Monday, December 27, 2010

Labor of Love

It happened on Christmas Day 28 years ago. It all began on the 22nd. We thought it would happen on the 23rd, but it didn’t. Then for sure it would happen on the 24th, but it didn’t. Finally, after 57 hours of active labor, our beautiful daughter was born. Can anyone beat that?

By active labor I mean contractions at least every ten minutes. Once that was happening, and late that evening of the 22nd, we got our bags and headed to the hospital knowing that at any minute we would become proud parents…..and we waited. After a few hours the hospital sent us away. They suggested we take a walk and come back later and so we did. Our baby wasn‘t ready to come out yet.

We returned the afternoon of the 23rd. This time they checked us in. Contractions were still coming every ten minutes, but now we were dilated to two centimeters. We called the grandparents-to-be and a few friends. Soon the waiting room was filled with our entourage and anticipation………and they waited.

With few exceptions everything after that is a bit of a blur. Late morning of the 24th , the doctors decided to induce labor and gave our soon-to-be mother Pitocin. Two hours of wild contractions later (and language that would make a sailor blush), still no dilation. “Mom” got some Demerol so she could rest and relax still contracting every ten minutes. They gave me nothing. That was how we spent December 24th.

Then on the morning of December 25th, they were preparing us for a Caesarian procedure. Finally. Just get it done….until someone made a suggestion. “Why don’t we try the Pitocin one more time?” and we did.

BAM! Wild contractions and we went from two to ten centimeters in just ten minutes. ”A baby is coming. A baby is coming.”…..or so we thought. The dilation was then followed by two hours of pushing and then “Voila”. A perfect child, our beautiful girl was born and brought into this world. The new mother finally had her healthy, beautiful child in her arms and finally got to rest.

Since then she has done everything a child is supposed to do. She has brought us endless joy, heartache, pride, grief, love and affection. Now that she is 28 years old, we can look at her and see the extraordinary woman she has become. She is beautiful, kind, smart, caring, independent and so much more. Looking at her today, I wouldn’t trade one minute of those 57 hours.

That’s what we were doing on Christmas 1982 and the day before and the day before that. What were you doing?

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