Thursday, October 19, 2006

wish granted. happy birthday, baby.


This copper star hangs in my bedroom. I bought it when I was pregnant with my sixth, celebrating that with that birth would come the fulfillment of a wish I made when I was a little girl to have six children.

Four years ago my wish was granted. One week and six days after my due date I went for a biophysical profile. An ultrasound to check out how the baby is doing and amniotic fluid levels. After much time spent not seeming to know how to work machine, the tech pronounced my fluid low and said, "That baby needs to be born now."

The radiology center was to report the findings to my midwives so I went home and waited for the call. I called my sister, who was to be my kids' support person, to let her know what was going on and that we would call her once we knew timing. Waiting and waiting with no call. I ended up calling the midwives, who had heard nothing from the radiology place. Induction was discussed with options of pitocin at the hospital or castor oil at the birth center.

Frantic calls were placed to my best friend in California and my much more knowledgeable than I about such matters friend in Colorado (she's now a midwife). Wait. Maybe she was still in California back then. There was much hand holding going on over the wires that day.

We showed up at the birth center around six and were told that we had been expected much earlier. Oops. Castor oil was chugged with a gatorade chaser. Nothing. We watched tv. Nothing. We were getting hungry and decided to head out to get some soup. As we walked down the stairs towards front door the midwife came running up, turning off lights. She frantically asked if we had driven there in a white truck.

Rewind.

It was the fall of 2002. For those of you outside the DC metro area, this was the time of the sniper attacks. After each shooting people had reported seeing a white box truck in the area. White trucks were being stopped on the roads by police and searched. My husband's employees had been forced to lie down on the side of the road while the police waited for someone else to show up with a key to unlock and search the back of their white delivery truck. It was a stressful time.

But why on earth was there one in the birth center parking lot? The midwife continued turning off lights and closing blinds. The police were called. They came, shined a flashlight around as we peeked through the blinds and pronounced all was fine. We watched Animal Cops and waited some more. We listened to the woman laboring with her first in the next room screaming and waited.

It wasn't long after this that my labor finally started (9:30 pm). No soup for me.

Sometime around 1:45 am I stopped wanting to move at all and between contractions we were trying to decide where the baby would be born. I say we, but I wasn't talking. I was sitting in a chair gesturing that the arms of it were hurting my legs. I couldn't really talk at that point. Billiam called my sister to bring the kids and somehow I ended up on the bed.

The room was dark and quiet. The midwife, her assistant, Billiam and me. Then, in an instant, a fifth. Bennett Chase was caught by his daddy at 2:05 am and handed up to me. Nine pounds and four ounces of delicious baby boy. His siblings arrived a few minutes later and fell instantly in love.

After much cooing, holding and admiring, my sister took all but Hope and Clara home. Billiam fell asleep in the rocking chair and the girls slept, sprawled across the bed. I sat in the stillness, tracing and memorizing the lines of my new baby's face. Counting perfect fingers and toes. I laughed to myself that there wasn't room on the bed for me to stretch my legs out.

We were out of the birth center by 6:30 that morning, making room for another laboring mom. As we walked out the front door we heard the first cries of the screaming mom's baby girl and smiled in relief for her.



The 'B' of his first name is for his Meemo, Betty, who died before we knew he was on the way. His middle name was my great-grandmother's maiden name.

Ben is my huggy, kissy boy. My upper arm is his security blanket and he is sometimes compelled to shower it with juicy kisses. He is equally at home playing cars and superheros with Abie as he is sitting and having a tea party with Emma. Dressed in pink. He worships Abie and will always change his answer to match. Unless it's about ketchup on his cheeseeburger. Cheeseburger plain, please.

Unlike his more reserved brothers and sisters, he will chat with the checker at the grocery store and smile and wave to strangers. He heart is easily bruised and he will cry rivers of tears if he thinks he has accidentally hurt his baby sister.

He is the messiest eater in the world.

And today he is four. So much closer to school age than babyhood. My heart soars and breaks at once. Happy birthday, Bendito. You are my wish come true and you are much loved.

click to read the sign his sister, Emma, made for him







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6 Comments:

Blogger Leslie said...

Happy birthday Ben!

10/19/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger Angela Martínez said...

You have the amazing ability to write the sweetest, tenderest stories of your children. Happy birthday Ben! You certainly are one precious little boy!

10/19/2006 11:02 AM  
Blogger Pearls Mother said...

Happy Birthday Ben.
Gretchen,
your story is beautiful,
just like your birthday boy.
Big hugs to you all on such a special day.

10/19/2006 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ben...one of our favorite Oct02 babies.

The first photo brings back memories of all the photo sharing we used to do when they were babies/toddlers. He's such a big boy now...and, as always, so photogenic!

10/19/2006 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Happy birthday from Norway to a handsome and cute little boy.

10/19/2006 4:10 PM  
Blogger RobinPregnancy said...

Happy birthday! I remember all the hullabaloo! I can't believe your "baby" is this big...

10/19/2006 7:33 PM  

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