I've written before about my daughter, Bridgete. I've said often how proud I am to be her mother, how brave I think she is for finding her path and sticking to it, how much stronger and better I am for having let myself follow her lead. But today of all days, I need to say it all again.
She's 25 today. I still remember how I felt when after days of labor, no sleep, no food, no progress, I was being wheeled into the operating room where I would have a Caesarean section. My arms were strapped down so the anesthesiologist would be able to monitor my vitals and keep me numb. It's a very odd feeling to be awake and completely unable to move your body from the chest down. But while I was unable to feel pain, I was still able to feel pressure. My contractions were still happening, but it was as if there was someone pushing on my stomach. Then they hung a barrier up between my head and shoulders and the rest of my body. My husband could look over and see what was happening, but all I knew was what I could pick up from the conversation around me and what I could feel in my body.
I felt the pressure of the knife, the widening of the incision, something popped and John said that her head was out. Then the doctor told me I would feel more pressure as they pushed her out of my body.
Through most of my pregnancy, Bridgete had a foot stuck just below my ribs on my right side. Occasionally, when lying down, I could coax her to move it by rubbing on the outline of a foot I could see there. But somehow it always got back there. Now here she was halfway into the world, and that foot was still stuck there. The doctor was pressing and pressing on it. I could feel Bridgete flexing her foot and stubbornly staying in place. Then all at once, she relaxed. She must have been as tired as I was. Her foot dislodged, she came into the world and after the cord was cut, she was weighed and measured (8lbs, 15 oz. 21 1/2 inches long) bundled up and brought over to me and laid on my chest where I could see her. I still couldn't hold her. My arms were tied down and there was still work to do on me.
But Bridgete was here. I spoke her name and she opened her eyes and looked right at me. I felt her body relax onto mine and that was it. I was in love.
For the last 25 years, I have fallen in love with her over and over again. And I know I'll never ever stop. My beautiful, brave, talented, courageous, stubborn (oh so very stubborn...the foot was just the beginning!) independent, honest, intuitive, insightful, passionate, forthright, funny, sweet, love of my life.