Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Baby Girl

Four years ago today I was giving birth. To a baby girl. 36 hours plus of labor--so they call it--and delivery. And this is what I want to remember--Kathleen, our midwife, and the nurse whose name I have forgotten who stayed into vacation time to see my strong-willed (not stubborn) child finally agree to leave the comforts of the womb. Operating room, scrubs, bright lights, at least 10 bodies standing over me and one standing next to me head pressed to cheek as I screamed and with the aid of forceps pushed my baby across the table, the doctor moving quickly, but almost not quickly enough, to catch her. And then the sound of my baby's cry. Tiny fury. Pink skin. Alert eyes. More wails. Her father's announcement that we had a boy, and a few minutes later, a girl because sometimes a penis is really umbilical cord. Holding her small, wrinkled body and thinking that she's mine, ours, and feeling responsibility in bringing a child to this world--momentary fast forward to joy, love. Knowing, too, that there will be sadness. An ache, the rawness of emotion and crying when my father-in-law cried. Asshole doctor who wanted a c-section early on and the pain of my tailbone after giving birth, the time that I took to heal. At last, baby to breast to do what babies do.

In four years my baby has grown into an inquisitive, fiery and loving little girl. And, as they say, it happened quickly. Quickly. And what I saw in the operating room is real because I have watched her experience joy and love and react as I might expect. Eyes wide, sparkly. Mouth open. Arms stretched. "I love you," she says and means it. I have also seen her sad, unsure, awkward in a new situation, screeching and hitting because she doesn't know what else to do, uncomfortable and frustrated, unable to negotiate the social waters and hanging back, clinging. I have seen her angry, "I don't like what you're telling me." Or, "I want people to do things MY way and no one else's way." And I have seen her curious--about a caterpillar eating milkweed, about where germs come from and why people get sick (after particularly annoying stomach bug), about the creation of stories and characters, saying with confidence, "If the story is from imagination then the people in the stories must be from real life, at least a little bit."

That's my girl. My itty, bitty girl. I love you baby girl. Happy Birthday.

birthday girl


more stripes and boots


kitty boots





suestew said...

Well, i guess it takes a blog to get the real story from you. I asked you once what it was like giving birth to Aidan and you said you didn't like to tell people who hadn't had children because you didn't want to scare them. AFter reading the experience I'm not any more scared than I was before but wait till it's my turn. I'm sure I'll freak.

Congratulations on taking the responsibility of being a mother, and a good one too. I have yet to feel that desire but only time and experience can do that to a person, I guess. Thanks for being an example of the kind of mother i want to be someday. I'm learning a lot from you, as usual. As the oldest, you have the wonderful opportunity of teaching daughter and sister all at once.

Jane said...

Do you really want the real story? Call me some time. I'll tell you.

Good mother? Did you read the " child playing with knives" entry?

suestew said...

I think you are a great mom but you completely suck at taking a compliment. For crying out loud sis, just accept it.

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