feel like I could not do it? I did not prepare myself for the what ifs. I struggled through the pain. I breathed...the only thing I stuck around lamaze class long enough to learn! It did nothing. I cried. The doctors wanted me to have an epidural. That definitely was not in my plan. I cried more. I wanted my mom. I called her on the phone hysterical that I could not take any more......I had been up since 1am, had been laboring for hours and I was literally scared to death of an epidural. My doctor, a woman I respected very much held my hand and told me I could not fight my way through the pain. It was not good for me or the baby and I would need my strength for when it was time to actually deliver her. I agreed.The sweet relief. I slept. I rested. Then at 3:30am on September 13th, 26 and a half hours since my husband told me my water did not break, a whole two weeks earlier than we expected her to arrive, Gracie was born into this world, changing our lives forever. I struggle to believe that this memory is now ten years old. How I loved those first few days. We snuggled watching the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. I sang Waltzing Mathilda to her over and over since that was the anthem of those Olympics. I marveled at her very life. I stared at her in wonder. This baby, all 7 pounds of her, bald and fair was inside my body just hours ago was now kicking, crying, sleeping, drinking, breathing, living on her own.
Living on her own. That sums up my daughter. She came into her world on her terms and has been living her life according to them ever since. She is kind and compassionate, yet stubborn and impulsive. She is outgoing and friendly, yet determined and focused. She is the type of child that one dreams of but one is not always sure how to parent. She is a force of nature and a child of nature. She is wonderous and bewildering. She is loving and she is independent. She is strong and capable. She is smart and inquisitive. She is my daughter. She is Grace.
Happy Birthday my sweet sweet girl.