a Women Writer's' Showcase
The Day You Were Born
by Bonnie Johnson

The day you were born was the most important day of my life. It always will be. As the doctor held you up for your dad and I to see, I wept.  He used suction on you to clean out your lungs as you made little coughing noises. You sounded peaceful, not bothered in the least.

I have never been happier than when I held you in my arms for the first time.  Your little face was shaped like a heart with deep beautiful blue eyes that looked at me with curiosity and calm.  You grabbed my breast with your rose shaped mouth and looked right into my soul as you instinctively nursed as if you had been doing it forever.  We instantly connected on a level that belonged only to us mother and child.  We stayed that way for several moments, looking at each other, in awe, as the doctor cut the umbilical cord.   He let you stay on my belly a bit longer.  Our eyes never moved from each other’s face. I was hypnotized.  I was in love.  I will never forget.

I had waited for you my whole life.  I remember how I daydreamed about you when I was barely five.  I use to talk to you as I played in the woods surrounding my family’s home.  I saw your beautiful face.  I knew I was going to have a daughter.  There was no doubt in my mind even at my young age.  I just knew.  I didn’t question it. 

I remember the night you were conceived.  I lay in bed; my inner knowing confirmed that my daughter was with me.  I felt you.  I sensed you.  I saw you in my minds eye.  I was pregnant and I knew it with my whole being. I couldn’t wait until it was time to go to the doctor so I could tell him so.  I needed no pregnancy tests to let me know you had arrived.  I caressed my belly whispering sweet lullabies to you all thru the night as your dad slept by my side.

For nine months I had been excited.  I remember sticking my tummy out when I was only five months pregnant.  I told people who didn’t believe me, “I am to pregnant, I would say, five months pregnant!” I hadn’t begun to show yet. I felt you moving around inside me though.  It was as if a little bird had slipped inside my body making her nest, fluttering her wings, getting comfortable for the journey.   A faint flutter at five months within my womb was my baby daughter.  I talked to you all the time just as I had when I was a child of barely five. 

When I began to show, I would hold my belly, my baby inside, with my arms and dance around our home as I sang songs of my love for you. I told you many stories.  I shared my hopes and dreams with you. 

I worked until my eighth month.  I was a waitress.  I wore skirts that stuck out wide so no one could tell.  My breasts swelled and soon my boss figured it out.  He asked me when I was going to quit my job.  I was ready.  Being due in less than four weeks I left that day. 

With less than three weeks left, you rested on my sciatic nerve.  Your dad had to put my suede boots on and off of me, lacing them up and down patiently. I would wear no other shoes.  He had them made special for me in a little leather shop in San Francisco the year before. They laced to my knees and felt like thick socks of fluffy comfort.

The doctor had said my due date was the Fourth of July.  When that day came and there was no baby, I was miserable.  I had counted the months, then the weeks. Soon I was counting the days.  I was sad.  I didn’t understand.  He said my baby was to be born on July fourth. I wanted you and I wanted you right then and there.  I was not into negotiating. I saw the doctor three days later.  He said you were ready, and he would induce labor if I like. If I like, was he kidding?  “Of course,” I said!  I felt like a child myself bubbling over with exhilaration.  I was told to call the next day.  I floated all the way home.                            

The next day when I called, the doctor said to wait one more day for no hospital beds had been available.  Dad and I took a long walk as we had been told to do. The following day I was told the same song. We walked again. On the third day when I called, the doctor told me once again to call the next morning.  I broke down. I cried, “You promised me I could have my baby!”  I was told to come in immediately.  He knew better than to argue with a pregnant woman.  

I walked on air as your dad, and I got ready for the ride to the hospital.  All the way there I held my belly feeling you inside me, elated that I would be seeing you finally after waiting for you my whole life, since I was barely five. 

I touched your little butt that was sticking up on my one side.  I felt your elbow poke me and I cried with love and joy.  I was the happiest I have ever been.  I was having my baby, my baby.

Once we arrived I was taken to a room where the doctor soon came in and broke my water.  There was no pain.  Your dad was told to come back the following day.  I wouldn’t be going into labor that night.  Fifteen minutes after he left, I felt my first labor pain.  They felt small though, and I watched television and talked with your dad on the phone most of the night as the pains came and went.

The following morning was a different story.  I woke up with a huge gripping pain.  I called the nurse.  I was taken into the labor room where my labor abruptly stopped.   The doctor was angry.  I couldn’t figure out why.   I was given a shot to induce labor.  Soon the pains came again. They had become stronger than the night before, stronger than I had ever imagined in my wildest dreams.   I started to freak.  I had no control over what my body was doing.  I remember wanting it to stop.  I felt I couldn’t do this. But I was going through this whether I wanted to or not.  A kind nurse sat with me. She helped me breathe.  She told me I was in transition.  She said my feeling of not wanting to do this was natural. She comforted me.  I felt safe.  I was again calm. 

Dad came into the room as I kept breathing as each pain came closer than the last.   I remember looking at the clock.  Two hours went by.  It felt as if it had been only twenty minutes.  The woman next to me was having a hard time.  She was having back labor.  Her baby was turned around. Two more hours passed.  Once again it seemed as if only a short time had passed.  I was busy.  I breathed.  “Whoosh whoosh, whee, whee.  Whoose, whose, whee, whee.”  Your dad disappeared sometime during all my breathing.  I hadn’t noticed.  I was busy.

Soon, he was by my side again.  He had a gown on, a facemask and gloves.  He had told me earlier that he didn’t think he could handle the birth without fainting.  As he then stood by my side, he told me he wouldn’t miss this for the world.  He was coming in!  He wanted to see his baby being born.

The doctor came in and my cervix was dilated to ten centimeters so I was lifted onto a gurney and taken off to delivery.   Once in delivery it was just your dad, the kind nurse who helped me through my transition, and me.  The nurse said your head was showing.  She pulled on some of your hair. It was red.  It confirmed to me that you were the daughter I had waited for, the daughter I talked to when I was barely five.

The nurse left again.  Your dad and I looked at each other. We thought we were going to have to deliver you ourselves.  There was a moment of disbelief but soon the doctor came in and so did the nurse. 

I was told to push.  “Push! Push! Push!”  I was pushing.  I had had an epidermal shortly before so I couldn’t feel anything.   I knew I was pushing though.  I was told again.  “Push harder!”  All of a sudden, there you were.   The doctor held you up so your dad and I could see.  My baby daughter had arrived.  I had been waiting for you since I was barely five!  I cried! Absolutely, I cried!

© Copyright 2003 Bonnie Johnson

Bonnie is a freelance non-fiction writer who lives in sunny San Diego California.  She currently has an article being reviewed for publication in, "Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul."  Her story made it past the first Editor with a great review.  Now Bonnie sits patiently to see if their chief Editor accepts her article.  Bonnie writes her stories from her own experiences along with her interests and beliefs.

Contact Bonnie.