My darling girl turns nine this weekend. Which means that I will be spending my weekend entertaining a bunch of tween girls and attempting (possibly in vain) to keep my house as a Bratz/Hannah Montana/Britney free zone. I’m kinda grateful that Indy’s current fave is iCarly, which is probably fitting for someone from the ‘iGeneration’.
Anyway – my little one is growing up and because I won’t have time to blog this weekend…here’s one I prepared earlier.
One Perfect Day
There’s a birthday at our house this week. My daughter, Indiana, turns nine on Sunday. We’ll do all the usual things – presents, party and cake – and Indy will revel in the forward movement of time as she adds another number to her years. Meanwhile, I will do the opposite and turn back the clock to remember the day which is marked by this anniversary.
One of my sisters reminded me, on Indy’s first birthday, that this was a special day for me too. And she was right. This was the anniversary of the most momentous day of my life – equalled only by my wedding day and later, my son’s birth. Her insightful comment prompted me to make this a mother’s celebration too. So each year, on November 22nd, I do a little time travelling.
In all honesty, my pregnancy with Indiana was perfect in every way – no morning sickness, no complications, no fear or doubt. I glowed, blossomed, bloomed and generally bathed myself in the joy of impending motherhood. My due date was December 18th – one week before Christmas – and Luke and I were certain that we would give birth to some sort of messiah in this, the first year of the new millennium. As it turned out, we didn’t even have time to feather our manger.
During my pregnancy I was teaching at a secondary school. One day, as I walked to the photocopy room, I tripped and fell up a flight of stairs. I was unhurt but a little rattled by the fall and I couldn’t shake the sensation that something about my body had fundamentally altered. A few days later – close to midnight on November 20th – my waters broke, confirming my suspicions and arousing an excited anticipation. This was it. I was in labour!
While pregnant I was often asked if I was concerned about labour and birth, but I contemplated this secret mother’s business with a philosophical spirit. My mantra – repeated to anyone who asked – was, “If I’m in labour for a whole day it’s just one day out of my life.” My first lesson in parenting was about the Laws of Attraction – Indiana was born in the early hours of November 22nd after a twenty-four hour labour. Just one very painful and perfect day out of my life.
My second lesson in parenting was of the ‘just when you think you know everything’ variety. I had taken pleasure during my pregnancy in confidently telling people that, while Luke and I hadn’t found out what sex the baby was, I just ‘knew’ I was having a boy. “It’s a mother’s instinct,” I loved to say while smiling serenely. Moments after Indy’s birth I looked down to discover my newborn daughter. The surprise could not have been any sweeter. I always thought I had a preference for a boy child but, as I laid eyes on this amazing girl I realised, with a profound sense of truth, how much I also longed for a daughter.
So there she was. One month premature but weighing in at six pounds, thirteen ounces in the old money and with no ill effects from her early debut. But the downside of giving birth before my due date was that I was ill prepared for the occasion. Indy and I had no going home outfits. There were no baby clothes washed and folded at home. I hadn’t quite gotten around to packing my hospital bag and my hair had an inch of unflattering regrowth as my hairdresser’s appointment went begging a week later.
My best laid plans – plans where I received visitors in glamorous new nightwear (with discreet front flap for breastfeeding); plans where baby was dressed from head to toe in soft white and wrapped in delightful receiving blankets; plans where my hair was newly coloured and cut in a fabulously hip but easy to style fashion; plans where my eyelashes were tinted and my stomach had returned swiftly to its former flatness – were all swept aside. I sat in a hospital gown with my hair in pigtails and my little messiah swaddled in a hospital blanket beside me and begged Luke to bring me a few essentials – a jumpsuit or two for the baby and some underwear and make-up for me.
The bag that my dearest husband returned with contained six baby singlets, one 0000 nightie, a pair of pyjamas for me, moisturiser, lip gloss, a black g-string and a tube of body glitter. As I laughed incredulously at the contents Luke said, “I thought you would want to look nice.”
That night, as Indy’s head sparkled in the muted hospital lights with the glitter which had tumbled from my shoulders, I could not have felt any more beautiful.
Happy Birthday Indy.
Do you remember your child’s birth on their birthday? What is your unique birth story?