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Nine Years and Counting

July 19, 2010

Nine years ago today, I became a mother.  I left my life as a teacher behind, and started down a brand new path.  One that had not been paved, or even foraged yet.  The brush was still thick, and it took a lot of time with a machete to get through.  My arms were sore.  (So were my nipples, but that is the truth, not a metaphor.)  Sarah was born at 5:30 pm CDT on July 19, 2001.  My life has never been the same.

My doctor stripped my membranes at my weekly appointment on July 18th.  I had no idea what that meant, except um…OUCH.  After that everything felt, well, drippy.  I thought that it must be normal to feel that way after the stripping of said membranes, so I went along with my day.  First, I returned some books to school.  I had moved out of my classroom a few weeks before, knowing that I would be on leave for a year with the baby…the baby who we didn’t know.  Boy?  Girl?  Who knew?  Anyway, I remember having to go to the restroom, because, well…drip…drip…drip.  It was the first time in a long while (maybe ever) that I wished that I had a maxi pad.  The machine in the restroom only sold panty-liners, so I bought one of those,  and went on.  Next, I had an appointment with a car dealer who would put my baby’s car seat in the car correctly for free.  I was very anxious about getting everything just right, so I drove for a half hour in order for a woman to show me how to tighten a seatbelt.  Well worth it, she was stronger than I was so the seat didn’t move when you pushed on it.  Next order of business?  The bank.  I needed to run through the drive through.  I don’t remember why, I only remember that the drip went to gush.  I decided Target would not be a good idea.

I went home, and called my doctor’s office.  I asked some lame question about what it was like to have your water break and it was confirmed.  I called Jeff out of an important meeting that we had joked that morning about me going into labor during…hahaha.  I spent a lot of time on the toilet waiting for him.  The drips were easier to ignore than the gushes.  When he finally made it home, he quick ate some lunch and we went to the hospital.  I was embarrassed that I had to be in the bed with no underwear.  No foreshadowing there.  I was there, in labor, until Sarah was born the next evening.

It wasn’t at all how I had envisioned it.  The Birth of My First Child.  It was more without the caps.  I felt like just another woman in labor, and once Sarah was born, I was left alone in my room for over an hour.  I couldn’t reach the buzzer to call the nurse and I was scared that I was going to puke all over myself.  I felt so insignificant.

But I wasn’t.  I was the most significant person there.  I was this brand new human being’s mother.  And she was my daughter.  I was scared out of my mind.  I had no idea what to do.  I made many mistakes, but I loved her.

I bought her a card for her birthday today.  It said on the front:  “we do not remember days…   we remember moments.”  This struck me as so true.  Here is what I wrote to her for her 9th birthday:

Dear Sarah,

Although today is very special, it really isn’t about the day. It is about the moment that I finally got to see what you looked like when [the doctor] put you right on my tummy.  I was shocked that there was a real-live BABY that came out of there!  But I knew that my life had changed forever.  I was a mom now.  I loved you then, but it doesn’t compare to how much I love you now.  Happy 9th birthday!

Love, Mommy

We celebrated her birthday with her friends yesterday afternoon.  She had a bowling party.  All the kids had pizza and bowled and then we had cupcakes and opened presents, only to bowl another game.  It was a really fun party.  She had a blast.

Last night, we had her family party.  Both sets of grandparents were there and both my sister and her family, and Jeff’s sister and her husband were there.  We had a taco bar which was at the request of the birthday girl.  The weather was lovely, and everyone was pleasant and happy.  It was great!  I wish all family gatherings could be so relaxing and enjoyable.

This morning, I made sure all of her presents were wrapped and put at her place at the kitchen table, and then I made her chocolate chip scones for breakfast.  It is what I make for her breakfast on her birthday.  I have for a long time.  She was allergic to eggs when she was a baby, so for her first four years she couldn’t have anything with egg.  These scones don’t have eggs.  And, they are delicious.    She opened her presents first.  We got her art supplies this year:  water colors, cray-pas, a painting tablet, a sketch book, markers that are “blendy,” 3×3 canvases, a 12×12 canvas that has a peace sign and other decorations to paint, an apron, and of course, books.  She was delighted.  So was I.

Happy birthday to my big girl.  She will always be that baby to me, no matter how old she gets.

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8 Comments
  1. July 19, 2010 8:32 pm

    Happy birthday to your first baby! She is so lovely. A bowling party sounds like so much fun!

    I hate that you were all alone after you gave birth! It makes me want to go back in time, and sit by your side, get you a nice cold drink, and keep you company. If it makes you feel better, my mom was alone in the hospital for 18 hours after she had me. My dad had to go back to work (he was in flight school) and there was no family nearby. I want to cry when I think about that!

    • July 21, 2010 8:02 am

      Oh, that is awful. Eighteen hours?!

      The party was FANTASTIC, mostly because it was NOT at my house!

  2. July 20, 2010 11:41 am

    Happy birthday to your adorable daughter! Karin, who turned 11 while we were in Michigan has already asked me twice if I have “written her birthday post” yet…I shall tell her I have friends who are better moms that me! :D

  3. July 21, 2010 8:04 am

    I very much doubt that, and since she is still asking, you better just get writing! Tell her Happy Birthday from me!

  4. July 22, 2010 10:15 pm

    Oh, thank you for sharing Sarah’s birth story! I am such an emotional wimp lately…and I got misty reading this post & thinking about how quickly our babies grow up. Ugh… Congratulations to you, Mama, & to your little girl!! {hugs}

    • July 26, 2010 8:49 am

      Thank you Jamie :) It really does go fast. I love the saying, the days are long, but the years are short! So. True.

  5. August 4, 2010 9:28 am

    So sweet. I have an artsy girl too! Happy (two weeks’ late) birthday to my birthday twin!

    • August 5, 2010 9:52 pm

      Thanks Bethany! I will pass that along to Sarah. I hope you had a really happy birthday too!

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