Monday, January 14, 2008

Birthday Girl

14th January 1987 saw London in the grip of a snow storm...It had started snowing the day before, and a thick layer already covered Wandsworth Common as we drove past it on the way to an ante-natal appointment at St George's, Tooting. Because 14th was my due date, we actually saw my consultant that day - and she agreed that there was nothing much happening and booked me in for another appointment the following week,
"At which stage," she added, somewhat ominously, "we'll discuss the options for an induction".

So, when I woke the following morning feeling a bit uncomfortable, I didn't pay very much attention.
First babies, after all, never arrive on their due date - and anyway, it would be much too much like hard work to make LCM dig out our car and drive me the 4 miles to the hospital, only to be sent home again when nothing much happened.
Only, it became apparent that something really was happening. Nothing very much, just enough to make me determined to keep walking up and down stairs while LCM ate some breakfast.Sitting or standing still just didn't seem to be an option...so our drive through the snow silenced streets of South London was rather a challenge - but still, I was quite sure this couldn't be labour. Not on the right day. No, I'd invented it because I was excited and longing for this baby to become a reality...

We parked the car and made our way through the falling snow. To my surprise, I seemed to have to stop every few minutes as waves of discomfort swept over me - but this couldn't be labour. It was much too manageable.Going up to the delivery suite in the lift was a bit of a show stopper - not least because I found myself sharing it with my (awe-inspiring) consultant. Surely I couldn't be about to prove her wrong.
But when we got into a delivery room, suddenly I was sure that she was indeed quite quite wrong.
"Goodness" said Helen, the student midwife, "I can see your baby's head - what alot of hair!"
The need to push became the single most important force in creation - and so, fifty minutes after we arrived at the hospital, my own darling daughter, - with hair damp and curly, and eyes as blue as the sunlit sea, - was placed in my arms for the very first time. The earth jolted on its axis, the traffic in the streets ground to a halt and there was music everywhere...

Three days of dream- land, as London struggled with the snow, and my baby (my baby!!) and I cuddled up together in our bed by the window, basking in the hot-house temperatures of the post-natal ward, surrounded by endless bouquets of pink flowers, as we watched people outside slither and slide on the icy pavements. People showered us with cards and gifts - but I couldn't understand why. Didn't they see that I already had all that I could ever have dreamed of?



Well, we came home, the dream was indeed reality, and the music of those first heady minutes of motherhood became a constant sound-track to our lives as this first-born of mine sang before she spoke, and has moved through life on a tide of song ever since.
Today I drove down to Cardiff to help her celebrate, amid the busyness of exam week.
Again, loving friends conspired to counter nature...The day was set grey, wet and murky, but BestUniFriend had arranged an indoor picnic, - its centre-piece a fully-fitted picnic hamper, containing all sorts of Wind in the Willows delights - and created an enchanted landscape - complete with elephants, peacocks and butterflies (albeit in minature) in which to savour it.

When I first cradled her in the soft light of the delivery room, once all the busyness was over and done, my prayer for her was that she would always have someone to love her, someone on whose sofa she could crash if the day had been bad, special people whom she could love and be loved by. Driving home tonight, I realised just how fully that prayer has been answered. Her life is full of special people, people who love her, people whom she loves and I'm so grateful.But most of all I'm grateful that she is my daughter.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DARLING GIRL - THANK YOU FOR 21 DELIGHTFUL YEARS.

10 comments:

Songbird said...

Many happy returns of the day!

Michelle said...

You do lovely work! And what a marvelous set of images...

And both my bouncing boys arrived on their due dates...

more cows than people said...

what a glorious birth story!!! thank you for sharing it.

and alleluia for that answered prayer.

happy birthday, hg!

Grace thing said...

Sniff Sniff. Your post made me cry. Very beautiful tribute. Is it possible my little ones will one day be 21?

cheesehead said...

Lovely. Happy Birthday, HG. And congrats on being a wonderful mum, Kathryn.

marcella said...

A very happy birthday

Disillusioned said...

Beautifully written. Happy birthday, HG.

1 i z said...

Wow 21!!!

Happy Birthday HG.

And big hugs for your rightly proud ma too ;-)

Cal said...

Made me cry.

In a good way.

RevDrKate said...

WOW! Lovely post about a truly wonderful time in both of your lives!