my mom was kind enough to write this up for me to post for today.
which is my twenty third birthday.
Twenty-three years ago today, I had no idea how much my life was about to change.
In fact, it turned out to be the most important day of my life up to that point.
Although I had had success in life, nothing could compare to what happened that
I had lost my own mother to cancer when I just a teenager, so being pregnant for
the first-time was not easy. I had no one to turn to for advice during my pregnancy.
My due date was December 25th. But on the night of December 22nd, I thought my
water broke. We were living in Laguna Beach, California, and I was set to deliver
at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, a good two hours away. Even longer
in a torrential rainstorm. I was terrified on that long drive to the hospital. And
embarrassed to find out it wasn’t my water that broke after all, just a lot of peeing!
My husband and I barely spoke on the drive back.
In the late afternoon the next day (12/23), I drove to pick up our dry-cleaning, and
as I got out of the car, I heard a distinctive “pop” and fluid began drenching my jeans.
The Oriental workers at the dry cleaners became as frantic as me, and lined my
car seat with plastic wrap. I jumped back in the car and sped towards our house,
honking the horn incessantly as I pulled into the driveway. At first my husband
didn’t believe me, but as the fluid kept flowing onto our kitchen floor, he quickly
changed his mind.
When we got to the hospital, there was no room to put me in – it was a full moon,
and a lot of women delivering, I was told – so I did the beginning of my labor sitting
in a chair. By the time I got into a bed, it was time to get an epidural. My husband
was monitoring the equipment I was hooked up to, and he said I was having a
contraction. I remember replying “Contraction? I’m having a contraction?” By this
time it was the wee hours of December 24th and my doctor poked his head in, and
said it was probably going to be a long haul ahead for me. But I told him I felt like
pushing, and he decided to check my progress. He was shocked when he saw I
was at 10 centimeters. Everything happened quickly from that point on. We were
rushed into the delivery room, and I remember thinking there was no turning back
now. The epidural was still in effect, and I thought the doctor and nurses were
crazy when they kept yelling at me to “push”. “I am pushing!” I shouted back. They
went to get forceps but fortunately they couldn’t find any, so a “Nazi” nurse (a huge
woman with zero personality), laid herself over my stomach and pressed her body
against my stomach. Then the most beautiful little baby slid out and we were told
it was a girl! I looked up and saw the doctor holding her – she was still attached to
the umbilical cord that was coming out of my uterus – an overwhelming sight I will
never ever forget. We wept tears of joy. When they put this little girl on my chest, I
felt complete for the first time in my life.
We debated over names for our beauty, and decided on “Chelsey”. On the second
day, my husband was going to the nursery to get the baby and said that maybe we
should think of a different name. I said, “But we’ve been calling her Chelsey!” While
he was gone, I grabbed a “baby name” book that I had brought to the hospital, and
opened it randomly. As they came back into the room, my eyes fell upon the first
name I saw and I said, “Hi, Minnie!” He said, “Fine, she’s Chelsey,” but we’re going to
spell it with a “y”.
Chelsey was, and still is, my best Christmas present ever.
Happy Birthday, Chelsey! I love you.