Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Memories from Ann Arbor days
Dad and I went sledding in the Arboretum one fine winter day. Unfortunately, we had only one sled. That led to duplex sledding, which led to cracked ribs for Dad when we hit a rock. Sigh.
Katie was born in at Women's Hospital, which was a short walk across a parking lot from our apartment in University Terrace. We only had to stop once on the way across for a contraction (I hung around Dad's neck).
I had made the ridiculous mistake of agreeing to be interviewed by a PhD student during labor. Since there was money involved, it didn't seem ridiculous initially. However, when she interviewed me during transition, it became apparent that the plan was idiotic.
Dad and I had practiced Lamaze breathing technique for relaxing and dealing with the pain of contractions. One method of helping me re-focus on my breathing pattern was for him to breathe along with me, quite close to my face -- presumably so that no matter what state of mind I was in, I couldn't fail to see him. One thing we hadn't counted on was the possibility that taking deep, rapid breaths might cause him to hyperventilate. Watching him breathe into a paper bag was a diversion, but didn't help my concentration very much.
The birth of all babies is a miracle, but the birth of a first baby seems even more so. Katie's birth was a revelation to me. I knew, theoretically, that I was carrying a baby and that I would have that baby at some point. However, as the due date passed and one week turned into two, I began to doubt that. I felt that perhaps I would be pregnant and sick forever, and that this was simply a cruel hoax. However, the day (actually, night) of my deliverance came. There she was, lying on my stomach -- a new person! Although to Dad this seemed like stating the obvious, I could only repeat over and over again, crying and trembling with joy and exhaustion, "A baby! A baby!"