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Friday, July 15, 2011

Eight Years Ago

Eight years ago I woke up thinking I wasn't going to make it to work. I just didn't feel well and was lethargic. I called into work sick saying that if I felt better later that morning I would come in.

Eight years ago I sat in the glider with a heating pad on my back, wrapped in a blanket, and a baby-name book in my lap. I fell asleep off and on for about an hour.

Eight years ago I went back to bed and tried to get comfortable in different positions with pillows. Most of the time I spent on my knees hunched over a stack of pillows, rocking, alternately rubbing my back and stomach, drifting in and out of sleep.

Eight years ago Joe called me from work to see how I was doing. I said I was pretty sure I was having contractions and was trying to time, and record, them. But maybe they were just Braxton Hicks. I didn't know for sure, but I just didn't 'feel well.'

Eight years ago Joe suggested I try to get up and walk around because, you know, we read that in all the pregnancy books. It might help. I mumbled 'mmm-hmm' but to myself I was thinking 'Oh whatever. Forget everything I read to prepare for this. All I feel like doing is lying on these pillows, rocking, and rubbing my back, and moaning through the bouts of pain.'

Eight years ago Joe came home on his lunch break and helped me out of bed to walk through the house for a few minutes. I told him I just wanted to go back to bed.

Eight years ago I decided to get in the tub, because supposedly being in the water makes the contractions easier to handle. Being in the tub only seemed to make it worse.

Eight years ago I called Joe at work and said he should probably come back home. Yes, now.

Eight years ago he came home to find me still in the bathroom, out of the tub, hunched over the toilet (lid down, thank you very much) rocking and moaning and rubbing my back.

Eight years ago Joe wanted me to get in the car. I didn't want to move from that spot. I didn't want to sit in a car and ride to the hospital. I told him to just call an ambulance because I couldn't move.

Eight years ago I made the blood drain from Joe's face when in a scared and urgent voice I told him I thought I could feel the baby's head now and to please look to see if he could see the head. (You can't be responsible for anything you say in the middle of labor, right?)

Eight years ago I told Joe to load up the car with my suitcase, camera, video camera, pillow, snacks, etc etc etc while I continued to wait in the bathroom and then I would leave to go to the hospital.

Eight years ago Joe finally managed to get me up off the bathroom floor and out to the car. I thought I would be too uncomfortable sitting up in the front seat, laboring, so I sat in the back so I could be semi-hunched over my pile of pillows.

Eight years ago Joe drove to the hospital pretty much one-handed while the other hand reached across the backseat so I could hold it and squeeze through the contractions. When we were half-way to the hospital he said I had 3 contractions, so that meant just getting through 3 more and we would be at the hospital. He was close...it was 4 more.

Eight years ago we parked at the hospital and I told Joe to leave all of our things in the car and just get me registered and in a room first, and then he could come back to get the bag and everything else. Because you know, first time births take hours upon hours upon hours.

Eight years ago we checked in to L&D at 3:00. It was calm and quiet at the desk, no one was in a hurry...had to answer questions and paperwork. I leaned on Joe and rocked back and forth and let him do the talking.

Eight years ago they got me in a room and told me to put on a robe and get on the bed so I could be checked. But at that moment I didn't want to lie down, I just wanted to stand on my feet and rock back and forth. The nurse told me the sooner they could check to see where I was the sooner they could probably let me back out of bed to walk around.

Eight years ago I finally got the robe on and got on that bed. There was still no big rush as the nurse got everything going for all the pre-labor preparations.

Eight yeas ago someone checked me and the nice, calm, serene, slow-pace was shattered as she yelled out, "She's complete with a bulging sac of water! Get Cindy (midwife) over here NOW!" Then my water broke.

Eight years ago I told Joe, "Guess it's too late for an epidural."

Eight years ago Cindy arrived within minutes, there were nurses all over my room. One of the nurses grabbed my thigh and told Joe to get my other leg, she gave me instructions on how to grab my thighs, breathe, push, something or other, and I could push now. I got all ready and then said something like, "Wait, can you explain that again?"

Eight years ago, at 3:45, 45 min after checking in to the hospital, I gave birth. There hadn't been time for Joe to go back and get all the 'stuff' from the car after all - including the camera. There are no just-after-birth pictures, and baby-being-weighed pictures, of Kayla.

Eight years ago I heard Joe say, "It's a girl!" (We hadn't found out during the pregnancy.)

Eight years ago they placed her across my lap, I looked into her face for the first time and said, in a voice that sounded very detached from the whole situation, "She does have Down syndrome, doesn't she?"

Eight years ago I became a mother. A mother of a daughter. A mother of a child with Down syndrome.

Eight years ago what I thought only happened to 'other people' became my reality.

Eight years ago my beautiful, wonderful, amazing, stubborn, strong-willed, free-spirit, arms-crossing-miss-attitude, impulsive, friendly, lovable Kayla came in to the world just as she was meant to be.

Happy birthday sweet girl. I love you.

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stephanie said...

Happy Birthday Gorgeous!!!!

I just had a copy of Gifts in my hands yesterday and was reading your story. it was beautiful then and it's beautiful today !!!

Your blog was one of my first findings here in blog land. I was completely mesmerized by Kayla. :)

my family said...

so beautiful...happy birthday sweet girl.

Thanks for the tears so early in the morning:)

Muttering Mama said...

Happy Birthday, Kayla!!!! Happy Mommy Day, Michelle!

Our stories have a similar ring to them. You got me beat, though. It took me 56 minutes from check in to delivery! Ha! Never a dull moment, right?

Beth said...

Happy Birthday, Kayla!!!! What a great post!

Bonita said...

Happy Birthday, beautiful Kayla!!!

Michelle, I remember the day I found your blog via a blog carnival or something. I couldn't stop looking at Kayla. Her pictures drew me in and I've been drawn in ever since.

Hope your family has a marvelous day celebrating Kayla!

Omaha Mama said...

What a sweet, sweet post! Now I've got tears. I'll always remember Kayla's birthday, she and Brenna being just six days apart. :-)

My little guy has no hospital pictures until hours after the birth either. We did pretty much the same thing, only I came in screaming (SCREAMING) and they rushed my right down the hall. No paperwork, no forms. I gave birth in a tshirt. The memories of which will only ever be in our minds because the camera was still in the car!

Happy birthday Kayla - - I hope that it's a magical day! Can't believe that our girls are EIGHT.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Cammie Heflin said...

Happy Birthday Kayla! Addy and I love reading about you all of the time, you are a precious little girl, I hope your day is fabulous!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

Eight years ago you were so blessed! Kayla is a sweet child, beautiful....Happy Birthday Kayla

LJ said...

38 years ago my mother was about to give birth to me! Happy birthday sweet Kayla!

Michelle Z said...

Happy birthday to Kayla!! :)

Karly said...

Happy birthday to your rockstar! Thank you for sharing her beautiful life with us!

Bailey's Leaf said...

Happy birthday, Kayla!

Tina said...

Ack! You made me cry!!

Happy birthday, beautiful girl and happy BIRTHING day to you, mama :)

Pam W said...

Happy Birthday, Kayla!

Thanks to your wonderful mom for a beautiful story, one of so many to come because you were born.

Have fun being 8 years old!


Nicole, The Opinionated Parent said...

Happy birthday beautiful Kayla!

Amy L said...

Happy Birthday to your very beautiful Kayla!!:)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!! Tears in my eyes, loved the tribute to Kayla!! And yes, she is everything you said she is!! :) Happy Birthday, Kayla... of course I am saying this a day late, but I sang to you last night!! :) Love memaw

Mom24 said...

Happy Belated Birthday! What an incredible birth story.

Sunny said...

Happy Birthday Beautiful Kayla!

Kaetlyn said...

WOW. Just WOW. AWESOME post. Happy Belated Birthday, Kayla. I hope the day was magical!

nichole said...

A very very happy birthday to Kayla!

Jann said...

Happy birthday!!!!! The post is beautiful as is K!!

Anonymous said...

What a great day that was and a belated Happy b-day to Kayla and you! She is a beautiful girl and you are just right for her as well!