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?

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.


  1. I was celebrating my very first Christmas ... with tons of tears and smiles from my loved one because I was healing after having open heart surgery ... my 28 years and 26 hours of labor have meant a lot to my family as they learned 2 hours after being born ... I had been born with 3 Heart Defects or a malformed heart ... I have a normal sized heart with only 3/4 of the function ... I would end up having a few surgeries before my first Christmas and many more after ... I am thriving now ... I'm on "early retirement" too after only working 11 years ... but I always try to remember at least I got to work it ;) Happy Holidays ... and I have lived and am living a life that matters ... I now speak to people who have children born with Heart Defects as to ease their mind on the situation at hand and let them know ... tomorrow might just come :)

    Tell your daughter Happy Birthday by the way :)

  2. Hi Michael, Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. While I don't know what I was doing in December '82 (probably some 8th grade drama!) I remember my 9 year old's birth like it was yesterday. While I didn't have to work so hard to get her (in at 6am, baby at 10am) the emotional palette is similar.

    Congratulations to you and your wonderful family- such pronounced love is admirable. (We got a piece of that too!)

    Have a happy New Year Michael.

  3. A wonderful description of Love! Yes our children are worth all the labor. Your daughter seems beautiful.

  4. So - your daughter - has she always been empowered to control her own schedule? Good for her, and congratulations to both of you for embracing her.

    In 1982 I was being a single mother to my 10 and 12-year-old boys and finding they were self-empowered as well. What fun, sometimes.

    Well, happy birthday to your daughter, happy new year to all of you and all of us.