Ten years ago I was holding a six pound, three ounce baby girl. Her mouth was like a little rose bud, and her arms and legs were so skinny. She was a peanut! Regular contractions had started at dinnertime the night before, around bowls of chicken noodle soup which my Peruvian friend told me would be sure to start labor. She was right, and by the time we had walked home to our little shoe-box apartment I was in full-fledged labor. When I arrived at the birth center at 2:30am, I was in hard labor. Just that week we had heard some very difficult news about my home in Africa. There had been an attack on the station where I was born and raised and a horrible massacre had then unfolded. It gives me too many tears to write what transpired during that dark time. You can read about it here. There was a mass exodus of people who left Nyankunde and marched for nine days to safety. The ray of hope that entered my mind as I labored with my firstborn, was the fact that along that arduous, horrendous march through rainforest, swamps, and rivers, some women in the group gave birth. New life in the midst of death and horror.
As I labored in my plush bathtub, I felt united to these women, and empowered by their bravery. It was a very real connection in my mind and heart. At 4:44 am, Nadine Ruth was born. Our life has never been the same. Today we celebrate our little girl who is a half-inch from being as tall as me. She has a huge, generous heart. Always having been a night owl, she now puts that nocturnal ability to work and usually helps me clean up the kitchen after everyone is in bed. She loves horses and animals. She has a love for people and if she could, she would have company every single day. We love her like crazy!