She was ten days late.
Every time I thought I was having a contraction, it turned out to be a false alarm. My husband had taken off an entire week from work around her due date and for that entire week, we sat and waited. Nothing.
The doctor told us that ten days past the due date was long enough - it was time to help our little girl (though we didn't know it was a girl at the time) come into the world.
I went into the hospital at 7 p.m. that night. They gave me a drug to induce labor. My husband stayed with me in the room, though the foolish hospital policy wouldn't let him sleep on the bed. So he slept on the chair.
At 4:30 a.m., I woke up. The pain was already substantial. I called my mom and dad at home.
"It's time," I said.
"We'll be right there," Dad said.
The nurse came in, told me to get up, walk around, take a shower. The pain started to increase. Finally, I walked down to the delivery room, my husband by my side.
The next few hours are a blur. I remember falling asleep through some of the contractions. The pain was so bad, I couldn't believe I'd wanted to do this whole thing naturally - no epidural (no way was someone putting a needle in my spine!) and no drugs. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and asked for some pain relief. It did nothing.
I formulated my own way for getting through the contractions. I held my arms out and made fists, over and over, getting through each excruciating moment. At one point, I didn't want my husband to touch me. He told me later that he went out to the waiting room where my parents were and said, "I don't know what to do. She won't let me touch her."
Strange what we do when we're in the midst of such pain.
And then it was time to push. My husband was right there beside me, holding my hand, telling me, "As soon as the baby comes, all the pain will disappear."
I clung to that hope. And pushed some more.
First the head, then the rest of the body, and my daughter was born.
My husband was right. The pain disappeared. And after awhile, they brought my beautiful little girl to me. When I held her in my arms, I realized all that pain had been worth it. And I would do it all over again for my daughter.
That was 9 years ago. Hard to believe that tiny little baby is now a rambuctious little girl, full of life and humor and empathy and creativity and so, so much more.
Happy birthday to my beloved daughter! I love you.
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