Today is my daughter Celeste's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, because if I do, you can add 24 years to that, and find out that I'm 59 years old.
Celeste suggested that I should write a blog about her since it's her birthday. And I have been thinking about that this afternoon since things have gotten a bit quiet around here. What should I write about so that she won't kill her 59 year old mother? Her life has been...well...let's say it's been interesting...
She is certainly an overcomer!
But as I sat here trying to think about what to write, my mind went back to the day of her birth. It's been a while since I really sat still and remembered that day in it's entirety. So I thought maybe I would write it out, and she would enjoy reading it. And maybe some of you will, too.
I remember waking up at about 6:30 in the morning as my husband Bill got dressed to go to work. It wasn't long before I realized what had woken me. A familar tightening of my tummy. But I had cried wolf too often in the past week or so.
"I think I might be in labor." I said from the depths of my warm bed.
"So what else is new?" Said my long suffering husband. Yeah, that sounds harsh, but believe me, I had thought I was in labor every couple of hours for the past while. What had changed that would have made him believe me now? Except that, after all, it was about my due date.
He left, and I got two year old Rachael out of bed and dressed her. We had a few errands to run, so I soon had us in the car and got started, all the while trying to convince myself that the mild contractions I was feeling probably really WASN'T labor. But as I stood in front of a stamp machine, I had one of those big ones that let you know, "yeah, this is probably it."
I drove to my mother's house because she was going to watch Rachael while I was in the hospital. I got there while she was having coffee with her faithful friend, Lorinda. I called the doctor, who suggested I come on in to the hospital and let him check me out. From what I described, he felt like this was going to be the day. I wanted Bill to come and go to the hospital with me so I sat down to wait for him. After commenting to my mother that I hoped my water didn't break like it did the last time, she got some kind of plastic sheeting and put it on the chair to protect it. I spent the next 30 minutes or so, trying to keep my huge body from sliding to the floor!
After a bit, I got up and showed Rachael the colorform kit I had bought her as a present to play with while I was gone. She happily opened it and exclaimed, "This is just like a puzzle!" I thought she was about as smart as a child could come.
Bill arrived, and we headed to the hospital. Those were the days they did unspeakable, uncomfortable things to you to prepare you for giving birth. As a nurse that I swear must have been hiding her witches hat in the closet held a hot water bottle in the air, determined the entire contents would enter my small swollen body, I contemplated never doing this again.
We all know how that turned out...
Soon, I was dressed up in a lovely hospital gown, with IV's and fetal monitors strapped to me, and the doctor came in and assured me that yes, this was it. We would be delivering a baby that day.
Time passed, and it became the blur that God graciously gives laboring mothers so that we will, in fact, do this again. The main things I remember about this time was having a huge contraction, and opening my eyes to see that both Bill and Dr. Herd had their eyes glued to the football game on the TV on the wall. Well into the transition stage and ready to kill someone anyway, as soon as I could talk I asked them both HOW THEY COULD WATCH A FOOTBALL GAME WHILE I WAS GOING THROUGH THIS????
I remember the surprised look on both of their faces, and then Dr. Herd's amused smile. He had done this before, after all, and laboring mothers didn't scare him. "Well, I can't look at the paranium all the time." He replied.
I don't remember much after that. I was soon loaded from the bed I had been on to a stretcher, and rushed down the hall to the delivery room, where I was then moved to yet another bed and my legs strapped into stirrups. I am SO GLAD they don't do that to mothers anymore...
But in a while, I was handed a wet, slippery, beautiful little girl. I just loved the name I had picked for her. Celeste. It sounded so pretty to me!
Back then, they didn't let you keep your babies with you. We were soon parted, and I was taken down another hall and moved to another bed in the recovery room. I don't remember much about that either, except they kept checking me for bleeding, and bringing other nurses over to check me, and they made me stay in there longer than normal.
But soon, they decided to move me to the room I would stay in for a couple of days to recover. On the way down, they stopped at the nursery to let me look at my baby through a window. I was very excited to see her again, but as I raised myself up, my vision blackened, and I fell back on the stretcher. I blinked and tried again, but the same thing happened. I guess the nurses took that as disinterest, because I saw one of them shrugged, and they moved me on down the hall. I wanted to protest, but I was just so tired...
In the room, I could barely wait for them to bring me my baby, but they said I couldn't have her until I had used the bathroom. A nurse came in to get me up, but when she pulled me to a sitting position, I blacked out again and fell backwards. She tried again, but again I fell limply back.
"I'll let you rest a bit and come back." She said, and left.
A while later, she came back in, but the results were the same. She would lift me, but I would limply fall back.
I guess they thought I was being dramatic, because shortly, a BIG nurse marched into my room and informed me it was time to "void". She grabbed me under one arm and the other nurse grabbed me under the other, and they marched me into the bathroom and seated me on the toilet.
Then they left...
I remember sitting there with my head in my hands, thinking suddenly, "wow, it's dark in here. Did the lights go out?"
The next thing I knew, I was looking at the underside of the sink, and litter from the trash can was laying all around me.
I managed to get up enough to push the emergency button. Immediately, two nurses came into the room. I guess I had laid there for a bit, and must have bled on the floor, because they sat me back on the toilet and began to clean it up. After a couple of heartbeats, I said, "I'm going to do it again!'
This time, when I woke up, I was on the floor, and there were four nurses in the room. One was squatting next to me, washing my face.
I felt very, very scared. All four of them lifted me to my feet and held me as a couple of them cleaned me up. I remember sobbing on the nurses shoulder. This was a bit too much.
A wheelchair got me back in my bed, where I was instructed NOT to get up again.
I begged for my baby. Hours had gone by. I wanted to hold her. At first, they would not bring her, but I continued to beg, and finally, with the promise I would keep the rails on the bed raised and pillows propped, and not under ANY circumstances would I get up, they brought her in. I had filled out a form for rooming in, a brand new thing hospitals were just allowing, but the nurse from the nursery quickly informed me that wasn't going to happen!
"Why you new mothers think you are ready to do that I'll never know!" She declared.
I stayed in the hospital two or three days and was finally allowed to take my baby and go home.
A uterine infection followed, but I did finally get well.
Celeste's life has not always been easy. I was not a Christian in her early years, and I wasn't much of a mother, I guess. She had a lot of trouble in her teen years, and married very young. Her first baby was born when she was 16, then at 18 she had very premature boy/girl twins. The girl twin was soon diagnosed with CP, which mainly affects her right side. Her young husband had trouble handling this and left her, although he came back long enough to have a fourth baby with her when she was 20.
A second marriage brought baby number 5 at the age of 22.
But like I said, she is an overcomer. She has risen above all those things. Her five children have done amazing. Baby number one, Julia, now age 18, and the girl twin, Jori, now 16, both qualified to take college courses during their high school years. Julia graduated high school with an associates degree. In fact, we went to the college ceremony before the high school one!! She has now moved into a college dorm in Tyler and is doing great. I expect Jori will likewise graduate high school with an associates degree.
Celeste has also gone back to school and is working towards a nursing degree. It is amazing to watch her juggle it all.
So there, Celeste, is your blog! Happy birthday, dear beautiful daughter. I am so PROUD of you!