It makes me want to remember. I do remember the birth of my first born, Anna. I also remember the impulse to say, it is time to get pregnant! My dear, dear friend, Wendy was just pregnant with her first born, Athena. I guess I was feeling a little competitive, not sure but I thought, "I can not just watch her doing this. I need to have a baby too." I was in graduate school as was Doug. We agreed to let down the curtain of protection. Oh the foolishness of young minds and hearts that do not know what they do.....and then I came to my senses, or so I thought. "Wait!" my mind said. "Maybe you want to go beyond your Masters and get a PhD. If so then this baby time can wait for a future time." But, it was too late. We were fertile! Anna became my PhD. And at the time I did not know how right that statement was to be.
Anna was born July 13, 1981. I was one who favored a more earthy approach to things. I wanted a birth experience with little interference and no drugs. I was determined to deliver in the birthing room at Stanford. Birthing rooms were relatively new at that time. You could choose to deliver in the traditional delivery room or the new modern birthing room. In the wee hours of that day I awoke to stronger than usual contractions. My engineer husband kept diligent track of each wave, its distance apart and length. At some time soon after it began we called Dr. Baldwin to say we had begun the process. We did not know whether we were to have a girl or boy. We wanted that surprise. We had names picked, Mathew for a boy and Anna Lark for a girl.
We arrived at Stanford Hospital around 9am. My water broke as they examined me and my dilation and the labor became more intense. Soon they told me they were concerned that there was so much vernix in my water that just in case there was a problem I should deliver in the delivery room. I was to be wheeled down the hall for the final pushes. It was there that our Anna was born. There were no obvious problems so we were wheeled back into the birthing room. It was shortly after 12 noon. My labor was not long and protracted and I did not need pain killers. It was going with the flow of the most incredible surge of life force energy that took over my body. What a deep and powerful experience it is to be a woman and have a child. A memory sure to keep that has filled in my heart forever.
It was expected at that time that you would stay a minimum of 6 hours after a birth before being released. Being the rebellious earth mother that I was I was determined that I would leave around 6PM to get home for dinner! My dear mother was at home cooking for us and dinner would be waiting. This was my right to go home after all. I did the right thing and had my child in a safe place but now that we were both deemed well I wanted to leave. Well, of course at 5 or 6PM in a hospital is the time that orderlies who wheel you out in a wheel chair were busy delivering dinners so I was asked to wait. I thought, no, we do not have to wait. Our papers were all signed, Mom was making us dinner and we were going. So, "Doug will you please, bring my bag. I will take Anna and we will walk out on our own!" And, we did! Such nerve! Kind of dumb too actually. I remember feeling woozy in the elevator as we escaped. But we got home to our little cottage in Menlo Park. And there was my lovely mom and dinner!
And one more thing, I remember it was a very hot over 100 degree day when Anna was born. The heat affected my flower garden. I had planted cosmos. There was one perfect large white cosmos that opened that day to greet our Anna and the beginning of my PhD. and Doug and my life changing adventure. Anna's life has been one of tremendous challenge, unexpected miracles and a life time of love.
And then 7 years later I had my sweet and wonderful Sara. I also remember what lead up to that pregnancy and her delivery. Because Anna had a genetic disease, cystic fibrosis, Doug and I had a 25% chance at each pregnancy to have another child afflicted with this serious, complicated and life threatening disease. By the time we had decided to have another child we were well aware of the terrible nature of CF. Anna had almost died at 18 months old and we were immersed in the CF community. We wanted another child. We knew we would only do this once. We would not risk our chance more than that. Having Anna was a huge handful. We so hoped for a healthy child and sibling for Anna.
At the time I was deeply studying Tibetan Buddhism. My teacher, Lama Gangha was my spiritual guide and support. He helped me get through the difficult time of accepting the path our family was on. I went to him with our desire and need to have a healthy child. He gave me meditation practices and a very special amulet to wear that held prayers. I did all that he suggested and then being a bit older, 35, it took a bit longer to get pregnant. This trial was filled with a lot of concern and worry that we may not be fortunate to be pregnant with a child who did not have CF but, I had a dream that was vivid and one that I will never forget. I was in a stone room with lamas in the Himalayas who told me I would have a child with a healthy and happy rebirth within 10 months time. I woke up with a start. It felt so very real. I was not yet pregnant. Very shortly after the dream I became pregnant and indeed with Sara's due date of July 4 and her eventual arrival on July 22 (a little past the due date!) she was born exactly within 10 months from that premonition and dream. Yes, magic.......thank you Lama Gangha.
My labor with Sara began after dinner on July 21, 1988. I tucked Anna in bed and told her when she woke up Grammy would be there and I would be at the hospital having her sister (this time we knew it was a girl and we knew she would not have CF, such a blessing). When I went to Stanford Hospital the nurses greeted me with a very casual welcome. I think it may have been because I was not screaming in pain they thought I was a long way from delivery. They told me that the birthing room as being readied for me and Doug and I were to walk the halls. The told me I had a long way to go. "Oh really? I thought. This does not feel a long way to me." This was my second and I knew how it felt.
Finally we were told we could go into the birthing room and someone would meet me and check me soon. We walked in, I had to go to the toilet, sat down and then said to Doug, "I think this baby is coming very soon! Please get someone." Dear Doug ran to get the nurse. They helped me on to the bed and then the nurse told me to hold on. Hold on? Are you kidding me? Hold on? They wanted Dr. Baldwin to get there. So, I guess I held on. Dr. Baldwin arrived and not long after so did our Sara. Our beautiful, wonderful Sara. In the pictures of me with Sara and Dr Baldwin after she was born I still have my bra on and never got in my hospital gown.....it was quick when she decided to come.
And Sara is another one of our jewels. We have two jewels, two rubies (the birthstone of July), Deep red in color signifying a passion for life. My two children are so different and both so very precious to us. My memories of their entrance into the world and how they have enhanced our lives are the most special and forever with me. I would never want to loose those recollections of great love.
And this is what I wish for Sara and Ian. Memories of the anticipation that recognizes the power of this time and the deep desire to have this baby and build a family. I am so blessed to be invited to be here at this moment of waiting and then to be present when our sweet one is born. So, so many more memories to make about love and growth. I wish them the happiest of times with this little one and that he or she will grow into another special person who is as caring, loving, smart and compassionate as they are. Peace be the day and moment when babycake arrives.
Sara is having coffee with a friend........we are still waiting........