Fonticulus Fides

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Yesterday was my daughter's first birthday. Still hard for me to believe she's one already! We had a little birthday party for her on Saturday, while my parents were still here. Butterflies. I made a cake, frosted it green and stuck large multi-colored sugar-cookie butterflies into the top. (I'd pushed large toothpicks into the cookies the second they came out of the oven, and that worked fine.) She got nice and sticky, covered ear-to-ear and fingertips-to-elbows with bright pink frosting.

The memories of E's birth are pretty funny. I had woken to a contraction around 3 a.m., but the next wasn't for 20 minutes and I didn't have to manage them in any special way, so no big deal. They sped up a little when I got up and showered, so my husband took Zooey, then just four weeks shy of his third birthday, to our friends' house for the day and stopped at the office to take care of a few things. But my contractions puttered out and I was left thinking the whole thing was just a sham, even though I was four days past my "official" due date. I set up the changing table and paced, disappointed. My husband returned home & we climbed back into bed. At 11 a.m. -- wham! I was in active labor.

My dear, darling, wonderful husband notified the doctor and the hospital and then proceeded to drive me absolutely nuts for the next 45 minutes while he washed his coffee cup, straightened up the house and puttered around for a while. The ride to the hospital was NOT fun -- the seat belt tightening under my belly at each stop light was thoroughly annoying, and I kept telling my husband not to drive over any bumps -- as if he had a choice! Though we live in Lincoln, Nebraska, we had to park somewhere in Iowa because the hospital parking lot was underconstruction (exaggerating), but I wanted to walk in instead of riding the courtesty golf cart that zipped over when some lady flagged the driver down.

Our room wasn't ready -- busy day in the maternity ward. (We found out later that another mom had given birth in the lactation consultant's office because all the labor rooms were full. And I recovered up on the orthopedic ward because maternity was overflowing.) So we went to the waiting area to labor. A grandmother wandered in to watch TV while her daughter or daughter-in-law delivered in another room, but after watching me have one episode of back labor, she disappeared in search of coffee and never came back.

At 12:30, my husband ran down the hall to say we needed a room NOW, and they obliged in about ten minutes. At 1 p.m., I was checked & told I was about halfway there, and my doctor was called & told it would be "an hour or two." My nurse started filling the jacuzzi tub for me -- best cure for back labor! At 1:10, my husband, who had missed lunch, went down the hall to the snack machine, and I went into the bathroom to pee. Minutes later, I couldn't talk, so I slammed the laundry cart against the bathroom wall two or three times, and my nurse and husband came running. They knew what I didn't -- the baby was right there! The nurse pulled the panic string and somehow, she and my husband got me up onto the bed. I got to squat because nobody took the time to make me lay down, hee hee hee! Four other nurses came running in, one got on the phone and all the rest started chanting, "Don't push, don't push!" Like I could help it. Our little girl came flying out in two pushes at 1:20. The doctor walked in at 1:21, just in time to hand her to me so I could nurse. Perfect baby with a perfect little head (thanks to a short stay in the birth canal and the smaller skull she inherited from my side).

Now that baby is a 22-lb. ball of fire with big blue eyes and a stubborn streak. She knows darn well how to climb off the couch feet first, slithering down on her tummy, but the other day she decided to go down squirrel-style -- hands first, then head. I was right there but just missed catching her. She tucked her head in time to avoid injury but didn't enjoy tumbling onto her back and cried heartily. You'd think that would have stopped her, but she's not giving up. She keeps trying to climb down head first! Takes after her mother, so we desperately need prayers.

The kids get along great, and I'm so glad. I've never been particularly close to any of my siblings. But Zooey, upon arriving at the hospital, snuggled up with the baby in his arms and sang, "Rock a bye, baby, on the tree top..." except with his own special line at the end, "And Zooey will catch you, cradle and all." Now, they make each other laugh like nobody else can, and if one is crying the other is sure to show up to offer comfort in some small way. They even play with Legos together -- Zooey puts them together and E. takes them apart. So far, so good.

Children are such a great blessing. Go on, go find yours and give them some big hugs. Or if they are grown up, at least call them or something. And if you are praying to conceive right now, I pray with you that you'll be welcoming another blessing very soon! (Hear that, Davey's Mommy?)



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