June 15, 1981 My first baby entered the world 30 years ago @ 8:45 P.M. to two exhausted, joyful parents.
It was a long time coming, at least to an impatient 23 year old woman. (Thirty years later, I think I’m still very impatient – something I would like to be different.)
The morning had barely broken, and I was out of bed. Anticipation, anxiety and discomfort were the drivers of such an early day. I made breakfast for My Beloved and we readied ourselves for the life-changing ride to the city. It was a big secret. My huge belly was no secret – oh no, it was unmistakeable – but, the day was OUR secret.
Make no mistake – we were excited beyond words. It superceded waiting for Santa, birthday parties and dressing up as a bride. Today, God’s gracious gift – our princess would be born. Due on July 4, the doctor decided it would be best for to arrive early. (Hindsight, being what it is – I would NEVER recommend this action.)
And so it was, June 15 was the selected date. We prepared clothing and diapers. My mom, Nanny, had made 5 dozen of the softest, fluffiest, whitest diapers. YUP- CLOTH diapers – to be washed and hung on a clothesline to billow in the wind on a sunny day. The white wicker bassinet from yesteryear was in readiness in our tiny living room corner in our 400 square foot cottage in Lepreau.
The only thing left to do was deliver a baby that day. The anticipation helped to mitigate my fear. The unknown was titilating. BOY or GIRL? Technology was very limited in its ability to prophesy. My feelings then and now remain the same. ‘If God wanted you to know, He would have installed a window.’ What better surprise to end a challenging day? It’s a …
Every day, every minute is the same length – BUT Labour Day/Birth Day minutes are quadrupled. I’ve never in my life experienced a day crawl by so slowly. It’s the weird mix of wild ride excitement and searing pain – medical procedure and intense hope.
During this time, apart from the morning, when he was ‘shoed away’ – My Beloved, a new dad to be, was steadfast, full of concern and comfort. It’s tough to watch a loved one struggle in pain.
It’s such a solitary journey in so many ways – yet his hand, his words, his handsome face never left me. As the day wore on, as is the case many times with stubborn, comfortable first babies, My Beloved was weary too. It was tough. An angel nurse came on shift around 6 or so and had the calm energy to encourage him to take a break. Get some food. Go for a walk. ‘I won’t leave her’, she promised. He was grateful and took her advice. When he came back, his spurt of energy gave us both strength amidst oxygen, heart monitors and worried faces.
Finally, the baby decided to relinquish her cozy cocoon and make an appearance. Final flurry because of the misplaced umbilical cord (wrapped twice around the baby’s neck) and with preparation complete…the next thing I heard was ‘It’s a girl, Jayne’ from the mouth of an overly excited new daddy. Oh my…my heart flooded with love for this little girl.
With stats quickly recorded and football status imposed…I had a very quick moment and off she went for further testing. General housekeeping ensued and I was finally in my room an hour or so later…and then with the fanfare of a rattling warming crib – Sarah-Jayne entered the room. Pink and fuzzy, soft and silky, cooing and squeaking – she was perfect and she was ours! With an exhausted Daddy and a now very awake Mommy, we shared some time, called everyone with our news and time for rest. Because of the phenomenon of not sleeping after giving birth – I was left to stare at the stars and replay the wonder of the day that produced My First Baby.
My mind went to the circumstances regarding my birth. A little girl born on a spring day, like my first baby – to less than ideal circumstances. Mother was not wanting the baby. Father was stuck with the aftermath. Yet, the little baby slept and ate, unaware of the vacuum of indecision. How different my baby’s birth day was for us! We planned and desired for this child, like Hannah’s words in Samuel ‘for this child I prayed and the Lord has heard my petition, blessed be the name of the Lord’.
I couldn’t wait until Sarah-Jayne was brought back to my room. I needed desperately to make a vow to her on our first day together. When that precious time arrived, so late at night, I held her so close under the stars twinkling in my window and told her ‘I don’t understand why or how a mom could give away her baby. You are so precious to me, Sarah-Jayne. I will never let anything come between us. You are my gift and I will never give you away.’ Sarah-Jayne responded with a baby grunt to communicate she understood my words. I kissed her precious baby cheek and we snuggled together in bed. The first of ever so many snuggles. The beginning of the best journey I could ever have imagined – the journey to my child’s heart.