Julie was born right on her due date, and right in the middle of the worst snowstorm Timmins had ever seen. In Timmins, a foot of snow is a sprinkling, so when I say it was bad, it was really bad.
As most babies seem to do, Julie decided to wake us in the middle of the night to let us know she was making her grand entrance. At first she was just nudging me a bit, “Hi Mom, I’m running out of room in here”, and I wasn’t entirely sure that I was in actual labour. She quickly became more insistent, doing what felt like cartwheels and jumping jacks at regular intervals. At this point I thought it was time to wake up my ex-husband. Let’s call him Paul, cause, well, that’s his name. Also, just to be clear, he was still my husband at the time.
His reaction would have put Usain Bolt to shame. He raced around, getting the pre-packed suitcase, and throwing his clothes on while urging me to hurry up. He ran to the door and I was surprised to see, that when I finally waddled over, he was just standing there looking out with a stunned look on his face. Our car had disappeared, as had our front step, the driveway and the whole street. There had to be at least four feet of snow. What to do? He shovelled like a mad man.
I don’t think a snow blower could have moved that white stuff any faster. Then he drove the car into the street and started shovelling out the street. What should have been a three minute drive to the hospital, turned into a two hour odyssey and I think I’m being conservative in my estimate. I wasn’t really paying attention to the actual time, because time was being measured for me in a whole new way; grinding pain every two freaking minutes. We finally made it to the hospital and the nurse said “Wow, I sure hope the doctor can make it in.” This stopped my labour right on the spot, and Paul kind of looked like this:
But they said that considering the weather they would let me stay. Eventually, Julie must have felt it was safe to try again, because she resumed her gymnastics, which caused my water to break. Really, they tell you children are messy, but they start even before birth for heaven’s sake.
When it was finally time to go to the delivery room, I had changed my mind about the whole thing, but nobody would listen to me. They even had the colossal nerve to laugh. I had been very clear with Paul, that when the time came, he had to make sure I was wearing my glasses so that I could see the baby come. During the last crucial push, where she actually popped out all at once, he had dutifully placed my glasses on my face. Julie entered the world with the doctor yelling “Stop pushing!” and Paul yelling “Open your eyes!”
I didn’t see her come out 😦
When my parents came to visit, we all walked over to the nursery where all the new babies were on display like so many freshly baked loaves. My mother, looked in on Julie, and exclaimed “She’s the most beautiful baby in there!” Then she smugly looked at all the other unfortunate parents and grand-parents, who would have to make do with their inferior specimens. “Mom”, I said, “everyone here thinks their baby is the most beautiful baby.” She looked at them all as if to say, ‘you poor, misguided people’. Of course, Mom was a hundred percent correct.
My father-in-law predicted that my second child would be early, and because he was right about most things, I believed him. One of his favourite expressions was “The only time I was wrong, was the time I thought I was wrong.” Jessica, who has always been on her own schedule, made her appearance a grueling eleven days late. Fortunately there was no snow storm, but her birth was not without its particularities. She was born in a teaching hospital in Sudbury and being the easy going person I am, I agreed to have student nurses observe and help with the labour and delivery. They told me that my student nurse Terry would be in to see me shortly and that I would be prepped for birth. If you’re a mom, you know what this consists of, if you’re not…well, never mind. As it turns out Terry was not short for Theresa but for Terrence, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I suffered my humiliation in silence. He was with me for a few hours and was more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
I’ve always wanted to use that expression. I love this blog!
When Terry’s shift ended, he said not to worry, Pat would be arriving shortly. As it turned out, Pat was not short for Patricia. I have nothing but respect for nurses, be they male or female and Pat was really great. He was also very concerned with my level of discomfort and kept asking me if I was absolutely sure I didn’t want something for pain. Maybe it was my screaming, I don’t know, but something was definitely frightening him. I was determined to have a natural childbirth, just as I had with Julie, so I refused all medication until about five minutes before the actual birth.
I didn’t see her come out 😦
Just after her birth, Jessica’s APGAR scores were a little wonky – my pain meds? – so, she had to go into the incubator for a night. We had to look at her through the glass of the nursery. My Mom was at home looking after Julie, so she wasn’t there to exclaim that she was “the most beautiful baby in there!” I just said it quietly to myself.
Obviously, I’m writing about my daughters because today is my favourite day of the year. Mother’s Day! To me, this day is better than Christmas, my birthday, and every other holiday all rolled up into one. Yes, I do realize how hokey that sounds, but it’s true.
I often feel like I don’t deserve my daughters. Some wonderful, magical thing happened and these two beautiful people came into my life.
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