Today is the birthday of my first-born child. I cannot help smiling as I think back to the days I was carrying her. From the time I was a young girl, dragging around a baby doll, my greatest desire in life was to grow up, get married, and have babies. I still loved and slept with my dollies when my friends began chasing boys. When kids talked about what we were going to be when we grew up, I was too cowardly to admit what I really wanted, but I knew—being a wife and a mom were what I wanted most.
I was just 18 when I married my High School sweetheart. A week later, we headed across the country to Tampa, Florida in an old Plymouth. He was in the Air Force and would be for another seven months. Did we want a child? Absolutely! We waited just long enough that people wouldn’t have to count to see how many months we’d been married.
Did we have any sense? Not an ounce! Did we stop to consider that he would soon be unemployed and that we would also be uninsured? No, that was never a consideration. Either the common sense gene had not kicked in or we were so full of faith we just knew God would take care of us. Maybe it was a little of both. I don’t think it ever occurred to us that God wouldn’t take care of our needs.
The pregnancy was planned and I got pregnant the first month we stopped trying to prevent it. Infertility was not one of our problems. There were no pregnancy tests in the drug stores in those days, but missed periods are definitely a strong clue. When I went to the doctor he confirmed that I was indeed pregnant and probably about three months along. I giggled and he commented on the fact that I obviously was happy about it. He was right—I was very pleased to be carrying our child.
I had a happy, healthy, and easy pregnancy with very little morning sickness and no other significant issues. We had no ultra sounds to let us know whether I was carrying a girl or a boy. I know we would have loved either, but for some reason we both wanted a girl. Robert had come from a family of three boys and his mother definitely wanted a granddaughter.
As we got close to my due date, the doctor commented that the baby was not turned in the head-down position, but expressed confidence he could turn it before birth. He also told me that first births always take a long time and suggested we had no need to hurry. “Wait until the pains are five minutes apart and then stop to see a Drive-In movie on the way. “
On June 25 early in the morning and with pains five minutes apart, we drove from Seattle to Renton to pick up my mother and then drove back to the hospital in Seattle. We checked in shortly after 5 a.m. As I was getting changed into the hospital gown, my water burst like a bucket of water being thrown on the floor. I was immediately in intense hard labor. Having heard stories of my mother’s 36 hour labors I knew I wasn’t capable of enduring that. I was surprised when the labor nurse told me the baby would be born soon.
I had the distinct feeling that a tiny foot was kicking its way out of my womb and into the world. I was so ignorant that I didn’t even call the nurse when I felt that little foot pushing through. When the nurse came to check me, she was alarmed. Not only had a foot emerged, but along with it was the umbilical cord which had collapsed against the birth canal. What I didn’t know is that I was in imminent danger of losing our baby at that moment. I was rushed to the delivery room where they cut me and literally pushed and pulled my baby out of the womb. She was born at 6:23 a.m., less than an hour and a half after our arrival at the hospital.
As they pulled her out, she was ghastly white and I thought that my baby was dead. There were no congratulations, no happy cheers, and most ominous, there was no cry from the baby. Even as ignorant as I was, I knew there should be. She was immediately whisked out of the very somber delivery room. In panic I kept asking, “Is my baby OK? Is my baby OK?” I could not bring myself to say what I feared most—was my baby dead?
They could only respond, “We’ll know in a few minutes.” That few minutes seemed such a long time for this panic-stricken young mom. Finally, I heard a weak little cry and someone said, “That’s your baby.” Words cannot describe the incredible amount of relief I felt with hearing that tiny little cry.
A few minutes later they brought her to me, and even though she was a bit on the purple side, I was certain she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. It was definitely love at first sight, and again at second sight, and again at third sight. She had totally captured my heart.
As I look back on this the anniversary of her birth, I’m glad the common sense gene hadn’t yet kicked in because God did provide. We paid for her on the installment plan, but we gained a precious daughter. I am incredibly thankful that she survived and grateful that the lack of oxygen at birth did not leave her brain damaged. With intense gratitude to God I think back, exceedingly glad we didn’t lose her, and so thankful for the wonderful woman she has become.