How can I begin to tell the story of my daughter’s birth? With the end.
After more than an hour-and-a-half of pushing and six-and-a-half hours of unmedicated labor, my eyes boiled shut as canning seals, the midwife said to me, “Reach down and take your baby.” My baby. Mine. Reach down and take your baby. So I did.
And there she was, only, I didn’t know yet that she was a she. I observed her slick head, plastered with dark hair, her roaming eyes and slowly pinking limbs. So profound was M’s wonder that he nearly forgot that we wanted him to announce her sex after waiting so long to find out, these last hours the longest. He lifted her leg, surprised, delighted, and told me, “It’s a girl!” We’d been so sure we were having a boy. During my pregnancy I’d had only one dream where our baby was not a ravenously toothed animal, and in that dream, she was a she. It seemed this was the wicked smart and lovely gal I’d conjured in my sleep.
I lifted her from my belly to my chest and marveled at the little person we had made. We named her Elinor Anna. Already she is a passionate and pensive girl, sweet even when her howling mouth fusses at my breast or wordless wails to change and dress her as quickly as possible, please and thank you.
I find I miss her after a particularly long nap, that I need to see her face or risk mine running with tears only to begin to cry when she wakes anyway. I am overwhelmed by her existence. There are such depths in her steel blue eyes, darkening and deepening with every new day we spend together.
I really, really, really love her.