Thursday, July 12, 2007

Welcoming my daughter to this world...some 23 years ago

As I promised, more meaningful stuff:

Tuesday my daughter, Ana, turned 23. I don't think it will matter how many years go by: I will always remember with vivid clarity what it was like welcoming my first child to this world. I am a "goosebumps" kind of girl, so when I recall these type of life events, I often get a case of goosebumps. Goosebumps are often accompanied by teary eyes.

My first pregnancy was considered "high risk"...not only was Ana in the breech position, they thought part of her brain might be outside of her skull. Ultrasound technology was relatively new at that time and they weren't always sure what they were seeing. It definitely lacked "high definition". Throughout my pregnancy, I saw one specialist after another--all who were afraid to give me any straight answers. The joy and anticipation of my first pregnancy was also fraught with fear. When I was 8 months pregnant another specialist walked in after yet another ultrasound and greeted me with the words: "When I read your chart, I thought this was a hopeless case." He went on to say he didn't think it was going to be so hopeless, but he couldn't make any promises.

They also could never figure out what my due date should be. It started out as June 23rd and kept getting pushed back further and further. I felt the birth would be somewhere around the second week of July (a mother always knows best). On July 9th, when I had my weekly appt the doctor said my baby might not come till August. I nearly kicked her from the exam table.

Sure enough, the night of July 9th I did go into labor. Because Ana was in a difficult breech position and they were unsure of her health, a c-section was planned. They were "allowing" me to go into labor on my own. Those few hours of labor were a glorious experience. On the morning of July 10th, we headed to the hospital--during a torrential rainstorm (side note: Ana's full name is Anahita--which is the name of a Persian goddess represented by water--very important in a desert climate).

A few hours later, when Ana "arrived" via c-section, pink and healthy as could be...well, those first few moments are always "goosebump memories"...she was fine. What they saw on the ultrasound was merely a fold of skin (she had no neck like my dad!). Because she was breech, she was folded in half. They kept reassuring me that there was nothing to worry about...and I didn't care about that...she was breathing, crying, and everything was where it was supposed to be. The months of worry evaporated with her first few healthy breaths.

An hour or so after her birth, I was able to call my mom and tell her the good news...that her granddaughter was born healthy. That phone call is also a goosebump memory. In that phone call, my relationship with my mother was forever changed. In my mother's voice I could hear her relief that Ana was o.k. My connection with my mother deepened with that phone call. I understood her better and I do believe that my mother understood me better. We knew where each other "came from". I think we were both willing to give each other a little more latitude.

At the end of the call, my mom said she would be there the next day (she didn't drive and needed to arrange transportation). She made it to the hospital by dinnertime.

My daughter is now the age I was when she was born. Ana isn't ready to have babies yet and I think that's good. I hope she enjoys many different life experiences before she has children. I'm sort of amazed now that I started a family at age 23...but that was typical for my family (At 23, I already had several nephews and nieces from my older sibs).

But the time will come. I look forward to the experience of having grandchildren. And I also look forward to sharing that bond of motherhood with my daughter.

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