Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Birth Story

Eleven years ago, on a stifling July day, we dropped Jack off at our friends' house and headed to our local hospital. It was still 2 weeks before Margaret's due date, but we wanted to have her early, if possible, to make sure I could get a full course of IV antibiotics before she was born. I am strep-B positive, and the fact that Jack came 2 weeks early made me nervous that Margaret wouldn't get the medicine she needed if we didn't induce.

The doctor who was supposed to deliver her had forgotten that it was her OWN daughter's birthday and asked if we could come back, say, in a week or so. After some discussion with her partner, we all decided to let the partner deliver the baby as long as we could go ahead and do it that day. In my vast birthing experience with Jack, I had come to realize that it's the nurses who do most of the work anyway.

So, they did a little something something in my nether regions that hurt like c-razy to get started, and sent us on our way for a few hours. The hospital was located near a town center with restaurants, movie theaters, and upscale shops centred around an outdoor fountain. We decided to kill some time there while waiting for things to get moving.

When we got to the hospital parking lot, I walked (lumbered) toward the car. Tim looked at me and said, "What? Shouldn't we be walking? Doesn't walking help labor?"

It troubled me a tad to think that my husband, the pony to whom I had hitched my proverbial cart for the rest of my days, was suggesting that a pregnant woman, in labor, should walk to and from the town center on a 97 degree day in the Virginia humidity.

What, pray tell, did he plan on doing with me when things really got moving? Ask a Gap employee to put me on a clothes rack and wheel me to the hospital? I wanted to go back to the doctors and see if they could un-do whatever gross thing they had just done to me to start my labor because there was certainly no way I was going to procreate, yet again, with this man. Alas, it was too late.

Tempted to be passive aggressive and walk to the town center just so I could complain about it later, I decided not to risk it. I put my swollen foot down and firmly said I needed a ride. Period. I also realized I could get mileage out of this story whether we walked or not.

So off we headed. Tim had also seen somewhere that laboring women should not eat anything. Awesome. Since the docs hadn't said that to me and I knew the heat, my girth, and active labor could all make me cranky, I snagged a bagel as we walked outside from shop to shop. Tim purchased a shirt and vest that he still wears. We call it "Margaret' Outfit."

After a while, we went back to the doctor's office which was connected to the hospital complex. They put us in an exam room and told us to wait. This is before smart phones, people. No blogs. No Words with Friends, Facebook, or Draw Something. Instead, we chatted and took turns reading a lone travel magazine over and over.

Time passed. Lots and lots of time. I've told you that Tim and I don't speak up much, right? That there is no one in this relationship who can send back food or return a pair of pants?

Well, turns out everyone forgot we were there. While we were waiting in the exam room, people were looking all over the hospital for the couple in labor who never showed up in the maternity ward.

By the time Tim stuck his head out the door several hours later, the office was in a tizzy and we were rushed to Labor and Delivery.

Bottom line? We were having our little girl two weeks early and we still didn't get the entire 4 hour course of antibiotics in my arm. I found that I was much more anxious about Margaret's birth than Jack's. It was as if the more I knew, the more nervous I was. About her safety. About everything that could go wrong. With Jack, they inserted my epidural wrong four times, but I didn't know it wasn't supposed to hurt that badly. With him, the cord was wrapped around his neck, but I didn't know that until after they had unwrapped it and he was, Thank God, fine. So a lot of friends were on prayer-alert for us because I just felt a lot more vulnerable this time.

Tim and I tried to stay relaxed and around 6pm it was time to get down to business. My sister couldn't be there this time, so we had her on the phone from Florida. I asked for a mirror so I could see what was going on "down there," a fact that disgusts Margaret to no end, even though she is determined to have at least 4 kids. I was hoping to see my beautiful baby be born and NOT see anything else.

My nurse left the room to check on something. The stand-in doc came in and started chatting up the other nurses. As he joked about his glove size, I interrupted and said, "Hey, guys, GUYS, I think it's time to get started." And it was.

One or two pushes later, out came Margaret with a full head of black hair. She was 6 lbs 8 oz of adorableness. I wished I had kept her in the oven longer so she could have grown some more, but we were so grateful she was absolutely, positively healthy.

The doc was gone within 10 minutes total, not to be seen until my 6 week postpartum appointment when he told me to go home and "Do your wifely duty." Nice.

Margaret was cuddly and delightful. Tim had to leave to be with Jack, so I kept her in bed with me the whole sleepless night. We had some very emotional times when I found out something was very wrong with my hospital roommate's baby. I never got details, but my heart broke for her and I knew I had done nothing special to deserve the gift of the beautiful, healthy baby at my side.

Two days later we took her home, by that time scrawny and yellow. I remember our friends bringing us a rotisserie chicken. In my hormonal glory, I took one look at it on the counter and burst into tears. With those tiny arms and legs, the chicken looked like my baby, minus a head.

It took Margaret a full 3 weeks to finally regain her birth weight, and she's been a little peanut with a huge personality ever since. Many of you have told me Margaret needs her own blog to record her zany insights about life. She's a great writer, so I'll let you know if she ever does!

Our daughter was a gift that hot day 11 years ago, and we admire her for her humor, intelligence, people skills, creativity, compassion, bravery in the face of adversity, athleticism, and her love of God. Her future is brimming with potential, and we are blessed to be along for the ride.

She is an amazing daughter, granddaughter, cousin, sister and friend.

Happy Birthday, Moops!


75 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday..looks like a great present in your lap!!

Katy said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday Margaret! Enjoy your new iPad! May you always be surrounded by love:)

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday to a beautiful young lady who clearly brings her parents much joy!

Mrs. E said...

Happy Birthday, Margaret! An iPad?? Get that blog started! I'll be your first reader!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Happy Birthday to Margaret!

I still remember being sent by my midwives to walk all over downtown Alexandria on a very hot day in August 2002, waiting for my labor to start. I was not in a good mood. Larry was wise enough to buy me whatever food I wanted. But not wise enough to refrain from saying things like, "Hurry up! The light is going to change!" as I waddled along King Street.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Margaret!

Anne said...

Happy Birthday Margaret!
xx
Anne

namealreadyexsits said...

Happy Birthday

LauraBeth said...

Happy birthday Margaret!

We must have gotten to (from your description, the same) hospital the day or so after you checked out... Our AC died the week before, and I (in all my preggo un-gracelessness) had spent the week camped out in my basement. On our way to the hospital, people said "at least the hospital will have AC." Nope, it had been broken, and they. Only got it started back up again (read:not cold) after I got to L&D.

I can't show this post to my bday girl.. She'll want an iPad, too!

Hopefully you all have some very special celebration plans for Margaret!

Still sending love, hugs, and prayers from the other side of town...

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Happy birthday Margaret! That first picture brought tears to my eyes. So tiny and perfect.

NanaDiana said...

Happy Birthday to your Margaret. She is a special little peanut for sure! xo Diana

Anonymous said...

Pure adorability. Happy Birthday!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing Margaret's birth story. Have to laugh at the two of you stuck up in the room at the doctors office. Too funny!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGARET!!!

Marguerite said...

Happy Birthday Margaret! Today is my daughter Catherine's 12th birthday! She is the only girl with 4 big brothers! Happy Birthday to you too Mom!

Meredith said...

Happy Happy Birthday Margaret!!!

Jess said...

Happy birthday, Margaret!
You share a birthday with my sweet Gramma, who turned 91 today. Just 80 short years older than you! She wishes she was born later so she could have gotten an iPad for HER 11th birthday! Hope you had a super fun day! :)

Mimi said...

Happy Birthday Margaret! What a beautiful and funny birth story, thanks for sharing. I'm happy you were brave enough to look. I looked after as some cruel lesson God was trying to teach me about not being stubborn; I didn't believe the OB actually got everything out from down there because it felt so funny(nope, it was just GIANT hemorrhoids from pushing for two hours) never again, will I ever ask for a mirror.

mgh said...

Happy, happy birthday margaret! You got the best gift the day you were born -- your mom!!
That iPad is going to be pretty great, too.

Loukia said...

Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl!

L said...

Love you , Margaritaville!! Happy birthday!

Amanda said...

Happy Birthday, little lady! Enjoy your iPad, I am super jealous!

twingles said...

Happy birthday Margaret! My best friend and niece were also born this day...it's an auspicious bday. If always tooooo hot!

Stimey said...

Happy birthday, beautiful Margaret!

This is one of the best birth stories I've ever heard. Your joy in the day shines through every word.

Elizabeth said...

A very happy 11th birthday to Margaret!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Wishing you a happy birthday and a year filled with sweet surprises Margaret!

Clare said...

She's such a beautiful girl who I know will do so much good in this world. Loved this whole story. Happy birthday Margaret!!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I am never going to look at a rotisserie chicken the same again.

Anonymous said...

It was a delight to bump into her ever so briefly today! She makes my heart smile every time I see her! Love you, Karen

The Empress said...

Happy birthday, sweet girl.

Your mother and father LOVE you so very, very much.

luv2run said...

Happy Birthday, what a great smile!

Love reading this post!

luv2run

HUGS!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Love to hear birth stories
Happy birthday

Sandie

vyank said...

Happy Birthday Margaret!!

Mel said...

Sounds like all those prayers made for a pretty great birth story! She's lovely. Happy birthday!

Skye said...

Happy birthday, Margaret! What a sweet post. :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday little one, hope it is a special day! Mary in NY

Anonymous said...

Happy Happy birthday to Margaret, and well done to a mom and dad who are doing their best to observe life's happinesses! Apparently that is not a word, but I'm keeping it in. :)
Beth

Mrs Changstein said...

Ha! Love the story about the walking around. My husband was the same way. When I was near to the time, he tried to convince me that it would bring labor on if I would walk down the mountain and then back up. Maybe try to walk backwards on the way back up while I was at it. (we lived on a steep one. Well populated, but still, a mountain.) I looked at him like some alien had taken over his body, and wondered how ON EARTH he didn't know me at all after 2 years of marriage. My only bursts of power walking take place at the outlet mall.
Happy Birthday, Margaret! May you grow in knowledge, love & understanding of our Lord, and I pray He will continue to work in your heart & life!

Anonymous said...

I never tire of telling my kids' birth story and I never tire of hearing others'. Happy, happy birth-day to you, and to your wonderful daughter. May this year bring nothing but joy and adventure. You all deserve nothing less.

Jessica

Michele from IL said...

Happy Birthday to the lovely Margaret! I love your happy smile! :)

spedhead said...

That is one darling girl right there, I hope she had a special day.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Margaret!!

That was a great story about the wonderful day of your birth.

And yes, please start your own blog!

-Coach Jess

fiwa said...

I'm a day late, but Happy Birthday, Margaret!

Four in Costa Rica said...

Happy Birthday, Margaret! You sure were an adorable little baby! Have fun with your iPad. :)

Mariah said...

Happy Birthday!

Jessica said...

What a birth story! Happy Birthday to Margaret.

claire plante said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story! Happy Birthday to Margaret!

Love,
Claire

Meredith Self said...

I'm all choked up... What an amazing picture of you and baby margs. Just precious.

I've been thinking lots last week about the thin line between birth and death. And of you, your family and the karlinchaks.
I've been thinking about how every moment is a birth and death, in one sense. How not to hold on and be fully alive and engaged even while letting go. It was a heavy week. Amma had a concussion and I must of pictured four dozen ways everything could change in a second.

So seeing baby Margaret and her beaming iPadicious face just warms me. So many moments between pictures. So many details and tiny moments of love and heartache, sleepless nights, doctor visits, funny phrases, and rides to soccer and such. You are doing great, momma. You are amazing. I'm sorry for the pain and wish you some ice cream. Yummy. Vanilla.

Love you so much.

ellen said...

I loved reading this; you're a great writer. Happy Birthday to Margaret!

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday, Margaret! I so enjoyed the birth story.

The Bipolar Diva said...

What a great story! She's beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

kimber said...

Oh my word, Anna. You are so dang funny. I love your humorous side. What a great birth story. Love the hormonal chicken story.
Margaret. Sweet beautiful Margaret. Go ahead and add resilient and courageous to that list. What a treasure and blessing she is! Happy birthday, Margaret!!

Anonymous said...

I just love birth stories. The 6 week post-partum advice, however--omg. Who says that?!?

Happy birthday, Margaret!

love,
jbhat

Heidi said...

I know you burst into tears, but when I read this "With those tiny arms and legs, the chicken looked like my baby, minus a head." I laughed hard. We used to call Annie our little roast chicken.
Happy Birthday to your gorgeous girl!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Margaret.

I hope you're keeping well.

All the best and lots of love.

x

OSMA said...

Happy Birthday, Dear Margaret! She will have approx. 989,567,243 new readers when she starts that blog. No pressure. ;)

Lady Jennie said...

I have tears in my eyes and laughter in my throat - I loved this! I love that you can't speak up. My mom and her husband are like that too. "I don't know - what do YOU want to do?"

I also had Strep B with my son and the water had been leaking for some time before I went in, so it was a little touch and go. Cracking up about the doctor (though I would have wanted to kill him). I like to joke that in France the doctors tell you to have sex the next day if you want, but don't think about exercise until you've done your perineum and ab reeducation. Only in France ...

Happy Birthday dear Margaret!

Jen G. said...

Happy Birthday, Margaret!! Have a wonderful, blessed day! May the year ahead be full of joy.

Amy said...

Happy birthday Margaret!

EatPlayLove said...

Happy Birthday, she looks so grown up... How does this happen!

Anonymous said...

"Do your wifely duty?" What a fossil! More importantly, HB Margaret!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Margaret!

ALI said...

Happy Birthday Margaret!!

Nathan & Michelle Watabe said...

Very entertaining, as always. The end was so sweet and made me cry. Happy Birthday to a very sepcial girl!

Princess Kate said...

Just stopping in to say I'm sending prayers and love your way today.

Vodka Mom said...

Each and every day is a blessing...isn't it? Happy Birthday M. xoxo

A Speckled Trout said...

I just got back from visiting my mom, also a Margaret and still very spunky. There is gold in that name.

A very happy belated birthday to the dazzling Margaret in your life, and as for the wifely duty thing (WHAT????), I bet he meant vacuuming.

Da Doo Run Run said...

Okay - the "do your wifely duty" strikes a chord with me. I used to live near you, and I'm CONVINCED we must have had the same OB/GYN because surely there can only be one doctor who would say something so wildly inappropriate. Did his last name start with an F?

Princess Kate said...

Just stopping by to say I'm thinking about you all.

Anonymous said...

Returning to let you know that you remain in my prayers, and I'm hoping that all is well with you, Tim, and Margaret. Hope the weekend is going well. (hugs)

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday to Margaret

andnowwearesix said...

lovely photos and post. happy bday to M! Still stuck, though on the "Margaret outfit" and mostly, Tim's vest...details and pictures, PLEASE! xo always

Laura said...

Just . . . thinking of you.
xoxo

Leslie said...

I read this days ago and am finally getting the chance to comment. I LOVE BIRTH STORIES! I still can't believe myself - the girl who hated babysitting and never ever ever wanted kids and doesn't even like to wash dishes because it's "gross" LOVES birth stories! If your story was three hours long, I'd sit there reading without moving, and I'd wish it was longer. I LOVE THIS POST! I love the photo of her! Not all babies are cute, Anna, and holy moly, Margaret is FREAKING GORGEOUS. (When our first was born, Brett actually prayed he would get handsome. I don't show anyone his hospital baby photo, I can barely even look at it. Yikes.)

I love that you considered walking the town center just to give him a hard time about it later. Women - we are scary. Ha ha ha ha, that was so funny and I knew exactly what you meant.

Happy belated birthday, Margaret!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lesli at My Old Country House said...

tis story is beautiful and I am in love with your writing style and for all I know, you! My buddy Cassie forwarded your info to me, as I am going to Blogher too, a bit apprehensively as I just never know what to do when I walk in a room full of people I don't know. so I am going to say know you and take it from there! hope we meet...xoxoxo