Thursday, February 18, 2010
She’s Six Today and I Feel Sick.
She’s six today and I feel sick.
The birthdays of my three children have also caused me to feel faint, unwell, and irrational.
Every passing year brings the opportunity to publicly lament the fact that my children have become twelve months older. I don’t know why it is surprising to me. It’s not as though I really expect the Laws of Time to suddenly suspend for my particular family. A satisfactory understanding of chronometry would suggest a personal acceptance of the manner in which the clock is measured, but I also know that despite said head knowledge, I still found myself in a state of shock that yet another year has expired.
The issue remains that each passing year is a step closer to self-sufficiency for the three of them and a giant leap towards psychosis for the one of me. (My husband does not want me to include him in the dramatics and irrationality that is brought on by birthdays. He is reasonable and well balanced like that. It is irritating.)
The first words to emerge from the toothless grin this morning were, “Mommy, I’m finally six!” For Mary Mac, it is a day that she has been looking forward to ever since the momentous day she joyfully announced, “Mommy, I’m finally five!” The enthusiasm in which my daughter embraces another year rivals the eagerness in which I looked forward to her arrival six years ago.
I couldn’t wait to meet the baby girl the obstetrician promised I would deliver. It would be my third and final child – as evidenced by the “wing clipping” appointment my husband already had on his calendar – and I was bursting with anticipation. Sort of the same way the elastic in my maternity underwear was teetering on explosion.
In those final days of pregnancy, I experienced an impatience that can only be described as supernatural. Couple that restlessness with a history of birthing babies relatively quick and the notion that I was going to deliver ANY MINUTE became a somewhat manic preoccupation. Timing the birth of my little girl within the window of all available anesthesia was a prospect I did not intend to miss.
Although this was not my first maternity rodeo, I began second-guessing every little twinge and spasm, like a rookie cowboy questioning every bump and buckle of his ride. Doubts about those spasms graduated to certainty of the pain, and the bat call to my husband was made.
Off to the hospital we raced, suitcase in one hand and cell phone in the other, calling our family and friends about our baby’s imminent arrival. Checking in at the front desk, I inquired of the whereabouts of the anesthesiologist, reminding all who could hear that I was ready for the numbing process to begin. Stat.
With a roll of her eyes, the lady at the front desk informed me that there was protocol to follow before Dr. Epidural could be called – inconvenient details like assignment of room, receipt of backless gown and actual examination to determine stage of labor.
Hoping to be considered compliant, I reluctantly agreed to their demands and obediently followed the nurse to my new room. However, I walked in a bent over position, making my spinal column readily available to any anaesthetist that happened to pass me in the hall.
As visions of pink booties danced in my head, the nurse completed her examination. With a sarcastic snap of her prophylactic glove, it was dramatically announced that I was nowhere near being in labor. To punctuate her disdain, the nurse reached into a shirt pocket, abstracting a pre-printed card that listed in bullet form all the signs of true labor. She further suggested that I examine it very carefully before my next visit to the maternity ward.
I would go on to collect three more copies of that spiteful card.
On the fourth occasion of ejection from the delivery ward, we happened upon my obstetrician in the elevator, whose very presence caused me to burst into tears. “Joni, what’s wrong?” she asked in a voice full of concern.
Because words were temporarily unavailable, I held up all four of the rejection cards, and cried an ugly cry that makes all others look pretty. My kind-hearted physician looked at me and then at my weary husband, and finally said the words I wanted to hear, “Let’s go have this baby.”
And I did.
And it was worth the snide looks given at all of my hospital entrances and the pitiful glances at all of my exits.
It was worth accepting informational cards in bullet form, when everyone knows I like instructions numbered.
And it was worth the immeasurable joy of those first six seconds that today I celebrate in years.
Sweet girl, you make my heart full. The world is a better place because you are in it, despite its unyielding adherence to the Laws of Time.
Happy, happy birthday Mary Mac. You are so loved.