Reading Gary Riths at Potters blog post on the watches he collects reminded me of this very pivotal time in my life.
When my baby was born I was just shy of thirty. I sewed curtains, mattress pads, crocheted baby blankets, made flannel sheets to fit her cradle, and designed the perfect diaper bag. All while working full time. I was a very excited mother to be, a meat wrapper, lifting heavy turkeys the Christmas before her birth. I was so strong and healthy. I found the smell of meat cooking quite revolting. I ate what ever my body required, which was mostly fruit. Piles of fruit...we had eleven boxes of Japanese oranges a few months prior to her birth.
I was fortunate to have such a fabulous pregnancy. I didn't even take prenatal vitamins because they gave me headaches. I think I was over loaded with iron from all the liver we'd eaten weekly the years before. I know, I know, some people hate liver.....and I think I am one of those people now. Because the moment I got pregnant I couldn't eat it and have never eaten it since. That's over twenty three years now.
At my job a district manager watched me humping the turkeys around with my big belly and wondered aloud to a coworker when I was going to have my baby. The coworker jested about my strength, explaining I'd have it one day and be back to work the next. It's wasn't necessary to have fitness training during those years when my job was a daily work out!
In preparation of the birth I bought my partner a pocket watch, and had it engraved with "On the birth of our first child." I wanted him to look back at that watch and feel the sentiments of this time. I secretly hoped he'd have bought be something to commemorate her birth....anything, just something to pass onto her when she was grown or had her first child.
The labor was a long and difficult twenty two hours. In the end I delivered naturally but the cord was wrapped around her neck, and I hemorrhaged after the rapid episiotomy. Luckily she was out before the cord did any permanent damage. However during some of her punchy moments we still wonder. I'm jesting of course and thankful she was fine, save a little bent nose. After all the hoopla of the delivery, my hemorrhage and two hour wait to be stitched by my doctor and a specialist , I gave her dad his watch. He was pretty excited , coveting it for a few years until the novelty wore off and he saw something he wanted more.
I waited to receive flowers from him. For all the years we were together he randomly bought me flowers for no reason at all. After twelve years of marriage and the birth of our first child, nothing, not even a card. Thankfully my friends diverted my disappointment with wonderful surprises, of flowers and things for my baby. I was hospitalized for seven days because of the hemorrhage, I remember how sad and lonely it felt, that my partner never knew just how hurt I felt as a new mother. Maybe it wasn't even the flowers or the acknowledgment. I think it was that my dad was dying, my mother was unavailable and I just needed to feel adored by my partner. It seemed like I did all the preparation alone and pretty much continued to do so the rest of my life as a parent. Even the brief ten years he was involved I felt like a single parent. I wonder what ever happened to the watch? I still wished I had something to commemorate that most incredible time in my life. I wonder if this was the beginning of the end for us?