This entry is adapted from the entry I placed in Zoë’s baby book. Today is her seventh birthday and I felt it was appropriate to post it. Please bear with me as I tell the story of my daughter to….my daughter.
You arrived triumphantly into this world 7 years ago today at 3:54pm but your story actually begins much earlier. I was working the night shift and was unwinding after a long shift when your mother arrived home having pulled an all nighter herself and announced, “Come upstairs. Quickly. I’m ovulating.” What happened next….well, that’s a whole other story for some other time. Let’s just suffice it to say that on that early morning of May in the year 2000 your story really began.
I remember the morning your mother announced your impending arrival. She suggested we take a short vacation in January. Hey, it’s cold in Middle America in the winter so I was all for it. Then she suggested our resort stay as a hospital on the North East side of town. I thought she had flipped. Then, as my good buddy from Louisiana used to say–“the clouds parted to cast a true shadow.”
The next several months were a blur of doctors visits, baby showers, miniature furniture purchases, purchases of baby powder and onesies. I remember the first time your mother and I walked into Babies R Us. There were things there we knew we needed. (People had told us this.) This was a place where we could get everything we would need to accommodate a new baby in the house. (People had told us this also.) We were not ready. It was apparent to the seasoned shoppers scurrying through the aisles of the store that we were out of sorts. More than once we were asked if we needed help. More than once we responded to those queries much like a doe caught in the mesmerizing glow of an oncoming Peterbuilt. After 40 minutes of shopping we left the store, empty handed and disheartened. We were not ready.
As the days to your arrival grew fewer, our trips to the doctor grew more. Ultrasounds became more frequent and more than once concerns were raised that you might be growing a bit too large. These concerns were transformed into full blown paranoia by your mother who made no bones about the fact that she was none too excited about passing a small rhino through her nether regions. An induction was in order. Your mother and I sat with calendar in hand and selected a day. Your birthday was now set and part of our grand plan. It was out of your control, or so we thought.
The night before the induction we went to dinner (I have no idea where) and we saw a movie (I have no idea what). Conversation was brief and superficial. We both were quite nervous as to what the next morning held for us. Uncertainty has a way of doing that to people. Anticipation has a way of doing that to people. For in less than 12 hours our lives were to be changed forever.
The induction began early the morning of the 18th. Your mother was a trooper as she was poked and prodded and connected to all manner of monitoring devices. I tried to be as supportive as possible yet my attention quite often turned to the monitors. I suppose it’s the curse of being a nurse and knowing just enough about what was going on to make me totally neurotic. I had observed the dips or decels as they are referred to but attributed them to your mother being uncomfortable and moving around too much to get an accurate reading. The morning came and went.
At the mid afternoon shift change the oncoming nurse noticed something concerning. Seems your cord had made a bit of an appearance before you. (This, according to the nurse and as evidenced by the flurry of activity that in mere moments followed her fortuitous finding was not a good thing.) All of a sudden those decels took on a whole new meaning. A whole new significance. In what seemed an instant your mother was whisked away to the surgery suite. After an eternity (3 minutes) I was allowed to join her. Pale and stoic, she was giving one word answers to my questions. I knew that she was OK but your mother is such a tremendously strong person, seeing her like this was a bit unnerving.
An emergency C-section. Who would have thought? When the doctor pulled you out, you looked like a spool of thread. Cord was wrapped around your neck, over your shoulder, around your waist and through your legs. (You were very active in the womb!) I couldn’t hold back the tears. You were the most beautiful sight I had ever laid my eyes upon. My darling baby girl. The whole process from decision for emergency C-section to your delivery took 9 minutes. A truly grand entrance.
Zoë, you are the joy of my life, the culmination of who I am and my greatest dream come true. For as long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted in this life is to be a father, something I never had. I can only hope and pray that as you grow and learn and experience life you will be able to look back and remember your Dad with love and with smiles. I can’t promise you the world. I can’t promise you that I’ll never let you down. I can’t promise you that you will never be disappointed or hurt. But this I can promise.
I will always love you and will always be here for you. You are my heart, my joy, my soul–my little girl.
Happy 7th Birthday. I love you, Zoë!