Tonight, the Parent Imperfect can’t help but think back to eight years ago. It was an unseasonably warm night, too warm for a very pregnant E to sleep. Just as she got to sleep, a black and white Hummer drove up and parked across the street with a stereo playing so loud that the bass rattled our windows…and woke up a woman desperate for sleep. The man had no idea of the risk he was taking.
Not long after the car finally left, Liz began to sense the first waves of contractions. This time, at least, the Parent Imperfect was closer than the distance from Somerville to New Haven. At 1:25AM, we called the same Daniel whose birthday we just celebrated on Saturday, and asked if he would come stay with the soon-to-be big brother, Vincent. D got from Jamaica Plain to Roslindale much too quickly. The PI also managed to warn the Brigham that we were on our way.
When we got to the hospital, the contractions were already quite bad, but they didn’t have a room for Liz. She sat in a holding room for what seemed like hours, but wasn’t. When they moved her into a birthing room at about 3:30AM, E was repeating over and over, “This can’t go on like this for much longer.” At about that time, the midwife realized that some blood test results were not in the computer, so she asked Liz to sit in a chair for a blood draw.
“I don’t think I can sit up that long,” said Liz. “I feel like this baby is coming.”
“Oh, you’ll be all right…We’ll have you back in bed in just a minute,” answered the midwife, standing next to a cart, shuffling little instruments around, and looking unconcerned.
As she helped L into the chair, the nurse said, “I think you’re right. This isn’t going to be long.”
The nurse stuck the needle into Liz’s arm and began filling the first of four tubes. As she started the second one, L tried to raise up off the chair.
“I’m telling you! This baby is coming!!” A couple of exclamation points do little to convey the emotion in her voice.
The nurse looked down and realized that Liz knew of what she spoke. She handed the Parent Imperfect the blood tubes and shouted to the midwife that the baby was coming. To her credit, the midwife reacted very quickly, grabbing a piece of plastic that looked a lot like a hunk of shiny raincoat and rushing to Ellen. She got there just in time as Connie surged out of her mother and stage dove onto the piece of plastic. This child was a child who would forever jump right into life. It was 4:05AM.
Come to think of it, the PI has no recollection of what happened with the blood tests that had been so important.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), Connie willcelebrate her eighth birthday. Being the youngest in her class, by far, she is really ready to be eight. Born on September 23, 2001, C’s age marks the passage of time from the days of collective shock after 9/11/2001. Her family was incredibly privileged to embrace new life at a time when so many people, including many right here in Boston, were experiencing something quite different.
But tomorrow will be about celebration. If the Parent Imperfect can drag himself out of bed in time, he’ll kick the day off by indulging la cumpleañera y su hermano with some version of Belgian Waffles.