There are moments that I’ll never forget. I can look at a picture and know what I was doing, thinking, feeling, and often, where we were, where we were going, and the feelings surrounding any time or event.
I waited years to become a Mother. I really believed that it wouldn’t happen. And, when it was finally happening, I was so overwhelmed with emotion I completely shut down in the delivery room when I should have been helping Zadey’s birth-Mom get through labor.
It all began around midnight on September 18, 2005. Zadey’s birth-Mom had been having contractions for days, she was exhausted, and multiple trips to the hospital told us she was not making progress, though the contractions were not Braxton Hicks. But, at midnight, they started to get worse.
Joanne working overnight at Target at the time, it was just birth-Mom and I so we decided to do a little walking. Because, you know, walking the Las Vegas streets at midnight is a great idea.
Walking was too much. And by 4:30 AM, she and I were having a conversation about how done she was. We decided that it was time to call Joanne home from work and head to the hospital.
We arrived at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas at 5:45 AM. We were sent to Labor & Delivery, and stayed in triage there for a bit. After checking her, we discovered that these days of labor hadn’t done anything to put her over 2 cm dilated. The information was more than both birth-Mom and I could bare. Days she had been contracting, and not just tiny little contractions. She was done. She needed sleep. We all needed sleep. This baby had to come out.
I walked to the nurses station, crying, and begged them — DO SOMETHING! GET HER OUT OF PAIN!
I didn’t know that my begging would mean action, but I had hoped. A nurse looked at me through my tears and told me “just a minute and I’ll come in.” I went back to birth-Mom’s triage room, and told her they were coming back.
She needed to be just 3 cm dilated to be admitted, we had just 1 cm to go. So the nurse came in and stretched her cervix to get the doctor to break her water and admit her.
I remember birth-Mom very clearly telling me that this part was worse than labor and delivery. Ouch! I cannot imagine.
At 6:36 AM, when I ran off to call my family and tell them it’s finally happening, the doctor arrived to break her water. We were admitted, and transferred to a private room.
Birth-Mom was a trooper through labor and delivery, and Joanne was an amazing, supportive coach for her. Meanwhile, I sat in the corner doing word search FREAKING OUT!
At 11:55 AM, Zadey arrived, just as tiny as could be. It took them about 10 minutes to decide that Zadey needed the NICU, and I followed her from that point on while Joanne stayed with birth-Mom.
It was 1:30 PM when I finally got to hold my baby girl for the very first time. And today I still very clearly remember the flood of emotions that ran over my body. I remember being so excited, so nervous, so thankful, so overwhelmed, and so full of hope and fear. It was an amazing moment. A moment I longed for, for many years.
In that moment, I became Mom.
Zadey is now the oldest of three. And still, she is the love of my life. The first one to call me Mom, the first one to slam a door in my face, and the first one to tell me “I love you” more than twice in the same day.
She is such a sweet, amazing, caring, and considerate little girl. In this last year she has become an amazing big sister, and is only getting better.
She loves with her whole heart, and is so sensitive she daily teaches me lessons on compassion.
I love hearing Zadey talk about her plans, and the evolution of the perfect childhood dreams. I anxiously look forward to her growing up and discovering the kind of woman she will be.
There are 10 more years that I know will be at home with us. And I cannot begin to fathom what she will teach me in these years, or what we will go through in her teenage years.
But, I just hope that over these next 10 years, I continue to learn so much from her while giving her all of me that I can. I hope when walks out in the world, she’s still a kind, sensitive, sweet woman, and in some small way, I hope I did that.
Today we celebrate Zadey’s 8th year of life. 8 years. And she’s every bit amazing today as she was when she arrived at 11:55 AM, 8 years ago.
Happy birthday, my little love.