Today, at 4:55am PST, my daughter turned seven years old.
My darling little girl is turning into a beautiful young woman before my eyes and it terrifies me. She is a huge blessing to all the people in her life and there is no way to avoid her infectious joy in her presence.
It wasn’t always this way. In the beginning, it was really difficult. Having based all my childbirth knowledge on the experience of others and what I’d seen in movies, I was not realistically equipped to handle the things that would come my way. I had a tough pregnancy emotionally. I have mentioned before that my daughter’s birth was not something that was planned ahead of time. My pregnancy was a surprise. Telling my mother that I was pregnant and moving across the country to get married was a nightmare and I was torn between the two families for a long time.
I remember stages in my pregnancy where I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to be stuck between the families. I didn’t want my mom to hate my in-laws. I didn’t want all the fighting and the drama. There were times when I wished for something to happen. I never considered having an abortion and even when it was suggested that I take the morning after pill. The night of “THEE” sex, while my husband prayed with me that nothing would result from it, I secretly prayed that God’s will be done. I’ve never told my husband that. But here I was, halfway through the pregnancy wishing I would trip and fall in just such a way, it wouldn’t be my fault and everybody would stop being mad at each other because of me. That’s a very painful thought to admit to having. I was in a very bad place. Pregnancy was NOTHING like it was in the movies and I was vomiting several times a day well into my eighth month.
The wedding occurred during the weekend I hit 28 weeks pregnant. I forgot my husband was wearing a microphone and promptly announced to the entire church that I needed to pee… My father-in-law, God rest him, always did get a kick out of that one. I still remember him laughing from the front row. I also burned my hand on the wax from the unity candle, but that’s another story. Our first ultrasound was late because I had to switch doctors (apparently at 19 weeks pregnant the baby is too small and moving around too fast to be seen on the ultrasounds… It’s a uterus, buddy, not NASCAR!)… So the day before our wedding, we found out that we were having a baby girl, though I’d been referring to the baby as “she” the entire time. FYI, that’s a baby, not an “it”. I couldn’t call my baby “It”.
My due date came and went, and on February 20th, 2006, my doctor sent me to the hospital for an NST (non-stress test), to determine if she was strong enough for an induction. Well, as it turned out, I didn’t need one. “Go have breakfast and then go to the hospital.” said the doctor. Well, after eating my Burger King breakfast in the car on the way to the hospital, we arrived about 10:15am and when I got out of the car there was a gush. And when I say gush, I mean someone just kicked a big ass hole in the side of a full swimming pool, it gushed! And for some reason, I didn’t expect the fluid to be warm… Seriously, they don’t tell you what it’s gonna feel like because most women don’t have “spontaneous membrane rupture”, I had no expectations, but was NOT expecting hot water to be running down both legs and soaking my pants. Logically it makes sense when you think about the average persons normal every day body temperature.
The look on my face must have been something between “I can’t remember what I was doing” and “WTF?” because my husband asked me if I left something at the doctor’s office. I promptly replied, “Either I just peed on myself or my water broke.”
So we waddled into the hospital ER, having no idea if that’s where we were supposed to go at that time of day. I was admitted once they confirmed I had not, in fact, burst my bladder, and the adventure began. I’ll save the gory details, but a bitchy nurse, a failed epidural, three hours of pushing and nearly 19 hours of labor later, my daughter was here… And the trouble began… She was 9lbs 9oz, delivered vaginally and had her first bowel movement in utero, which means the NICU was on standby in case she had breathing troubles as a result of swallowing the meconium. She had not, but it still puts a new parent on edge. It was another two hours before I got to hold her because they wanted to make sure she was just fine. Well when you know that babies bond with their mother in the first three minutes, it really sucks to not see your baby until she’s two hours old.
Shortly after I held her for the first time, I decided that this time I really did need to pee. My husband took the baby and was sitting on the couch with both our mothers, while the nurse helped me to the bathroom. This is wear I promptly blacked out. (I told you it was trouble.) My helpless husband was holding our tiny newborn daughter and not able to come to my rescue. My mom told me that she saw me step into the bathroom doorway and then suddenly I was gone and the nurse was yelling. When I woke up, I was sitting on the floor with a nurse in front of me, my mom was behind me, Hubby was in the doorway with the baby and everyone was trying to figure out whether or not I had hit my head… Needless to say, I’d never seen that happen in a movie…
But the baby was fine and eventually, I was too.
Over the years, things have come up. After she was born, I pushed myself to bond “magically” like they do in the movies and ended up overburdened, exhausted and hospitalized (twice) for Postpartum Psychosis (like, Postpartum Depression, only with paranoia and delusions/hallucinations)… It was not a good time in our lives. We were kicked out of a women’s ministry because she couldn’t sit still when she was three (before we knew she had Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction and Sensory Integration Disorder). She was diagnosed with autism just after her fifth birthday. And now, my baby girl is seven… It’s really hard to believe that the chubby little baby I struggled so hard to love is a bright, beautiful, and overwhelmingly joyful little girl now…
I still don’t feel that “magical” bond to her, like you’re “supposed” to. But that’s why I talk about my experience. Not every woman will be connected to her child with some magical bond. It may sound cold, but my daughter was a stranger. I didn’t know her anymore than she knew me. We had to learn to love each other. I knew what to expect of myself when I gave birth to my son and the entire pregnancy, delivery and postpartum went by with no issues at all.
I was in a really bad place when I got pregnant with my daughter. I was drowning in a town that literally will suck the life out of you and kill any chance you had of having a dream or a real life of happiness and joy. My daughter saved my life. She’s a huge blessing everyday and I am so thankful that my prayers were answered all those years ago.
God’s will was done.
For that, I am thankful.
Happy Birthday, Sissy!