Today is a big day in our house. Our Sunshine Girl turns 15! And that means that this is the 14th year in a row that I re-live the day she was born. And I make a point of reminiscing with my children the story of their lives, whether they like it or not. (But I suspect they do like it.) I want them to know that I have sweet memories of their birth days, of them as babies, and toddlers, and children, and adolescents, and now, as teenagers. And I want them to know that even the not-as-sweet memories still brought a silver lining that shines more brightly with each passing year, outshining out any perceived negative.
So, today, on my Sunshine Girl’s big day, I will tell her again about how I went into labor with her while I was sitting in the living room of the first house we ever owned. And that when it started, I wasn’t sure it was real labor because I hadn’t felt it before since I was induced with her older brother. But when I thought it might really be real, I gathered her brother and father up for a trip to Wal-Mart so I could make sure I had food to return home to after she was born. And while we were at Wal-Mart, the contractions gradually got stronger and closer and that I had to keep stopping and holding onto shelves and poles to steady myself until they passed. And that while I was going through this, her father was becoming increasingly panicked, practically begging me to let him take me to the hospital.
Instead, we checked out and went home. And while I was still feeling increasingly stronger and closer contractions, I made myself a half of an English muffin with some strawberry jelly, and called our neighbor to come sit with her brother while we would be at the hospital. And that the neighbor showed up at the front door, flustered, expecting that we’d be in a rush, and found me sitting on the couch eating my English muffin. And then she started to panic and urge me to go to the hospital. But I knew I wouldn’t eat again until after my baby girl arrived and who knew how long that was going to take and I wanted to make sure I got a little something to eat before leaving the house.
So I finished my muffin and we finally left for the hospital. And on the 10-minute drive to the hospital, I started to panic a little because the contractions were coming really close together and were kind of starting to hurt a little and my English muffin wasn’t sure it was going to stay inside of me. But we made it to the hospital in time. And I got admitted and asked for an epidural. Then the nurses (God bless the L&D nurses) told me that they thought I might be too far along in my labor to get an epidural. They called the anesthesiologist and he thought I might be too far along in my labor for an epidural. But he said he’d check my cervix after he gave me the epidural so that if I was too far, well, the epidural would already be in and it wouldn’t officially matter how dilated I was. God bless the anesthesiologists too.
So I got my epidural and labored uneventfully for a few more hours.
And at 12:04 AM on May 9th, after only 5 1/2 hours of labor, God delivered a beautiful, precious, perfect, brown-eyed, hairy, happy, giggly, funny, curious baby girl into my arms. And I stared and marveled at her, for 15 years now.