Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Alexandra!

Chicago, January 29, 1976...it was 15 days beyond your due date, and I had about given up on your ever arriving. In fact, in a bit of nesting instinct that only other mothers can probably truly understand, that afternoon I'd gone to Marshall Field's on State Street (the only location in those days) and bought some fabric, and that evening, I was sitting upstairs in our landlord's house on State Street (we were house sitting), sewing a new maternity dress. It seemed logical at the time!

But at a little after 10:00, my water broke...FINALLY, you were on your way! Dad and I were terrifically excited. Of course, I'd had my hospital bag packed for several weeks by then, complete with our LaMaze brown paper bag (to prevent hyperventilation during labor), lollipops (to provide a little sustenance during labor...ha!), pajamas (I intended to nurse), etc., etc.

Dad decided that it was terribly important that all the shoes he owned be polished, so he went over to the coach house (where we actually lived) and spent about an hour and a half polishing every pair of shoes he owned. That seemed perfectly reasonable to me. About every half hour, I'd have a contraction. That left lots of time to rest in between, but oh! those contractions! There was no doubt you were on your way. Before Dad left for the coach house (a hop, skip and a jump across the back yard) he told me to call the doctor.

"But it's after 10:00!" I said, shocked.

"Jude," he said, "That doesn't matter. He needs to know you're in labor."

Mortified, I called Dr. A, who inquired how far apart my contractions were and then said, sounding incredibly cheerful, that I should go to the hospital when they were 10 minutes apart.

I said OK, and tried to find things to do around the house. Labor was progressing slowly, but I was too excited to sleep. Eventually, Dad came back home and got a little sleep, while I browsed several books on childbirth.

Eventually, it was morning, and my contractions were about 12 minutes apart. At a little after 7:00 AM, Dad decided we'd waited long enough, and called a cab. It was bitterly cold outside, and icy. The cab driver took one look at me, and said helpfully, "Don't worry, I always carry cuticle scissors!"

I was ready to tell him to go on his way, and wait for another cab, but Dad assured me everything would be fine and we got into the cab and made it to Passavant, at Northwestern, without incident. At the hospital, Dr. A said he'd been about to call us, because he was getting worried, but he was happy to see that everything was progressing normally. Labor was becoming pretty intense then, but the hospital said they'd lost all our pre-registration papers, so Dad had to leave and spend almost an hour filling those out all over again. Eventually he returned, and we did LaMaze breathing during contractions and waited for you to make your appearance...which, eventually, after 17 hours of labor, at around 5:00 in the afternoon on January 30th, you finally did.

I will never forget the moment you were born...you took a long, hard look around the delivery room...never believe that newborns can't see...and I was quite sure you were making a list (and checking it twice). Then you...ahem...had a big poop all over Dr. A's shoes...he thought that was quite funny...after which you were weighed (9 lbs., 1 oz) and swaddled before being handed over to me, and as soon as you were, you looked into my eyes, sighed, snuggled up and began, quite earnestly, to nurse...it was the happiest of times...Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

5 comments:

Fran said...

Happy Birthday Alexandra! That was such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it with us. She was a beautiful baby!

dreaminglily said...

How sweet... And what a BEAUTIFUL photo! The first one took my breath away!

And, of course, what a BEAUTIFUL baby! Darling smile.

Beauty just runs rampant in your life doesn't it :oP

Happy (belated) Birthday Alexandra!

~Lily

emmapeelDallas said...

LOL! Thanks for the compliments, Lily!

Jan said...

What a beautiful story. Hope Alexandra had a wonderful birthday--and you, too, remembering! Thank you for sharing, esp. the sweet picture.

Tammy said...

Judi you looked GORGEOUS! What a beautiful way to honour your baby girl! Great story and lovely family genes. ;) XXOO