Friday, August 03, 2007

Flashback: August 3, 2000

Today Madeleine is seven-years-old. Seven. I still can't quite wrap my brain around that fact that here I sit with a seven-year-old daughter. In some ways she still seems so young, and in others so mature; so, so mature that it's hard to remember that's she's only seven.

I've never been one of those women who has embraced pregnancy as if I were finally fulfilling a life-long physical dream. I mean, sure, I always wanted to be a mother, but I learned quickly while pregnant with Madeleine, and even faster with subsequent pregnancies, that the sickness, fatigue and general feelings of cowish-ness outweighed any enjoyment I might have experienced while pregnant.

I think as sort of a joke, or maybe as payback for not appreciating pregnancy enough, God has given me the gift of longer than average pregnancies, each one extending longer than the last. Madeleine, as you might then guess, was the shortest of my pregnancies. She was born only five days past my due date.

I remember the day clearly. Labor began, as they often do, the afternoon of the day prior to her birth. I didn't realize that's what it was at the time, of course; I attributed the contractions to more Braxton-Hicks, or warm-up, contractions. Other mothers who have been overdue will understand this: you reach a point in your pregnancy, well after your arbitrarily designated "due date," where you just sort of give up and figure pregnancy is a condition that will plague you for a lifetime. Silly, I know, but it's how you come to think and feel.

By early evening I was finally convinced that the contractions might really be the real thing. I panicked. I called Terri, my only friend who had ever experienced labor, and asked her opinion. She offered the only advice possible from a friend sitting on the other end of a phone line over sixty miles away, "Um, it could be labor."

It was. After multiple visits to the hospital, and enduring the embarrassing ordeal of being sent home by nurses because I wasn't far enough along in my labor to be at the hospital, the irritation of Superdad falling asleep while timing my contractions and the final exciting moments of knowing that, within minutes, I was to become a mother, Madeleine was born on Thursday, August 3 at 3:39 p.m.

With Madeleine we hadn't found out the sex; we wanted to be surprised. The moments following her birth were a blur: the realization I had a daughter, a mop of thick, brown hair, hearing our families in the hallway, not ten feet from our door, chomping at the bit to meet who, for some, was a first grandchild and who, for others, was the second.

At times I feel as if the following seven years have been just as much of a blur as the moments following her birth; some moments are clear and locked away in my memory, undisturbed and perfect and others are difficult, if not impossible, to recall.

But one overriding thought exists: the past seven years have been much more beautiful, meaningful and, mostly, enjoyable, than they ever could have been without the gift of my sweet little Madeleine.

Happy birthday, Peanut!


angieoh! said...

how sweet. Every year on my birthday my mom calls and tells me all about the day I was born - this reminds me of that tradition.

Happy birthday Madeline!

Superdad said...

Hey, I only fell asleep after Supermom settled into the bath tub at like 2:00 am after they kicked us out of the hospital.

But anyway, what a blessed day! Seven years ago God gave us the love of a little baby who is now turning into a wonderful young lady. I can hardly believe that it has been 7 years - I only wish I could slow down the days.

it's me, Val said...

Awww, that was so sweet. The love you have for you children, Cait, is powerful. Happy Birthday, M!!!

nina said...

You can't slow the days down, superdad, but that's okay -- they just built into this wonderful, ongoing life. Speaking as a mom to someone who just turned twenty-six -- watching her (them) grow never stops. From the day of her birth, you are a parent and she is your child and it cannot be ondone or put aside, not ever, not even for a day. And it's grand!

terri said...

Aw! So sweet! I remember that phone call; and I remember that exact thought: "um... It COULD be labor..." LOL.

These birthdays just keep coming, don't they?!? :(

dad said...

print this out for madeleine. how many children have a remembrance like this from a mother?

Alexis Jacobs said...

Happy birthday Madeline!