Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thirty-two Years Ago, Today

***Today, for my birthday, I give you my lovely mother. I was the first baby of the new year in our small town, and was in the newspaper. Isn't my mama a perfect Madonna?***
I was due. The Dr. said he thought you would be born on Christmas… Here it was a week after New Years with lots of contractions –but no labor pains. I knew the difference. I was glad to get the date as far from Christmas as possible, but I knew that I was due. You see, my dates were not reliable for any of my kids… being a mother who nursed her babies for a long time (2
*blush* years) and with a very irregular cycle, I generally did not know when I conceived. --This was in the day before ultrasounds and all the other cool things they do now, so we made our best guess with the help of a terrific and very experienced Doctor. Dr. Dhillon was Pakistani, --during his medical training he delivered thousands of babies. He had magic fingers and could induce a contraction or ease one with a touch. I liked him because he told me he had a spiritual experience with every baby he delivered. He said I was due, and I said I was due… so where was my baby?

We got the two big kids asleep and out came the Monopoly board. We were playing in bed. (Why in the world were we playing it in bed? My big belly… what were we thinking?) Dad was whupping me big time… I kept getting the giggles and laughing. (I’m sure with my size I was shaking the bed… how did the little ‘thimble’ and the little ‘Scotty dog’ stay on the right property anyway?)
11:35 pm. I had a 15 minute long, painful labor pain. We put the game away (Dad always claimed I started ‘labor’ just so I would not lose--) got the little bag together and loaded up the kids. We lived in a small town 30 minutes driving time from the hospital, so we called my Papa (who lived there) and told him we were coming. My oldest, Joe, said “Have a girl, OK mom? Just have a girl.” He had not voiced a preference before this, but now he wanted only a girl.

The thing was, in all the bustle of getting loaded and getting to town, I had no more contractions. Well how embarrassing. We arrived at the grandparents home, tucked the kids in and sat around talking till 3 am. When it looked like I would not be producing anything remotely painful, let alone a baby, we went to bed.

Dr. Dhillon was expecting me each day for the past several weeks and upon examination my water broke. Within 20 minutes I was getting that welcome and familiar pain --so off to the hospital. —But wait! It was brilliantly beautiful out side! It was a cold winter day, 3-4 inches of snow on the ground with huge flakes falling gently, gracefully to the ground. Trees and bushes were coated with the silvery magic and we said for the first time (but not the last—)“It looks like a Christmas card!” We drove thru the town park before we went to the hospital.

Noon--We laughed and joked as we settled in to bring this new person into the world. 1:50 We went into the delivery room, with the best nurse (our own Grandma Betty) arriving just in time. A difference between my first two and this one—the room was darkened, and I did NOT take out my contacts… I wanted to see. This is when they discovered that you were posterior and face up in the birth canal. Dr. was able to turn you a bit. I could feel you right there for what felt like a good while—probably 45 seconds, but that is a looong time when you are in the peak of labor. Then, at 2:23 with the next contraction, you—face up-- slipped completely into this world.

I sat right up and started to cry as your dad told me “Honey, we have a girl!” I had not cried with the other two, but I did with you. I was relieved that we could tell Joe that I had complied with his wishes and would bring him a girl. All that dark hair and those bright alert eyes fringed with curling eyelashes made you a delight to gaze upon. I assume no parent can keep their hungry eyes off the newborn, and I was no different, I stared at you and stroked your thighs and arms and head. Then Betty wrapped you and thrust you into your father’s arms! Another first! Dad could not come in when Joe was born. He could watch but was instructed to stay ‘out of the way and don’t say a word’ when Mollie was born. Oh, our culture was learning..,

My Papa was standing at the windowed door of the delivery room, and your dad asked if he could tell him we had our girl. Betty said, “We can do better than that.” She took you out and showed him! Boy… we had come a long way!
I could see Papa and he put his right hand over his heart and moved it up and down, while mouthing “thump, thump, thump.” --It was his way of saying his heart was pounding with love. Then he clasped his hands over his head and gave them a shake in the gesture of triumph and job well done. There really is a lot one can say with only body language.

I got to keep you in the room with me --another newfangled innovation for new mothers and babies. In the middle of the night I held you and talked to you and starred at you. You looked so much like your dad that it made me laugh. After just a few days of nursing you softened and fattened and it was not so obvious, but those first few days, there was NO question who the father of this baby was.

This was a peaceful delivery. We were at a happy place in our lives. There was so much laughter and enjoyment around us each day. You were wanted and welcomed. Every baby should be so embraced, and every family should have the snuggling, happy, beautiful bundle that so blessed our lives.

Each day unfolded and it was as if you unfolded too. Each layer draped back and exposed more of the interesting person that you were. Heredity and your DNA contributed to who you are, and your family helped mold you. There have been things in your environment, and movements and changes in the world that were factors in shaping you—but all only to a point. You bring so much with you, and then it lay within your grasp, to become. You work out your destiny. It is fulfilling to me that you have chosen so well and acted upon those choices. God Bless You My Dear. ~~Mom


  1. Happy Birthday Emily.

    Wow what a tribute from your Mom. Did she just write that for this birthday or was it written a while ago? I always asked my mom about my birth and she would say, "I don't know, I can't remember" so this is neat how much detail your Mom wrote about-

    I hope your day is a little different than the normal one-

  2. Happy Birthday! I hope this day is as wonderful as your moms description of the day you were born! Cheesy-Yes, but the truth!

  3. Wow! This is so amazing - I held my breath as I read the story. You are both powerful writers.

    Hope your birthday is happy!

  4. Happy Birthday to one of the BEST mom's I know!!

  5. Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy,Happy Birthday to YOU!! (Bring back memories?) There is just no one like you! You are a true friend and I have learned so much from you. I hope your day is full of good things! I Love You!

  6. I just re-read my last post--oh, no-I didn't mean what your mom said was cheesy, I meant what I said was cheesy! What your mom said was wonderful. Any way-I hope I didn't hurt your feelings by my unclear post, Sorry. :(

  7. Thanks, everyone. Don't I have an extraordinary mother? And, Amy, I was not offended, I got what you meant. You have to try a lot harder to hurt my feelings! (:

  8. I'm glad she had a girl too, you're one of my favorite people and I'm glad you're my sister. I love you!

  9. They tell you your mother-in-law can give you a sneak peek of how your wife will turn out. Emily and her mother are both amazing women. I truly lucked out. I love Emily for being Emily and her mother for molding her into a wonderful woman.