life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Birthday memory

I had dinner with a friend last week. Her children, and mine, are teenagers now. Yet somehow the topic turned to labor and delivery. It seems that giving birth is a life-cycle event of such significance, such consequence, that we women want to share our story long after our children are grown.

I remember exactly what I was doing 19 years ago today.

November 1990. We were awaiting the birth of our first child.

We’d known since the sonogram to expect a little girl. We’d bought a crib, but hadn’t done much other shopping. My last day of work was Friday, November 3, and even though my due date was November 8, I thought I’d have time to get organized – after all, don’t first babies usually come late?

“Famous last words.”

November 6 was Election Day. Schools were closed, and Drew was home. He insisted that I pack my Lamaze bag and stow it in the trunk of the car. I didn’t think I’d need it for awhile, but packed it anyhow.

Boy, was I glad I did!

My first labor pains began right after dinner. At first I wasn’t sure …I thought it might be Braxton-Hicks contractions. But the pains got steadily stronger, and before long I was on the phone with my doctor.

We dropped off the apartment keys with my aunt, who lived 4 blocks away, so that she could walk the dog and feed the cat, then headed over to the hospital. Filled out all the admission forms, went upstairs to be examined by a resident. He determined that I had not progressed enough to be admitted, and sent me downstairs to the lobby to walk.

We walked in circles around the lobby until I had memorized every painting hanging on the walls. Around 1:00 AM we went back upstairs. The doctor thought I should go home and come back the next morning, but I was afraid…and insisted on being admitted that night.

When we toured the hospital, weeks before, we’d been told that each mother-to-be had her own labor room, complete with a bathroom, a television, a place where the expectant father could stretch out and relax….

There were no labor rooms available when I was admitted, and I wound up in a bed in the recovery room for most of the night. Didn’t matter to me, after I had an epidural I fell asleep. Drew, on the other hand, didn’t sleep – the chair by my bed was far too uncomfortable.

Around 6:00 AM a labor room finally opened up. That’s when the doctor told Drew “We’ll be here awhile, go have some breakfast in the cafeteria.”

More “famous last words.”

By the time Drew came back from breakfast, I was being moved from the labor room to the delivery room….

On November 7, 1900, at 7:32 AM, my darling daughter Jennifer was born. 6 lbs 6 oz and 19 inches long. And she was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Happy birthday, sweetheart. You will always be my baby.


Joyce-Anne said...

My younget daughter was born on Election Day too, November 7, 2006.

Haooy Birthday to bot of our girls!

Joyce-Anne said...

oops, I obviously meant *Happy*

songbird's crazy world said...

Happy Birthday to yur daughter, too!

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