It was just after midnight, on the 23rd, when we knew it was really time, this time, and threw on clothes and drove through empty streets, wet with rain, to the hospital. That was the time before sonograms and knowing months in advance the gender. I had a beautiful 2-year-old son. I hoped fervently for a girl, but steeled myself and prepared myself to love another boy with all my heart. The Dr. had said, at my last visit "I think we have a nice big boy." In the delivery room the nurse listened to the heartbeat and said, "good and strong—it's a boy. I'm never wrong." And then my daughter was here, and I wept with joy. She didn't breathe at first, and the nurses whisked her away, but soon returned with the news that she was fine, just fine. And then I saw how very fine she was. Beautiful, in fact.
I've never accepted that old, oft-repeated pronouncement that you don't remember the pain of giving birth. For me, the memory is strong, even after all these years—of pain, of focus, of determination and intense effort and the knowledge of miraculous power and awesome responsibility. These are things you don't forget.
Today is my lovely daughter's birthday and we celebrate her life and all she has brought to us and to the world. And I have my own little celebration and remember.
And, Happy Birthday today to our nieces, Melissa and Jessica, both also born on May 23. Big day in our family!