Ten years ago at this moment I was doing my hair. And makeup. And feeling very very large.
And very very excited. Nervous excited.
My aching back was tired of the weight it held up in front from my 10 day overdue pregnancy with what I HOPED desperately would be a baby (but had been having strange dreams about being a litter of kittens that talked instead). I was 25 years old. I worked in an office for a construction company. I had been married for almost 5 years. We had a little house in a little town outside of Tacoma, WA. It was a drizzly day.
“We” (because I don’t really remember whose idea it was to be surprised – but I’m thinking it was mostly mine, cause I love surprises, and Ben hates them) had decided to wait to find out if we were having a boy baby or a girl baby until the birth. Which was also going to be full of love, bliss, calm and quiet, in a natural environment, with our midwife helping guide us through this journey that my body would be making on its own (ok seriously I am deathly afraid of needles as large as the epidural needle is. And in my spinal cord? no thank you!) But blah blah blah – we lived in granola-ville. The end. Anyways – the day before, on February 26th, I had put in about a ten hour day, bouncing away on my back-saving huge labor ball in front of the computer, filing stuff that had been sitting out for weeks, getting things lined up – I wasn’t having full blown contractions, but I guess it was my mind’s way of “nesting”, getting things ready for the birth. I remember being at the office with one other person there, and my friend Mia was talking me through the “weird asthma attacks” I was having (they were actually super high contractions beginning – that would hit so close to my crushed lungs that I thought I was having an asthma attack when I couldn’t catch my breath), and going home and eating almost an entire box of cereal (I usually despise cereal – that should have been my first clue!). Ben went to work around 3 am like he did at that time of our lives – and I basically stayed up after he left – I could NOT get comfortable! Looking back now of course I see that I was in early labor – but I remember then just feeling like I was never going to not be in pain again. It had just been dragging on so long! (Ok so i had worked myself up into having a Valentine’s Baby and when that didn’t happen I got a bit dramatic about being so overdue…)
And then on the day of her birth, I got up, did my hair, went to talk with my mom at her work who convinced me my “asthma attacks” were probably going to need to be checked out and that I should call Ben home from work. He took me out for a nice lunch that I could eat exactly two bites of, and off to the hospital we went. Funny story about checking in: I had just been at that hospital on the SAME DAY the year before because of a broken shoulder, so when I went in – huge as a hippo, breathing like I had run a marathon, gripping the counter in pain every time the waves of contractions hit, the nurse was like “when did the incident occur?” and I was like thinking – oh my gosh she has to know when we had sex and got pregnant? “It was roughly 9.5 months ago, I don’t remember the exact date” and she was like – “You injured your shoulder 9 months ago and are JUST NOW coming in???” I was so baffled I couldn’t even form coherent words at that point so I stood up and pointed to my stomach and she got the picture then. It wasn’t until later that I was able to put together that she had just looked at the date of my last check in, assumed I had been sent to the hospital from an urgent care, and was just there to check boxes on papers!
Anyways – it seemed like a LONG time from that point until I met my baby girl – but it was actually only about 6 hours. I labored on a ball and in the bathtub and i was sooooooo delirious with pain by the time Ben had to literally drag me out of the tub because my legs were one huge contraction. I remember walking to the bed from the bathroom and they had the lights dimmed and the table all set up and the little baby warmer in place and i started to sing “happy birthday”…and then a few of the most painful intense waves of pain I have ever endured in my life, and they put her on my tummy and said – tell everyone what you have!!! And i looked at her and I was so confused because it was all so swollen (as babies usually are) and I was like – “ i have a hermaphrodite child!!!” and started crying and the midwife had to yell out “It’s a Girl!” so my family behind the curtain could all know that she wasn’t really a hermaphrodite.
and I looked into her eyes and told her “hi baby girl – I’m your momma!”
and that is pretty much all I remember about the next 9 months or so.
She made me a mommy. She has taught me how to learn being a mommy at every age and every stage.
She is a beautiful wonderful little girl, with an amazing laugh, and beautiful eyes that sparkle like sapphires every time she is super excited about anything. She carries the weight of a world far beyond her 10 years on her little shoulders. She has seen more, and learned more, and knows more about real life, and real priorities, than most 10 year old little girls I know. I wouldn’t wish a different life for her – because I know these things have made her the awesome person she is today, and the one she will grow up to be someday.
I can hardly believe it’s been ten years.
I hope you have a wonderful birthday Kealey Grace – I’m so glad your littlest sister didn’t try to ruin your birthday this year by being in the hospital like she has for the past few years! We’ll party it up soon!