11 years ago today I was in hour 46 of a 56 hour labor that would culminate in the birth of our first child, who everyone said was a boy. (Not because of the ultrasound, which I didn’t have, but because of the way I was carrying). With me at the birthing center that day was Joshua, of course, along with various nurses and midwives and my dearest friend Tina, who had flown in from Germany to be with me. Tina is a doctor, and started her career working in Ob-Gyn. (She has since switched to urology – she said she’d had enough of screaming pregnant women to last a lifetime – now she gets the whiny men…) Once we were 2 days or so into the labor, she turned to me and said, “You’re having a girl.” How did she know? Well, every time they would check the baby’s heart rate, it never wavered. 56 hours of labor and the heart rate didn’t increase even by one beat. Tina said that if I was having a boy and the labor was that long, the heart rate would rise. Boys don’t deal as well with the stress of a long labor. (Some would say that is true of the grown up boys who might be in attendance as well.) And of course she was right. Maya was born at 8:03am on a Wednesday, 10 days after her due date and 56 hours after the first real contraction kicked in.
11 years later we are in full on pre-party mode, which means a lot of hyper girl energy running around in anticipation of her big day. Final preparations are completed, and the only things left are the purchase of balloons and the picking up of the cake, which we will do in the morning. (For the record I offered to make a cake this year and Maya looked and me and said, “Uh, no thanks!” And truly, no cake of mine could ever rival the buttercream frosting feast that is a Cupcake Cafe cake.) At 8:24pm this evening, Maya announced, “I only have 11 hours and 39 minutes left until I turn 11!” Excitement, needless to say, is running high.
My daughter who usually wakes up after 9 will wake up just before 8am in order not to miss the exact moment she turns 11. Joshua will be at the store early but will call right at 8:03 to regale Maya with the tale of the moment after she was born, when they handed her to me and she immediately began searching for the food. She ate, we got cleaned up and then Maya, Tina and I all slept for the next 12 hours or so on the big bed in my room. It was the last time she slept 12 hours at a stretch until she was 17 months old, when I finally got smart and realized this baby did not NEED to wake up 3 times a night any more to nurse! People say “Ferberizing” your child is a bad thing? For me it was a sanity thing. Meaning I was going to lose mine. So Joshua and I stood outside her door the first night for what seemed like hours. (It was 10 minutes). On night two she cried for 5 minutes. On night three she slept and I woke up the next morning thinking, “Wow, so this is what 8 hours of sleep feels like!” She is now 11 (almost), sleeps great, never had anxiety issues around bedtime or sleep and does not seem to be permanently damaged in any way.
But I digress.
Tomorrow is Maya’s birthday. Parents like to say things like, “They grow up too fast.” or “Just wait, she’ll be grown up before you know it.” or “If only they could stay little!” But I’ll be honest, I like my kids more and more the older they get. Yes, they were cute when they were little (actually, Maya looked cute but was a terrible infant with a scream that could break glass which she would launch into for no apparent reason other than the world at that moment was not to her liking), but now they are these amazing people who raise money for charity and figure out how to make and edit videos and who are generally kind and insightful. How great is that? I wouldn’t exchange the people they are now for another year of baby-hood for anything.
10 hours and counting!