Thirty years ago today marks the birth of my first daughter, “MAM.” First off, I am in awe that 30 years has gone by. Secondly, how can I be the mother of a 30-year old?
At age 24, working a part-time job with no benefits, and having just moved back to my home town in San Diego, my then husband and I broke the news to our family that we were expecting. The pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, since I had an ectopic pregnancy prior to that. With one Fallopian tube, the chances of getting pregnant were much slimmer.
When I announced this news to my grandfather, he changed the subject and asked how my car was doing. He was concerned that neither my husband nor I had full-time jobs at that time. I didn’t have medical insurance, either, so I was able to access Planned Parenthood’s prenatal program for a reasonable monthly fee.
MAM was due to be born on February 4th.
On Sunday, January 27th, my youngest brother and I were playing Trivial Pursuit. He had to answer the question, “What was the horse’s name in ‘Jingle Bells’?” He was 14 years old at the time and as he sang the song, it came out “bells on ring-tail rise” (instead of “bells on Bob’s tail ring”) which resulted in uproarious laughter on my part. As we both laughed uncontrollably for what seemed like hours, I suddenly felt a cramp. Much more than a Braxton-hicks contraction, this was painful!
Yes, I went into labor. I told my doctor the next morning that I laughed myself into labor. MAM was born on January 29th, six days earlier than expected.
January 29th in our family holds significance. Most of the family hales from Kansas. January 29th was the day that Kansas was admitted into the United States. My curmudgeon grandfather, who so blatantly ignored the pregnancy, was amazed. Why? Because January 29 was his 70th birthday! MAM came early to be born on his birthday and be his first great-grandchild, forever endearing her to him. Today, Grandpa would have been 100.
And that was 30 years ago.
Youngest daughter, “LAM” was born on January 21, three years later. Again, the surprise of “I’m pregnant again?” This time I was working for the City parks and rec where I eventually spent 30 years of my work life. My husband was in school and working full-time.
Both pregnancies were textbook. Had I been a pioneering woman from the 1800s, I would have born a brood of kids. With LAM, since it was my second pregnancy, I looked pregnant sooner. My doctors worried I might have gestational diabetes, but no, she was just a big one!
We had to take a few prenatal classes, and with this health plan I was able to use a midwife under the supervision of an obstetrician. When the day arrived (why are so many babies born in the wee hours of the morning?) I started feeling the rhythmic contractions, we headed to the hospital. I kept having these painless contractions, thinking they were just the Braxton-hicks’. As the nurses and midwife checked my blood pressure, the nurse asked me if I was having a contraction. Because it was painless, I said no. At the same time, my midwife, who was monitoring me, said “yes.” I thought they might send me home since there was very little pain with the contractions.
My midwife announced that I was one in one-thousand women who have painless contractions during labor. Two hours later, they broke the water and my 10 pound baby girl was born! Pushing out a bowling ball with no epidural effing HURT!
Thirty years later, MAM is a successful aerospace engineer with a Master’s degree, working for a defense contractor in the Silicon Valley. LAM is finishing up her last semester of school with a major in Therapeutic Recreation (that apple did fall close to the tree). Both amazing young women.
This milestone year of 30 birthdays for MAM sparked my maternal emotions, and I am reminded of this old song (partial lyrics):
“Where Are You Going (Turn Around)”
Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.
Notes: by Harry Belafonte, Malvina Reynolds and Alan Greene. Published by Clara Music Publishing Corporation (ASCAP). Administered by Next Decade Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.
If you have children, enjoy them at every age. I am blessed to be a mom of these lovely, talented young women. Enjoy this lovely version of the song.