My Dear precocious Daughter turned eight a couple weeks ago. Eight years gone in a blink. Halfway to driving a car. Unbelievable! Of course, I still remember the day of her birth like it was yesterday. She caused a stir before she even entered the world. My girl-child likes her some drama. She wasn't moving satisfactorily when my pregnancy with her was six weeks from D Day--or should I say Bday (haha)? My doc put me on fetal monitoring every 72 hours. That means a trip to triage every three days. On this fateful morning, I had eight days left before she was supposed to arrive, and I went to triage for monitoring on the way to my first meeting of the day. I never made it to the meeting. Doc agreed that day that Baby wasn't moving enough, and we (that means "me") were going to have a baby that day. Drama.
I was shocked and caught totally off guard. I didn't even have "the bag" packed. I was supposed to wait a looooong time at home when I started labor (directions from my momma, the labor and delivery nurse, who warned me that first births can take a really looooooong time). Don't go to the hospital until the baby is crowning. Or something like that. Of course, I've been told the story many a time, about how I was nearly born in the backseat of the car in the middle of an Iowa snowstorm after Uncle R (my momma's brother) had a heck of a time getting her out of the upstairs bedroom where she was in major labor and flopping around like a fish--or something like that, the story goes. My dad was in the Navy and somewhere overseas at the time.
So there I was, intending to head to my morning meeting as soon as the needle on the monitor waved around satisfactorily and the Velcro belt around my belly was removed. The baby wasn't crowning yet. I don't think she had even "dropped." I hadn't had a single labor pain. And the doc said I was having this baby today. Next thing I knew I was being admitted and someone was poking an IV into my vein and my mom was at my side reminding me agin that this could be a looooong process. I was calling the husband telling him to pack that bag that I never got around to and bring me some movies for the loooooong wait. Oh, and by the way, you're having a baby. Today.
Couldn't have been an hour into this process when I noticed Baby's heartbeat was slowing waaaaay down. By the time I said something to my mom, still at my side, she already had a concerned look on her face. "Turn this way!" She ordered. Pause. "Turn that way!" She ordered. Pause. She pressed the nurses button (I was delivering at the hospital where my mom worked, but my mom wasn't on duty that day). My mom then opted not to wait for the nurse on duty to arrive. I'll spare you some detail, but she needed to remove the medication that had been inserted by my cervix to get the job rolling. Now we needed to stop the labor quicker than we had started it. I realized later that my daughter may not have made it if my mom hadn't been there (my nurse must have been off having coffee somewhere as she waited out the loooooooong process). Drama.
Doc arrives on the scene quickly while nurses and techs poke and prod me some more and someone thrusts a clipboard under my nose informing me that I need to sign it before I can go to the OR. I saw three pages of microscopic text, and was pretty sure that somewhere within I gave full consent for the medical personnel to do whatever they wanted to me with full agreement from me that I would never sue them for the mistakes they could be about to make-including that I could become paralyzed for life or die. We needed to do a c-section. I called my husband who had just finished getting me movies for the looooooong wait. I informed him that I just signed away all my rights and was at the mercy of the white coats wielding needles and knives. It hadn't clicked for me that there was any rush, so I didn't tell him to hurry. I hung up, and next thing I knew they were suiting up my mom to join us in the OR in case the husband didn't make it. Husband ended up arriving just as they began wheeling me out the door towards the OR. Drama.
I watched the ceiling as I was rolled through this corridor and that. It was a view I hadn't seen before, except for a dramatic camera shot here and there on the old tv series, "ER." I felt vulnerable and terrified. I didn't pay attention to this part in my birthing training. This isn't the route I was going to take. I was going to go into labor at home and wait a looooong time before I went to the hospital and deliver a baby without medication and without that baby being cut out of my abdomen. Doors swung open. People talked about me like I wasn't even in the room. Some man stood at my head unsmiling and later barked at me for fidgeting so much. I realized later he was the anesthesiologist. And he had a terrible bedside manner. I was flipped and turned and moved to a gurney that only half my body comfortably fit on. The "wings" came out and my arms were strapped down. There was a mask over my nose and mouth. I felt claustrophobic and waaaaay too vulnerable. This was seriously cramping my "gotta be in control" style. Sheet went up below my face. Doc asked if I could feel this. Then, could I feel that. Crap. I was freaking out. Not only could I not feel it, but my brain was telling my feet to move, and nothing was happening. Seriously freaking out. Panic. Drama. "No," I informed the doc. "I can't feel a thing." Crap. I can't feel a thing. I can't move.
The doc started narrating what she was doing. That she was cutting and which layer she was in. Crap. Shut up! I don't want to know this stuff. I can't feel a thing. I can't move. I'm laying on a 2x4 with my arms tied down. While I'm panicking, Mr. Personality Anesthesiologist is barking at me to be still, and the doc is informing me that she is cutting through my abdomen. And I had just signed away all my rights under great duress. Drama.
Then, "Oh, she's a cute one!" A baby crying. Lots of talking and hubub. In a few moments, they handed her to my husband. I could barely muster a care. I was shaking so bad that I was sure I would shake right off that 2x4 with my arms still tied down, and land on my face with my guts spilling out of my gaping belly. And then the doc narrated that she was sewing me up. Please stop telling me these details! It took forever. I gotta get outta here-but my legs won't move! Finally, the doc finishes. In rush the aides and nurses. They flip me this way and that off the 2x4. Oh crap-I'm looking at the blood splattered floor. Now I'm looking at the ceiling again! They're gonna drop me on my face for sure this time! Still can't move! Feet won't respond. Panic. Drama.
It was traumatic. But it didn't take long for me to fall in love with the tiniest person I had ever seen.
And the drama still hasn't stopped.
"I want' to be an inventor!" she recently announced, and then she began drawing intricate blue prints for various contraptions. I would find them all over the house. Detailed, complex robots. Crazy (but creative) ideas--one after another. This particular day (represented in the photographs), she decided to see if she could fly. She spent a good hour and a half creating gear and dreaming up how this could work. Cardboard wings. StuffMart bags around her arms and ankles for parachute action. Two balloons in her arms with clothespins holding them shut until she was ready to release the extra force of their air. Helmet, knee pads, elbow pads. And Crocs. That's an excellent choice in footwear when you are trying to fly. "I'm going to take a flying leap off the bed of the pickup!" she announced to her daddy and I. We convinced her that wouldn't be wise. But not wanting to break her spirit, we agreed to accompany her outdoors in the 105 degree heat to help her find something appropriate to jump off of and to cheer her on. She wanted to fly, and I figured the Wright Brothers had to start somewhere, too.
I won't have to tell you that she didn't get far. But if precociousness and perseverance is any indicator, eventually she will go far one way or another. It's been a wild ride. One that I hope stops its breakneck pace. Eight years went waaaaaaay too fast, and in the rush of the next eight I'm certain I will long for her to be satisfied to jump off of stuff in the backyard with homemade wings and shopping bags and balloons rather than trying to learn to drive a car. Slow down, Sweet Girl. You haven't let me catch my breath in eight years!