My baby girl’s birthday is this month.
And I say “baby girl,” even though she is old enough to roll her eyes at that endearment and even though she is technically not the baby in our family. But she’ll always be my baby girl.
I’m pretty sure all parents do this, but around this time, I start thinking about the time leading up to her birth and all the anticipation that surrounded my firstborn. As baby stories go, I gotta say, hers is pretty good, even though I admit my own bias.
She was supposed be my little tax baby (she was originally due on April 15), but it turned out she could not wait that long – though as my friend Tara pointed out, she was ladylike enough to wait until my final papers were all signed for my doctoral degree before making her grand entrance.
My Ph.D. was an endeavor filled with literally blood (technically due to a running injury sustained during comp exams), sweat and tears. For four years, I had dreamed of how I would be awarded my diploma and I would be awarded a doctoral degree and hooded by my dissertation chair. I was almost at the finish line and slated to graduate in May.
I had been emailing my dissertation chair back and forth for a couple of days, and he emailed me that morning and said, “Congratulations! I’ve got all your signatures on your papers, and you are officially Dr. Roberts!”
Thrilled and relieved, I immediately ordered my cap and gown and then posted on Facebook, “Papers signed, cap and gown ordered, the baby can come whenever she’s ready!”
And – she did.
Literally less than an hour later, I went into labor – though, being a first time mom, I didn’t recognize it at the time. In fact, while I was suspicious of the way my body was behaving (so much so that I called the doctor, who urged me very quickly to get to the hospital and call my husband Kyle), I couldn’t imagine that she could come early. Because I was a first-time mom. Because I didn’t want it to be a false alarm. Because I thought I was being silly.
Nope. My baby girl, my shining star, was entering the world that day.
So I did what all normal moms in labor do – I took a bath (turns out that’s a bad idea, don’t do that, btw), I let our Chihuahua out (and gave her tons of extra hugs and kisses because I loved that little pooch), and I ate a little breakfast because I knew no one would let me eat at the hospital.
I meandered my way to the admittance area of the hospital (because we hadn’t pre-registered yet) and when the hospital employee asked why I was there, I just very airily said, “Oh, they think I’m in labor.” Glad the employee took me more seriously than I did, because she immediately hustled me upstairs.
Kyle actually beat me to the hospital, too, which is quite amusing because he worked in Monroe at the time, and our house was less than a 10-minute drive to the hospital. I don’t think it really hit me until I was lying in the hospital bed and my nurse said, “Congratulations, Mama, you’re going to have a baby today.”
She then had to get an alcohol swab out because I nearly passed out. I wish I were kidding.
My baby was born that afternoon, and she was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on. Suddenly, even though I was a newly-declared academic Ph.D., none of it mattered any more.
Because my baby girl was cooing in my arms.
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