The day I met my daughter

I remember it like it was yesterday; I really do. The night my water broke at home while spending time with family is so fresh in my mind. What I remember most of all was the calm. Kissing my son goodnight before we left for the hospital and singing "You've Got a Friend In Me" one last time with him as my only child.

Walking out to the car in cold darkness and listening to soft music on my iPod for the drive. I didn't know then that active labor was still a way's down the road. The night was spent pacing a quiet birthing floor with my husband and a dear friend or trying to sleep through some early contractions under my Mom's watchful eye. And the calm. Between the intensifying contractions was an inexplicable peace — like all these months had not merely been waiting, but preparing.

The hours leading up to when I met my Beautiful Daughter on the morning of February 5, 2011, I thought back to the hours I spent in an indoor swimming pool during my eighth month. I would float on my back, glide through the water and rum my big tummy. There was a comoradory formed long before she came; maybe because we're both girls. I just remember saying so many times: "We're in this together, girl. You do what you need to do when you're ready and I'll take care of the rest."

The laboring was not as difficult as I anticipated, thanks in no small part to my "team." When it finally came time to push, the sun was shining outside my window. Then she emerged and she was perfect. Like her brother, her eyes were wide and her skin so lovely.

When they set her on my belly I was in love and reborn. That's what I never figured about motherhood: Every time they're born, you're born. Life starts over and continues on all at once.

I had no idea what to expect from a daughter. My son was flat-out would she compare?

Beautiful Daughter, you made me a believer in little girls, with your hand-holding even as a newborn and your tiny moans that could never be confused for a boy's. I love the way you always want to be touching me somehow (I love it even when I act irritated). And the calm. You and I can still sit together in quiet, just like we floated in that pool, and enjoy the comfort of the present. Your eye contact and on-cue kisses melt my heart. Your rhythm and tenacity astonish and inspire me. I may not always be able to pick you up, but we'll always be able to hold each other. You do what you need to do when you're ready; I'll take care of the rest.


Grace said...

That was a precious account of Ingrid's birth, Joy. I could sense the peace you still feel about it. Thanks for sharing and bringing me some misty eyes- ya know, the good kind.

Everyday Anne said...

You do have a way with words, my dear. Thanks for sharing such wonderful moments with us!

girlfriday said...

Beautifully written, Joyous. "Life stars anew..." in childbirth. I didn't understand that either until my second birth. And now you've found a way to articulate it.

Very touching. A keeper