Forty years ago just about this minute, which is to say at 7:46 on December 31st, I was in the delivery room with my OB/GYN who had decided to induce labor even though I wasn’t even due yet – so that, as he put it, “he could give Dad here the tax deduction, har-har.” (Oh the sexism in those days! He had also told us two weeks before the birth that while I did my “huffing and puffing,” my husband was welcome to “come in and heckle” if he liked, – as if this were all about HIS brilliant performance!)
When, at 6 o’clock that morning, we showed up at the hospital as we were told to do, he ordered the full humiliating ‘prep’ done and then personally inserted a kind of knitting needle into me to make my waters break, so of course the child was born with tiny cuts on her head. Then later, when things weren’t moving fast enough for him, he brought on the Pitocin and as the time passed, went on to crank the dose up and up until I was almost levitating off the gurney. Someplace in there came the Epidural, one of life’s great blessings, so everything else was easy. But if my body was blissed out, my mind was as clear as can be and I do remember him telling one nurse to call his wife and say that he’d be at the New Year’s Eve party by 10.
And I guess he was. By 10 the three of us were cozily ensconced in a room. At 11:55 exactly, the nurses on duty brought us a split of champagne and we toasted the future.
We see backward so clearly. We see ahead so poorly. We didn’t know this baby would be the first of three, or that she would be such a mild philosophical child. She was easy from the start – well, except for that 8th grade year when she was doing the hard work of separating from us.
in 9th grade with her cousin Katy at the beach
Today though, she is altogether launched. Today she is 40, thirteen years older than I was when I gave birth to her. Can that even BE? We had a wonderful winter as I think back on it. I wrote thank-you notes for baby gifts and the three of us napped and napped…
…resting up for the excitement of watching that landmark series Roots based on the remarkable book by Alex Haley.
She was too thin at first and then she chubbed up – and before we knew it, Spring came and she crawled down from our laps and away from us, as all babies must.
How blessed we are though, because all these years later we can still get to her in 22 short minutes. Oh Happy birthday Carr! What a joy it has been to watch you grow!