Celebrating Birthdays: A Mother’s Memories

Memories from those first 24 hours of parenthood will never leave me. A little baby and miracle named Issa made her début 10 years ago. All those weeks during my pregnancy with her had been preparation. I made time for breakfast, remembered to take my vitamins and did my homework. Indulgences such as caffeine, alcohol, sushi and stylish shoes had to go. Frequent bathroom trips during the night trained me for late-night feedings and diaper changes. Shopping sprees were to buy splurges and necessities for Issa; not me.

Upon gazing into that little newborn face I knew becoming a mom was a blessing as well as challenge; a life-long challenge. But, still, I wondered. What she be at 5; 7; and 10? Would she like going to school? What would her likes and dislikes? Could I camouflage my Type A personality with the patience of a saint? Would I handle illnesses, injuries, upsets and academic hurdles like a warrior; or a wuss? Finally, would I be a worthy advocate, protector and friend?

At 5, I knew Issa was a miracle child with some challenges that would make some physical, academic and social activities difficult. But, I also knew her love for learning; and her determination to succeed would carry her. Issa loves going to school. She hates to miss a day. Her desire to learn was the key at 7 and still enables her success. She strives to do her best every day.

I still do not have answers to many of my parenting questions. There are days when I start feeling like the supermom, but then end up in the dunce corner. Parenthood is unpredictable. Likes and dislikes change. When Issa was five she loved elephants and sought all information she could obtain to learn more about these large, magnificent animals. But, then, her fascination with elephants morphed into affection for mice, then dinosaurs, then outer space and now snakes.

Each birthday I celebrate with Issa, I feel intense joy and love. I recall those first 24 hours of her life in vivid detail. God blessed me 10 years ago when Issa was born.

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago, I waited. The medicine the doctor gave to induce labor had started to work. I was told, it could take hours or even days before I would meet my baby. I was about to become a mom for the first time.

Up until the previous day, my pregnancy had been a breeze. I felt good, could eat anything and still maintained a fairly active lifestyle. But, at 38 weeks and at my weekly OB check, my blood pressure was way up and there was protein in my urine. My doctor directed me to the hospital. While I felt a slight twinge of fear, I was optimistic. Surely, the hospital staff would check me out and send me home.

Upon my arrival at the mom/baby unit at the hospital, a nurse promptly informed me of my situation. I had developed pregnancy-induced hypertension (i.e. pre-eclampsia or toxemia). Symptoms included high blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling due to water/fluid retention. I would not be leaving the hospital until after I delivered my baby.

While my ordeal with toxemia was scary, my husband who also served as my delivery coach, kept worry out of my mind. He helped me focus on breathing through labor pains, staying still while receiving the epidural, and enjoying the first few moments of my daughter’s life.

When I delivered my beautiful, baby girl, Issa, she was incredibly sweet, just like she is today. I was thrilled to be mom to this little angel who continues to  grow into a smart young lady who loves her family, friends, planet, snakes, roller coasters and the solar system.

Recovery from toxemia took longer than I expected. I suppose I really didn’t appreciate how sick I was. Prior to this experience, the only illnesses I ever experienced were brushes with common ailments such as the flu. This experience taught me to count my blessings: family, health, faith, and a positive outlook.

Isn’t it interesting how the birth of a child can teach us so much about ourselves and about the world?

Happy Birthday to my Issa!