I wasn’t ready. I was scared and knew that it was too soon, but I also think that I knew deep in my heart that it was true. My body worked on a tight schedule and knowing that I was five days late was proof enough. But still, I was in denial.
I was scared that Dean would have a heart attack and so I sent him out shopping with my best friend, Shannon. While out, she suggested it might be a good idea to pick up a pregnancy test. Or three. He came home with the bag and I headed to the bathroom.
Dean was a lot more calm than I was when I told him. He sort of laughed a little. I was stunned and with a pale face, walked next door to Shannon’s house where I plowed into her kitchen and just looked at her. Of course she knew the result right away.
I was scared and unexcited. I had two boys and was convinced that son number three was buried tightly in my abdomen. I also knew that there was no way we were having any more than three children and so if I was to have a daughter, this was my last opportunity to do so.
God, I wanted a daughter so badly.
I was obsessed with my own fear. I think it took me about eight months just to get adjusted to the idea that it might be another boy and be okay with that. I adore my boys, but I so badly wanted to have the bond that Mama’s have with their little girls. I cried so much to Dean during this time, but eventually, I realized that my third son would be just as magical as my first two.
His name was going to be Logan Yorke Henry.
I awaited my twenty week ultrasound with my breath held because this would be the day that would finally tell us who was inside of me. I went into the room anxious and terrified and stared so hard at the monitor. There were white tigers everywhere… all over the walls. The tech had a thing for the white tigers and I stared at them and listened to my heart pounding. I begged the tech to let me know if it was a girl or a boy but the baby was stubborn and wouldn’t uncross the tiny legs that withheld the mystery. I was devastated.
In the course of this pregnancy, I dragged Shannon to the community college about 20 times in the hopes that the student techs there could tell me and each and every time this baby hid herself. I was losing my mind. In the meantime, I had gotten huge. My midwife and I were frightened that I would deliver a ten pound baby and after a horrid labor with the nine and a half pound Owen, we thought it best to try to force labor beforehand. She taught Dean how to strip my membranes and he did so every day for a week.
It didn’t work and so one night in my eighth month, I sent him to the store for castor oil. I drank it at 11 o’clock at night and by 4 in the morning, I was in labor.
This was my longest labor… about 17 hours. I walked, went to the hospital where they hooked me up to pitocin and broke my water. I labored there for another six hours and it was the worst labor I had had. I had no epidural and was in hell although they were injecting me with enough pain medicine to kill a horse. I asked for more.
“We’ve given you enough to kill a horse. If we give you more, you’ll die.”
Oh. Okay, then. I was miserable. It was too much. I suddenly started having a strong urge to push and a nurse came over and checked me and told me it wasn’t time yet. Then, she walked away.
Once she walked away, my body started pushing on it’s own and I tried desperately to try to stop the baby from coming out. Then, I felt her head emerge and I calmly said, “The head is out.” Everyone was talking and laughing and paying no attention to me. I repeated what I had just said and still no one heard me.
“Hey! The fucking head is out!!!” I bellowed.
Everyone stopped and turned around and looked at me. I was just sitting there with the sheet over me. They just stared. Then, someone ran for the nurse and Dean started running in circles. The nurse came in and lifted up the sheet and then shouted, “don’t push!”. I yelled back at her, “I’m fucking NOT! I told you the baby was coming out, goddamn it!”
She ran for rubber gloves and by the time she had returned, the baby had plopped out right on the mattress. They hadn’t even had time to remove the end of the bed.
“Is it a girl?” I asked. No one answered. “Is it a girl!!!!!” I screamed.
“Yes, Kyra… it’s a girl and she is big and beautiful and amazing!” my friend Jen finally answered.
I began to cry. I just kept repeating that it was a girl… MY girl.. my beautiful daughter who I had begun dreaming about when I was about four years old as I rocked my baby dolls to sleep. Someone handed her to me and I cradled her in my arms, tears on my face.
“What the fuck?” I said. “She looks like David Letterman.”
My baby was hideous. She was red and had weird hair and looked exactly like David fucking Letterman. My dream daughter was ugly as hell.
I adored her.
So, she looked like David Letterman. Who cares? She was… amazing.
On the way home from the hospital Dean said to me, “Hey baby… I heard this new song and I love it. It reminds me so much of you. If there was a song that ever reminded me of you and everything you’ve been through, this song is it.” Then, he played the song Daughters by John Mayer. I broke down in the car and couldn’t speak.
I had a daughter and no one would ever hurt her. She would be loved and protected. She would be valued and honored.
The next months were months of extraordinary joy. We named our little girl Olivia… a name chosen for grace and beauty and peace. Her middle name, Rose, was inspired by The Beatles and how this little baby was to be my rose colored glasses. With her, I could see no ugly in the world.
I watched this baby’s every move. She was perfect. At three months, Shannon grabbed her belly and a loud burst of laughter like nothing you’d ever hear from such a tiny baby came dribbling out. We couldn’t believe it. From that point on, she laughed at everything. She was happy and content and calm but outspoken even from an early age about who she was and what she stood for.
Olivia was adored by everyone. At her first birthday, a hundred people showed up including two crashers who no one knew. Olivia fell asleep and missed out on so much of it.
She looked just like Tinkerbell with her blond hair and her bright blue eyes and this was how I referred to her. She could make me believe in anything.
As she got older, she got happier, something I didn’t think was possible. I have gotten to rough house with my boys, play soldier and giggle about naked butts. I have also gotten to talk about Princesses and fairy tales and dance the ballet with a small, grinning little girl.
She is so smart. She is so beautiful. She sings songs and draws pictures and cuddles her stuffed animals. She loves to dress up and play games and pretend to be any number of things she could be when she grows up.
In the night, I feel her crawl into my bed and curl up next to me under the blankets. I wake up in the morning and she is there, blond hair sticking up in every direction and a soft expression on her face. She looks like an angel and when she opens her eyes and smiles, she wraps her arms around my head and squeezes me tight as she says, “good morning, Mommy.”
Mommy…. I loooove you. I hear this about fifty times a day as she cuddles me or spins in circles around the living room. She is a lover and a daredevil and always has things happening.I am so amazed by her.
Olivia has grown into an awesome young lady. She takes shit from no one and loves everyone. She is a self proclaimed evil genious although I wonder where the evil is. She says it is there so I believe her but I have yet to see it and I’m fairly certain it doesn’t exist. I think she just likes to think herself rather wicked.
My beautiful baby is three years old today. She has given me three years out of the decades I have fantasized about. I dream of listening to her ramble excitedly over her first crush. I imagine holding her after her first heartbreak. There will be kisses and school dances and making daisy chains and paper dolls.
Then some day maybe she will come home with pink hair and a ginormous ring through her nose. Maybe she will have her boyfriend’s name tattooed on her ass. Perhaps there will be times when I catch her wearing just a bit too much eyeliner or find a ridiculously short skirt in her backpack. There will be times when she storms off, slams her door and screams that she hates me. She will break many hearts, including mine. And it is all worth it.
Someday maybe she will be having a baby of her own and I will be there with her as she cries and sweats and brings life into the world. I know I’ll cry, too and I think I understand why mother’s cry over their grandbabies. You just adore your baby so much and then she grows up and produces something so amazing. How could you not be proud of that?
I will be so proud of everything this little girl does. She will cause me so much fear when she comes home late or when she starts dating someone a bit questionable. But I love her now and I will love her then and I cannot wait to share every single upset, panic, adoration and everything in between with her.
For now, I will simply soak myself in the happiness I feel when I see her smile. She is beautiful on the inside and out and so smart and talented. I am the luckiest person in the world.
Happy birthday, Olivia.