Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sarah the VIII

Two stories from your birth--

First: Mom and I spent the entire day (7 am is when she started going into labor--a process I'll explain to you . . . or maybe your mother is best equipped to handle that discussion . . . anyway, labor began slowly around 7 am on the 21st. Yep, it was the day before you were born. This stuff takes a long time. So, we're spending the day home from work, monitoring how she feels. We go to the Hilliard mall (or was it the Southland Mall?) and walk around, talking, breathing, discussing the plans and procedures and what we've prepared for--and we've prepared . . . at least we thinks so (more on this later--this is a writing technique called foreshadowing).

And we spend the whole day and the labor is slowly intensifying, but nothing significant, meaning nothing that demands a doctor. So, night comes and we go to sleep . . . with the bags packed and everything set. It was around 1:30 or so in the morning (now it is today--July 22--but back in the Year 2000) and Mom wakes me up to say that she is beginning to really feel the contractions and we should go to the hospital.

We grab the bags, get in the car and drive. Here is the real focus on this first story. We are driving in the early morning hours, in the little Escort that you and Grace always called The Red Car. I'm driving and Mom is trying to relax and breathe. We get off of the interstate at the Grandview exit and begin driving through downtown Grandview as our path to get to Riverside Hospital. (I'm sure that was a better way to go, but the highways were configured a bit differently then and we still lived in SW Columbus, and I'm a creature of habit, so I went the way I knew best in my head.) \

ANYWAY . . . we're driving up Grandview Avenue and it's about 2 am and we stop at a red light that is (for some reason) not flashing as most traffic lights do in the early morning when traffic is light. So, we're stopped at a functioning red light and the car is idling and suddenly Mom notices someone walking toward her side (the passenger side) of the car, stepping off of the sidewalk into the street. There was a crosswalk at this intersection, so I can't confirm that he was intentionally walking towards us, but it's 2 am, Mom is in labor, the bars have just recently closed down, Mom is in labor, and it's 2 am. We make sure the car doors are secured, but we don't drive away because the light is still red--and we're good citizens, I guess. We'd rather have a baby (you) in the car of our small Escort with potential drunks observing in the windows than break the law? Sounds about like us.

Mom has noticed the man approaching; I have noticed the man approaching; we've locked the doors; the light is red. Mom is getting a bit tense, but luckily . . . the light turns green and we pull away calmly like nothing untoward was happening. And perhaps nothing odd was happening at all, but it felt a bit weird in the car. So, I'll always remember that part of your birth.

Second: After the labor and delivery (which I won't get into here, as that's another discussion we'll have on another day)--likely due to exhaustion and relief that you were fine--Mom and I made a decision. All day long we were calling people on the phone to tell them the good news. Mom was trying to get some rest, but you don't get a lot of rest in a hospital, what with the nurses coming and going. And Mom had a lot to learn about proper nursing techniques and I had tedious paperwork to sign and we both had to say hi to friends and visitors that dropped in throughout the day. So, eventually evening came.

Being first-time parents (and therefore naive and untutored), we told the nurse that we would keep you in the room with us that first night. We thought, well, you know, you were our responsibility seeing as how we'd decided to have you and all . . . so, why not start right away, right?

You didn't know any better, being only half-a-day old, so I don't hold a grudge, but you cried a lot that first night. And, as I said, we were tired. We struggled through that first night as a trio--I don't really remember how. The next day--July 23rd--after almost two days with little sleep and plenty of drama, we faced a new morning with a tired and cranky you.

There was this one moment (the point of this second story) when Mom and I were sitting alone in the hospital room with you in our arms--I forget who was holding you. And we just looked into each other's puffy, exhausted eyes and we started to cry. You might think we were crying for the life we were leaving behind or the life we didn't understand ahead. Maybe we cried for happiness we couldn't really explain. But fundamentally, we were bone tired and we had stupidly prevented the nursing staff from taking you away to give us some rest time. (Needless to say, this was the first thing that you taught us about being smart parents and gratefully allowed the nursing staff to wheel Grace and Hannah away that first night.)

Anyway, those are my two favorite stories about the day--this day--that you were born. I eagerly await many more stories in the future.

Happy 8th birthday, Sarah.

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