Pink

During the contraction, I held my Mt. Everest stomach and scrunched up my face as the pain made its way to the end. Matt felt helpless as he watched my face contort, wanting to do anything to alleviate my discomfort. But just having him near was support enough and he knew it. It’s Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, so what better timing to have a baby? Aside from contractions, the soft pastel blues in my hospital room relaxed me. The young nurse on my shift wore her long auburn hair in a soft ponytail and she had the warmest smile. Her voice was as rich and soothing as chocolate. She didn’t make me feel like another cow in line, ready to be forced out the door when all was done.

It’s amazing how calm I was on this day, considering how jumpy my nerves were when we first found out the news nine months earlier. I had a hunch I might be pregnant, so when I saw the ballet-slipper shade of pink, it may as well have been a bright bouquet of fuchsias. Mixed feelings swirled around in my mind. I was happy and scared to death at the same time. For some reason, I’ve always felt I had a low tolerance to pain. So, when the pink shined at me like a beacon for my future, I thought to myself, can I really do this?

Matt and I had talked about starting a family, so the timing was perfect. And despite my fear of pain, I chose to have natural childbirth. I wanted to feel each contraction and any agony that paralleled the miracle of giving birth. I needed to remember what it took to bring a little human being into our family of two, making it three. We found a method to help manage the contractions called Lamaze, so we signed up for a nearby course right away. There were several couples in the class, and it was special knowing we would all soon experience the same miracle of bringing new life into this world. Matt sat behind me, giving hugs every now and then as reassurance of his presence. This class was good for us to bond as parents-to-be.

Baby shower time!

Here comes another contraction as beads of sweat form on my forehead. I slowly inhaled, then exhaled, and repeated for as long as the drum beat of the pain continued. I didn’t morph into “Linda Blair,” although Matt’s story may vary. “Don’t do that!” I yelled, as he laid a cold compress on my forehead. His hand jerked back, and at that moment, we both learned I didn’t want to be touched when the pain ran full steam ahead. I closed my eyes and breathed in and out like I learned in Lamaze, but I focused on breathing slowly. The last thing I needed to do was hyperventilate. He waited until the agitated Lauren vanished and the kind Lauren returned. My blue hospital gown became drenched, and I prayed our baby wouldn’t delay its arrival. But whatever the time-frame, I had no choice except to stay on this wild ride and hold on with a firm grip.

It appeared that time passed like pouring molasses into a mixing bowl. Six and a half hours later, we welcomed our baby girl, and I couldn’t believe I made it through without any medication! One detail Matt and I agreed upon was wanting the element of surprise, so in the beginning, we didn’t know what the gender was going to be. All we were concerned about was having a healthy baby and we couldn’t wait to count those ten little fingers and ten tiny toes. But when we heard her vocals strong enough to make any singer jealous, it was like we had transported into the land of joy. Our family of two grew to three twenty-nine years ago.

Baby Stephanie

Our daughter’s birth came at a surreal time in our lives. My mother-in-law, Diane, was ill and passed away earlier that year, soon after we told her she was going to become a grandma for the first time. She was elated with this knowledge and it comforted her in those last days. But the fact that she would never hold her granddaughter or have the chance to spoil her like grandmas should do was heartbreaking. Even with the healing magic of time, we still feel cheated as though multiple chapters were ripped from our family novel. Because of this sadness, Matt had hoped for a baby girl. Too soon in life, he lost his mom, but he gained a daughter and she had a sweet way of softening the grieving stages.

When I first held our little girl, I was on a high that I had never experienced before, unsure if my feet were still on the ground. Steph had beautiful little rosebud lips and the softest skin. I instantly felt the bond between us. The pain I so vehemently dreaded in the beginning faded into no man’s land. As a result, when we decided to have another child, I didn’t have second thoughts. I was ready for deep breathing, for sweating, and to face that pain head on with boxing gloves because I knew the reward would be worth it.

We repeated our plans with the element of surprise, so it was euphoria again when our baby boy was born. After an even shorter labor of two and a half hours, I can’t deny being lucky. When I held our son for the first time, looking at his precious little face, my heart melted into a puddle of love. We named him Michael, a popular name but a favorite of ours, and he completed our family almost four years later.

Baby Michael

I recall the varied emotions from becoming a parent almost thirty years ago…the joy, the fear, the uncertainty, the second-guessing of whether I’d be a good mom or not. Experiences I can’t touch again, but memories and details I can hold forever. Becoming a mother was the first career I wanted; no other vocation equaled my longing. Parenthood turned out to be a lot of things…rewarding, thankless, fulfilling, and frustrating. Although challenges are unavoidable, those become overshadowed from the joy that manifests itself like finding the pot of gold. I’m grateful for the positive pink that even in its muted shade, shined brightly, changing my life twofold in the most worthwhile ways.

Seems like just yesterday 🙂

Since my daughter recently celebrated her birthday, I thought it was perfect timing to share my memories of becoming a mom. As the years pass, some details fade, but others stay vivid in my heart and mind. 💗

34 thoughts on “Pink

    • That’s really nice to “say” John, especially coming from such a talented writer as yourself. I just made a couple of edits and wished I had seen them earlier! 😁 I knew that when I posted this story, not everyone would be interested. But in light of the world events, fires, wild weather, and anything else that’s causing anxiety these days, it made me feel good to share. She’s in TN and I miss her so much, so we couldn’t celebrate together, but Face-timing and Zooming are the next best options. Thanks again for your kind comment and hope you’re weather is mild…

      • My youngest is 30 so this story hit home. We are so lucky to have her here in Austin. (Well full disclosure. We moved here to be close). I’m the last one to see any edit needs since I’m the sloppiest writer on the planet. 😁

      • I get it, John. I don’t think I’m cut out to have my kids live so far away. But she pursued her dreams and we’re still working, so we can’t move just yet. But we talk, text, and FaceTime frequently, so that comforts me knowing she and her husband are safe. I’m a wimp emotionally. 😢😄 It’s great you’re able to be close to your daughter. Have a good day. I have catching up to do on your posts.

    • Hi Marina, I’m glad you enjoyed this snippet into the early days of parenting for my husband and I. There’s so much to be anxious about these days and with my daughter’s recent birthday, I felt like sharing, wanting to focus on something good and positive. Thanks again and sending hugs back to you for such a beautiful comment. And lots of love, too!!! 💖💖💖💖💖

  1. Not an easy experience for a woman. I know my wife developed complications that necessitated a C Section. It was exhausting for her. But as you say when the child is placed in a mother’s arms all the troubles of birth seem to evaporate. I told my wife she had exclusive right to the baby girl for nine months and now born she was mine. Obviously I did not win that one. 🙂

  2. Such loving memories and thoughts, Lauren. ❤ It seems like those days have gone in the blink of an eye, doesn't it? Yes, I agree with you, with everything going on these memories are so precious. My daughter is 27 now and far away. Thank goodness for video calls and messaging. ❤ We are grateful. ❤ ❤ Much love flowing to you all. ❤ ❤

    • Aww, Jane, it comforts me that you can relate with your daughter being close to the same age and living far away. I’m not good at this distance thing, but it’s been almost two years, so I’m making the best of it. And what would we do without the technology of today? Thanks for the love, dear friend, and sending you back an abundance! 💝💝💝

  3. Hi Lauren – a beautiful story. It takes a calm mind to go through labor without painkillers. Congratulations. The vivid memories of giving birth stay with us but the pain does vanish, doesn’t it? Great post!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara, and I didn’t think I could stay calm. Sometimes, we find things out about ourselves and are pleasantly surprised. But needing meds is fine, too. Believe me, I would’ve had no trouble asking. And it’s interesting how memories of the pain vanish when we hold our precious little bundle in our arms. 🙂 Thanks again!

      • Oh I agree. I had epidurals for my first 2, but there wasn’t time for my 3rd – I wasn’t mentally prepared for that so it was hard. I didn’t have medicine for my 4th and because I was more prepared, I was able to get through it pretty well. Still the memory of the pain goes away almost completely, doesn’t it?

    • Thanks so much, Betty. I really posted this for me. It gave me a reason to smile along with Steph’s birthday. There’s just so much to worry about these days. So, I’m touched that my memories were enjoyed by others as well. And thanks for the bday wishes, too! I’ll pass them along. Hugs, my friend. 💗💗💗

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