Eleven years ago today, was my “due date” for our first baby. I often joke about what my Facebook status would have been if it had been invented “back then”. I can hardly believe I have things to write about which even qualify for the statement of “back then”. It would probably have said something like: “Walked five miles to the Weldon’s with Matthew today to try to get this baby to come”. Or, “Mowed the grass on the riding mower at my parents today to try to get this baby to come.” Or, “Jumped on the trampoline today to try to get this baby to come.” You get the picture. I have a pretty hard time remembering what life was like with just Matthew and I in our little Philadelphia apartment. I have bits and pieces of memories, like how I vacuumed both of its 10-ft square rooms at least twice a day. Or how I excitedly pored over cookbooks and managed to cook for an army when it was just the two of us (a trait inherited from my mother). Or how I took walks to counteract all the snickers bars I ate during my pregnancy, which began exactly day one of our marriage. I remember trying to garden in our one-foot by three-foot sliver of hard, rocky soil, then calling it quits that summer. I remember the nasty black and yellow bathroom which reminded me of a bumble bee, and I still wonder why I registered for towels to match THAT bathroom, even though I really actually preferred the color green for my towels. I remember painstakingly dolling up the closet in the living room and transforming it into an itty bitty bassinet-sized nursery. I remember folding little girl clothes and wondering how it was possible that the kicking inside my belly was real and I wasn’t playing dolls anymore. I remember thinking babyhood would never end and I would never sleep again.
Then this weekend I pulled a 40-hr shift as mama/birth doula. It was an unbelievable experience, as always. Moms never cease to amaze me with their tenacity and determination to bring their babies into this world. When, after hours upon hours of exhausting work, she looked at her husband and with renewed strength said, I can do this, I got shivers up and down my spine. She was doing exactly what she was created to do, and as worn out as she was, the love in her eyes for her baby girl yet unseen was unmistakable. God’s divine hand is in that moment in such a palpable way. He extends His strength to the mother when there is none left of her own, and then breathes breath into a newborn’s lungs. When you get to stand in the presence of a miracle, you are always changed.
I drove home, chatting with Matthew to stay awake and somewhere during our conversation realized I was driving the opposite direction I should be. If you know me, you know I never get lost, I have an internal compass inside my head (inherited from my dad), and have driven the roads of Chester County for at least fourteen years. To be driving East when I should be driving West was absolutely hilarious and bizarre and so I pulled into a store for some juice. I got home, melted into the arms of my love for a big, strong hug, showered, and collapsed into bed, asleep in about one minute.
Eleven years ago I thought I’d never sleep again. This morning, around ten, a few curious children wandered into my room to make sure mommy was actually here. That little girl who decided to wait five more days to enter this world, walked gracefully into our room. Her curls go past her shoulders now. Her height reaches my own, if not slightly surpasses it. She was wearing a shirt with a horse on it, which describes her pretty well. She informed me how everyone had either read something for school or done their math, told me what she wrote on the chalkboard, and asked if she could get me anything. I never thought I’d sleep again, but now I get served breakfast in bed.
I am so excited to celebrate this girl’s eleventh birthday on Saturday. She is something special, and I am privileged to have a daughter like her.