Friday, September 9, 2011

On the day that you were born...

I've mentioned a time or 21 here that Daughter2 is celebrating her birthday this weekend. You might think there isn't anything left to say but you would be mistaken because today I'm going to tell the story of her birth day. I know that isn't everyone's cup of tea so be forewarned.

We were living in a teeny tiny town in the northwest corner of NJ when Daughter2 came into the world. Not the tiny town we live in now but one nearby. There wasn't a hospital in tiny town so Daughter2 was actually born just across the border in New York state. It was only 12 miles away but you need to understand these were 'country miles' (yes, in New Jersey) so you had to figure that in when you estimated your travel time. I may have slightly underestimated.

I felt good for most of the pregnancy and unlike the first time round my blood pressure hovered in the normal range. My doctors in Ohio had worried so much about how little weight I gained with daughter1 and they had attributed that to my toxemia, but I was healthy with daughter2 and gained exactly the same amount of weight-seventeen pounds.

Sigh. My metabolism is most definitely not what it used to be.

Daughter2 was late. Do you know what babies do when they are late? They grow. The morning of her birth hubs went to work as normal. He had an hour+ commute back then so he reminded me on a regular basis that he would need a heads up in order to make it home for the birth. I remember having some minor pains as I took the rubbish to the curb and I chatted with my neighbor who said maybe I was in labor. After all I was a week overdue so you'd think that would have been my first thought too but the pregnant woman's brain does funny things and even though I was having a few pains and was a week overdue I somehow told myself it wasn't labor.

I walked back up to the house and whoa, I think I'm in labor. I phoned hubs and told him to come on home but that I was fine and not to hurry. I had been at the hospital from before the very first pain with baby number 1 and I was determined to stay home as long as possible with baby number 2. I called my parents who lived two hours away and asked them to come on up and then I called my neighbor and told her when hubs got home he'd walk Daughter1 over to their house so she could babysit until my parents arrived. Do you know what doctors warn you about when you're expecting baby number 2? They warn you that unlike baby number 1, baby number 2 might not take her sweet time getting here once labor begins. They would be correct.

By the time hubs got home an hour later I was in serious labor. He literally sprinted next door with daughter1 while I shouted helpful things like 'HURRY!" We got in the car and drove the very curvy, very bumpy, very behind the farmer on the John Deere tractor, 12 mile stretch to the hospital with hubs saying every 5 minutes or so-'If I have to deliver this baby in the car I'm going to be so mad." Helpful, right?

We got to the hospital and they whisked me into the birthing room and because the hospital was also teeny tiny every birth there was a not to be missed event. I am fairly certain every nurse and assorted other medical professional on the floor crowded into my birthing room to watch. Goodbye modesty. Farewell vanity.

My doctor commented that this baby who had been twiddling her thumbs for so long suddenly wanted to set a speed record for making an entrance. No epidural. No time. About three pushes later and there she was being held up by the doc for all the world to see. It was a bit like that scene in the Lion King where Rafiki holds up baby Simba except my precious girl was screaming like nobody's business. One of my first thoughts was that she must have been so uncomfortable for the past month, all scrunched up in there... she weighed two and a half pounds more than my firstborn and she was tall and deliciously squishy. Who doesn't love squishy baby legs?

I feel it my duty as her mother to insert here that this child was absolutely beautiful. I know everyone says that about their newborn but really y'all this little girl was truly a beautiful baby. Her color was so good and her head was positively perfect. And the eyes...oh goodness, we knew we were in trouble when we saw the eyes.

While I hadn't had any issues up until the delivery, immediately after I decided to get everyone excited and lose too much blood. Hubs had forgotten I was still in the room and was over admiring his brand new daughter when I said, "Uh, hello...something is wrong and I think you need to see what's going on." I instantly turned the color of Elmer's glue and every ounce of energy left my body. Not an ideal way to go home to a two year old toddler with a newborn in tow but nobody ever said motherhood was a walk in the park, did they?

From the minute she was born this little girl demanded my attention. If she wasn't attached to me she at least needed me in her line of sight. She did not want to sleep for very long at any one time and I'm sure that's because she missed me when she slept. You laugh but it's true. Still does although she might not say that out loud. And no worries, she has definitely mastered the art of sleeping. ahem.

I was a bit wobbly the first month of her little life. I remember my dad driving us to the pediatrician for a bilirubin recheck a few days after her birth and when we walked in the doc said, 'She looks absolutely, I'm not so sure about." Low iron combined with childbirth makes one a little bit tired and I'll just go ahead and say it...slightly irrational. Around day 10 hubs had to take an overnite business trip and my mom stayed with me to help with childcare. There was a concern I might have to go back into the hospital for a small procedure and when the doc told me this over the phone I may have lost it just a little. My mom might say more than a little but it's my blog.

Me, a thirty year old grown woman, asked my own mother to sleep in the bed with me because I was convinced I was going to die in my sleep and WHO WOULD TAKE CARE OF MY BABIES???? Oh you bet I was shouting. I am pretty sure my mother had to shake me a little. Hormones are a delight aren't they?

When you look back over your life it is sometimes hard to pinpoint one moment as the best or the sweetest. Without a doubt, the absolute sweetest moment of my life occurred the day after Daughter2's birth. My parents brought Daughter1 to the hospital to meet her baby sister and it was positively love at first sight for the two of them. We have this moment recorded on video and the sweetness is almost too much to bear. Daughter1 sat on the sofa between my mom and dad in the visitors room and a nurse brought Daughter2 in all swaddled and smelling newborny and absolutely gorgeous. The minute Daughter1 saw her sister she exclaimed in her super sweet squeaky little girl voice, 'Gimme dat'. We carefully put baby sister in her arms and she oohed and ahhed and giggled and kissed and said, 'Take the lubbie off, Take the lubbie off" over and over. (Lubbie=blankie) In that moment, life was perfect.

We didn't find out the gender of either of our children prior to their birth and when the doctor exclaimed, "It's a girl!" my first thought was 'Oh I am so happy they will be sisters.' I know lots of moms say they feel more like referee than parent a lot of the time but I can honestly say that my girls have rarely argued and have been like two peas in a pod their entire lives.

Daughter2 charged into this world at top speed and she's never really slowed down. She had a huge personality from the time she breathed her first breath and when I look at my lovely 21 year old girl today I still see a trace of my sweet September girl.

So full of life and love, compassionate and funny, tender and tough and brimming with so much confidence that I'm pretty sure she could rule the world.


  1. there is much to be said about motherhood, and hormones. it's tough, for sure. so glad you were not sick during the 2nd pregnancy... taking care of a little one at the same time would be another test of motherhood. ;) such sweet, memory filled pictures, for sure. beautiful.

  2. You crack me up! "goodbye modesty, farwell vanity & hormones are a delight.." I started laughing so hard I almost sprayed the computer screen with Diet Pepsi that I was drinking :)
    Oh and you asked where I was at since I mentioned England... we are in North Yorkshire.

  3. I'm one of those people that love birth stories especially ones like this...If I only had one like that my only child might have had a sibling!

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter.

  4. Oh Joyce, you do tell the best birth stories! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this one, and I could just envision the events as they unfolded.

    Happy Birthday to your daughter. Have a great weekend!

  5. awe, what a great story! Thanks for sharing with us! Sometimes I think kids birthdays should also be a kind of 'mother's day'. We did all the work! lol And especially with my first- it's the day I first became a mom too. Glad to have discovered your blog!

  6. I loved reading this story and I love all the sweet pictures! So happy to have a sister!

  7. What a great story! :) I loved the little picture with daughter1 peeking around the tree :) Happy Birthday to Daughter 2!

  8. Joyce! You are making me cry! At work! Give a girl some warning next time. :)

  9. Another great Birth Story! I'm just sorry you didn't have more kids... ;)

    I need to do the birth stories, you know to have them on record... have I? Hmm...gotta check that. Ha.

  10. Oh, that was wonderful...I love it when you tell your stories. I was crying and laughing...really. The part where your Mom might have had to shake you a little...yeah, I've been there! The picture of D1 peaking out from behind the tree at you and that's a neat picture!

  11. What a touching post. I love it! I´m sure your daughter will cherish this entry forever!

  12. Sweet post. Thank you for sharing her birth story. Can't imagine such a quick birth! We didn't want to know what we were having either! I love the surprise of not knowing.
    Happy Birthday daughter2, have a lovely day!

  13. Thoroughly enjoyed this story. Every detail. You know how to make me laugh and cry in a five-minute sitting. Thanks! Precious picture of the grandparents. Bet they look so young to you!

  14. What a sweet story! I was induce with all three of my babies. It sounds silly - but I kinda wished I had the last minute rushed trip to the hospital - like I've seen on TV. Absolutely no excitement to having the doctor tell you to be at the hospital at 6 am - schedule the "prep" and start the pitocin at X:30.....

    The introduction picture is precious!

  15. Loved reading this touching tribute to your daughter! Your #2 birth story sounds like my #2 duaghter's birth with the blood loss. No fun :( Thanks for sharing :)

  16. Thanks for sharing this sweet story with us. It makes me want to meet you and your daughters!