Thursday, January 20, 2005

Another Inauguration Day

For me most inauguration days are marked only by an extra day off from work. I don’t attend any of the parades or balls or other official hoopla. But one past inauguration day – 1981 Ronald Reagan – has special significance for me.

I was almost 9 months pregnant with my now 6-foot-tall son Daniel, having had a threatened pregnancy. It was a very cold day and we were out in a park walking our very stupid dachshund, Schnitzel (Schnizzie), when all of a sudden I felt water running down my legs and realized that it was time! We called our dog sitter, BP, and jumped into the car with my little suitcase to head off to Washington Hospital Center, where my wonderful Chinese doctor Maureen Chua practiced. We had worried about getting to the hospital if I had gone into labor during rush hour, since it is about 12 miles through downtown DC from our house. But on inauguration day, especially before the days of ultra-security, it was smooth sailing.

I was in a birthing room, which was like a bedroom, with a TV and soft light. I remember Dr. Chua being more interested in whatever the Redskins were doing on TV than in my contractions at times. I had hung a beautiful crystal focal point to look at when the waves of pain came and I breathed through them with David's help. I worried because they hooked Daniel up to a fetal monitor (meaning that they put some sort of wire in his head – gross!) in order to monitor his heart rate. I steadfastly refused to take any drugs. The pain was bearable.

About 6 hours later, Daniel was born. He was 7 pounds and 21 inches – an average size baby, although I must say that he felt like a basketball passing through my cervix. He screamed, scored well on the Apgar test, and was happy to nurse at my breast. Dr. Chua stitched me up and Daniel went to join the other babies in the nursery. One of the few advantages of being at WHC was that he was the only white baby in the nursery, so there was little chance of a baby swap.

BP didn’t fare so well with Schnizzie, who at one point peed all over the white bedspread on the bed where BP was supposed to sleep. For being such a small dog, she was a lot of trouble.

Inauguration day never rolls around but that I don’t remember this one. It was my inauguration into motherhood, much more significant to me than any President taking office!


Blogger Liea said...

Thanks for sharing your memory.

Ever since I found out that I am going to become a grandmother, I have been thinking about the day my daughter was born. Soon she will have a wonderful memory of her own. Although there are always some hardship stories we can share about childbirth, the experiance is something we should treasure forever. There is nothing like a new life coming into the world.

8:42 PM  

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