Birthday Girl

Bill was under strict orders to be in his barrack room at a certain hour to get an update. I knew I was in labor, and I happened to have an appointment with the midwife that morning. She confirmed what I knew, and I went home to call my husband in Kosovo, make final arrangements for the kids, and try to rest until it was time to have the baby.

Three other times I had gone into the hospital to have a baby. I would turn to my husband and ask, “Are you ready for this?” You can never truly know how much your life will change when you bring a new life into it. It is a wonderful and terrifying thought. I think often about Simeon telling the Blessed Mother that a sword will pierce her heart. I wonder if she heard those words with the same optimism with which I usually face a child’s birth, despite knowing in my head the physical, mental and emotional difficulties that lie in raising that child to adulthood.

This time, with a deployed husband, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t optimistic. “I don’t want to do this without you,” I sniffled on the phone. Of course, ready or not, babies come.
And five years ago today, Jenny joined our family. Bill was able to listen on the phone, and we had a videocamera taping the event which he watched later. My sister held my hand and got to watch her goddaughter enter the world (it took her a good 48 hours to recover from that experience). It was a calm, peaceful birth. It would have been perfect if Bill could have been there.

Happy birthday, darling daughter. Beautiful, perfect, five year old bundle of sweetness.

13 thoughts on “Birthday Girl

  1. Happy Birthday, Sweetie! Such a cutie pie!

  2. Happy birthday to your sweet little girl!

  3. Just to be clear- there was no calm and peaceful about it. How the years change perspective! I remember Bill FREAKING out over the fact that you were screaming and he didn’t know what was going on! And it didn’t take me days to get over the childbirth; it took days to get over taking care of 5 kids under the age of 7. Anyway, I love that girl! And I am so grateful that I got to be a part of her birth as well as be her Godmother. Thanks, Michelle, for letting me be there for you and her.

  4. happy birthday!!r

  5. and, wow, i cant imagine tug not being there. thanks again to your family for the sacrifices you have made, and continue to make!!!r

  6. Happy birthday to Jenny from our family, especially the one who shares her name!

  7. Happy birthday Jennie! I had to chuckle from Barb’s response!

  8. Happy, Happy Birthday! Many Years!

  9. Please wish her a Happy Birthday for me! I have a move tonight at work and won’t get a chance to call. Thanks.

  10. What a beautiful, bittersweet birth story. Happy Birthday!

  11. Ah, what a sweetheart! I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but could you give her an extra squeeze for me. She’s just 3 months older than our Becca who is now a saint in heaven.

  12. Lorri, I hugged her good and tight.Barb, it was calm<>er<> and more peaceful than most of my other births. You just didn’t see them. Mary’s was probably the calmest and most peaceful until those last, excruciating 20 minutes or so.

  13. From one military wife to another, I too, experienced giving birth to a beautiful daughter while my husband was in Afghanistan. He didn’t get a video nor was he able to listen on the phone. Nonetheless, he was able to call me a half hour after my daughter was born and heard her her impatient cries of feeding. It’s amazing how much strength God grants us when we need it. I never thought I could do it without my husband there either! Happy Birthday, Jenny! – Tanti – P.S. Michelle, you truly have beautiful children. You go, girl! 🙂

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