Friday, May 13, 2011

Pieces Of Me, Part I

I have had a lot of truly wonderful things happen in my life. Glorious things that make me stop and thank the heavens above. There are moments I have conscientiously tucked away thinking this is a perfect instant in time and so should be treasured. I want to keep them near my heart. I pull them out with a child’s delight, savoring the unfolding memories and laying them like quilt pieces, seeing the beauty in the squares, the lovely pattern that is my life.

I have the birth of my children for instance.  My first took place in a dark quiet room with only myself, my husband and a young doctor, just reassigned and catching me as his first patient. He is so new to this base that his bags are quite literally lying in the corner in a heap. There is a second heap, my husband’s kit. He is going off on a three day maneuver to Greece as soon as the baby comes (if it comes before 4 o’clock).

Like everything else before and since nothing has gone according to plan.This baby is four weeks past due. My husband had taken his vacation the week it was supposed to come. No baby. His parents had come to stay the week after. No baby. My neighbors and friends checked on me constantly the week after that. No baby. This week was the worst possible week ever for me to deliver. Hey! Baby! My parents are thousands of miles away and my friends are all busy helping their husbands get ready for the same trip to Greece. We have been mostly undisturbed in a room in an empty ward, chatting about the future, doing crossword puzzles and dozing in and out since 3 AM. I have no idea what the baby will be. I hope it is a girl, my husband is sure it is a boy. My doctor is 'not available' which bothers me a bit but they all seem calm so I am too.

My husband keeps looking at his watch, the clock on the wall, my watch, all the while trying to not seem as if it matters, though it matters terribly to both of us. At three o'clock in the afternoon a young, harried looking man comes in to the room, dumping a pile of stuff behind the door and introduces himself as my doctor. I am barely 18, my husband is barely 21 and the doctor looks barely 12.

Right when I am sure something is  wrong with this child who refuses to come, that the doctor is really a kid who took the wrong bus and said what the hell, that we are the only living souls in Bonn on this rainy October afternoon I feel a tremendous push, then another and bam. In less than five minutes 12 hours of really easy labor comes to a screeching halt and I am holding a stunning little girl. My husband, with 29 minutes to spare is crying. The doctor, who blames it on jet lag, bursts into tears as well and soon confesses he has never delivered a baby before. My daughter and I size each other up. I am sure I am found lacking. I must be, because I am a mere mortal and she is the epitome of perfection.