First Born

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Today is the birthday of my adored first-born child. Although she is now in her twenties, I remember her birth day as if it were yesterday.

I was feeling a bit melancholy as I contemplated the fact that my little world with my husband was about to change dramatically. A week past my due date, I was to undergo induced labor that evening. The nursery was ready, but I was not. I was scared.

The nurses in labor and delivery made me comfortable, and the doctor came in to check on me. She decided to wait until morning to give my little one one more chance to emerge on her own. I was hungry but not allowed to eat anything. It was hard to sleep that night.

The next morning I was given a labor-inducing hormone, and it slowly began. I was reading The Brothers Karamazov at the time, and that made the labor nurses chuckle. My husband tried by turns to entertain and comfort me, but several hours into labor, I was begging for narcotics.

We were convinced we were having a boy. Friends and even perfect strangers had insisted that the way I was carrying indicated a male was on his way. But twelve hours after my labor had started, in a fog of Demerol, I heard the doctor exclaim, “It’s a girl!”

“A girl?” my husband and I said simultaneously.

She was silent and blue because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. My husband and the medical staff bustled off to a corner of the room while I mumbled incoherently, still in my narcotic haze.

Then all at once, a little red-faced creature was placed in my arms. She had a pink and blue beanie on her head, and she looked very cross. Interestingly, I’ve seen that same look over the years as she was growing up.

But she was mine, my daughter, my first-born. I was horribly exhausted, insanely thirsty, and deliriously happy all at the same time.

My daughter was born on a Monday. In the famous rhyme, “Monday’s child is fair of face,” and that certainly applies to my beautiful girl. More importantly, she is that special one, the one who ushered me into the world of motherhood, a world from which I have no desire to escape.

Happy Birthday, dear heart.

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