good day sunshine


10 years ago today, i was in quite a predicament. i was pregnant beyond all recognition with a little person: you, my darlin’, a challenge even before you entered the big world. after an ultrasound every month for the previous 9 months (due to low amniotic fluid), you just didn’t want to let me see whether you were a girl or boy. (i’ll be darned if one time, you actually held your tiny hands in front of your naughty bits so we couldn’t see.)

but i knew.

you didn’t seem to want to move a lot at first; and since i had read all those stupid baby books that all first-time moms read when they’re expecting, i was suitably nervous — were you okay in there? then, when i was resting one day, six months along, watching some VH1 show on the Beach Boys, you started suddenly to kick the living crap out of me every time the Beach Boys sang. and yes, daddy went out and bought a Beach Boys CD to test out the theory: yes, every time you heard the Beach Boys, you got really, really excited. (so much for my lyin’ in bed just like brian wilson did.)

so there i was, very pregnant. and my blood pressure, normally picture-perfect, was zooming into the stratosphere. on december 1st, when i showed up to the OB-GYN practice, the doctor on call put you and me on a monitor, and sent me home. come back tomorrow, she said. if your blood pressure is still so high, we”ll bring you back in the evening. see, dr. loewith is solo tomorrow, so we’ll let her get through her day and then induce you in the evening after she’s less busy.

so enter december 2. i had assured daddy that he could bring the car into the shop and take the bus and metro downtown to work; the doctor the day before told me that they’d make me wait until the evening and then put the proverbial jumper cables on to get you moving into this world. enter the indomitable dr. loewith: she put us on the monitor again, told me that you didn’t need to be in me anymore, and i surely didn’t need you in me anymore, either. i should waddle my wisconsin-sized ass across the street and admit myself: it was time to have a baby.

but your partner dr. X  told me that i should have to wait until you’re less busy since you’re on your own today, i explained to her.

pffft, she replied. that’s stupid. who cares how busy i am – if you need to go in, you need to go in! (i will point out to you, darlin’, that the other dr. somehow left the practice soon afterwards. and oh, how i miss the refreshing candor of dr. loewith and wish she hadn’t moved west.)

so, i waddled my gigantor self across the street, then up to the third floor of the hospital. and i made a phone call. BC, i would have paid money to see the look on your father’s face when i told him that i was, in fact, having a baby. now. yes, right now. and yes, i knew that the car was in the shop, and i knew you had to figure out how the hell you are going to get to the hospital after taking a bus to the train and the train to a train and then walking to work. but your daddy, in typical daddy fashion, just. figured. it. out.

that’s just what he does best.

so at some point, daddy showed up, huffing and puffing. i know he was there in time for my epidural; i know because something went wrong when the doctor first put the needle in my back and a wave of weirdness went straight down my leg for a split second. (your daddy, man that he is, never explained to me what happened. well, not until i was about to get my epidural when i was in labor with your brother, that is. honey, he pointed out, the needle bent in your bone. you broke the needle.) (yes, ladies. this is exactly what you want to hear when you’re about to be stuck again in a terribly sensitive place, a place where if something goes wrong, you don’t walk. ever.) but then, it was working, and i was working with it. ah, childbirth… a walk in the park, right? oh, it hurts, but i can manage it, i’m a pro, i’m…

huh? OW!

guess what, sweetie? mommy goes through epidurals like your brother goes through slurpees. i needed my fix. and i needed it now. i tried to talk to daddy in my sweetest voice ever.

honey, can you please tell the nurse i need more epidural?

daddy, who had been there with me throughout the lamaze classes; who had suffered through all sorts of unmentionable baby information sessions, tried to talk the supportive patter he had learned so well:

honey, he said, try to breathe through it.

now, BC, you know i am not a violent person. but trust me, darling, that when you are in the throes of labor pains, you may end up swearing like a longshoreman. you may end up making promises, insane promises, just to make the pain go away. you may even pledge to vote republican; it makes your head spin how it feels. i am telling you this because i need you to understand this next bit, something i have never before and never again done. you need to know that i was out of my head in agony. and your father’s supportive alan alda jibberjabber made me think he didn’t really understand me. and sister, i needed to be understood. right there, right then. i grabbed hold of your daddy’s nice clean oxford shirt, right at the collar. i pulled him close to me so that he could hear me. i looked him in the eye. and i uttered as clearly as i possibly could:

you. fucking. breathe. through. it. get. me. the. fucking. nurse. NOW!

your father, looking like a deer in the headlights of a speeding HumVee, immediately snapped out of his nice-guy stupor and hopped to it more quickly than i have seen him do anything in his life. voila! my epidural arrived. and evil exorcist mommy receded and happy, halcyon mommy returned.

in fact, dr. loewith nearly missed you arriving; i was chillin’ and coolin’ like a snowman so much, i had no idea you were making your way down the highway. whoa, stop pushing! she cried. huh? i’m pushing? oh, so that’s what i’m doing!

well, sister, i had literally 10 minutes of pushing that i knew about before you arrived. and there you were, all red and screaming your little head off. i was thrilled beyond belief to see you, to meet you. (you know i cried. that’s what i always do, major boohoo that i am. i’m happy: i cry. i’m sad: i cry. i’m hungry: i… wait. that’s what YOU did back then.) i counted your fingers and toes: pinky, you were as perfect as the 4th of july.  we snuggled before you were whisked away to be cleaned and tested and probably grilled on your involvement in the disappearance of jimmy hoffa.

because at that time, babies had been switched at the university of virginia hospital, i told your father that under no circumstances should he take his eyes off of you.

true to his word. he never did.

he still hasn’t.

all’s this to say that 10 years ago today, you changed my life forever. you made me a mom. and while every day has not been a shiny, happy cakewalk, i would not trade you for all the tea in china (in spite of what you might think some days.) you manage to smile, no matter what. which makes me smile, no matter what. you are the sunniest, the funniest, and the bunniest. i love you to all the pink, purple, and rainbow moons and stars.

happy birthday, Beloved Child.

a rare moment asleep.

a rare moment asleep.

11 Responses to “good day sunshine”

  1. Awww…happy birthday BC.

    Oh, I can SO picture your less than well behaved moment with BS! Hahaha..poor man had no clue was he was stepping in 😉

  2. OMG, adorable Sleeping Baby picture.

    Happy Birthday, BC!

  3. OMG, adorable Sleeping Baby picture.

    Happy Birthday, BC!

  4. *sniff*

    Happy Birthday, sweetie!

    Deep breath, Mommy! Yes, she’s growing up, but she’ll always be your beautiful sunshine-y girl!


  5. Aww, congratulations! I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary of becoming a mom too – isn’t it amazing how much has changed?

    Happy Birthday BC!

  6. Happy birthday to your little girl! (And happy anniversary to you, too.)

  7. Happy Birthday, BC!

  8. Wonderful story. Kinda makes you wannna . . . . nyahhhh.

  9. thanks, all. it wasn’t the most remarkable day for her, but she had cupcakes at school (and at the bus stop – lord, i’m turning into turbo mom), a visit from her beloved aunt maren, presents, dinner at her favorite restaurant, and the chocolate oreo peanut butter cup cheesecake (so-so.) not at all shabby, one would say.

  10. Awwwwww! Made me mist up a little bit there. Great storytelling for a great girl. Hope she had a wonderful day.

  11. your post almost made my eyeballs leak … Happy Birthday BC!

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