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.