15 years ago today I was 36 hours into what would turn out to be a 56 hour labor.
My first born child, who everyone thought would be a boy (based on how I was carrying, how I felt, how the stars aligned, etc), was in no rush to enter the world. Some time at about the 36 hour mark, all those years ago – my friend Tina, who had come halfway around the world to be with me for the birth and who is herself a doctor – announced that the baby was most assuredly a girl. How did she know? Because the baby’s heartbeat never increased or showed any signs of stress despite the long labor. “Boys,” she said, “don’t handle long labor very well. The heart rate would definitely have increased by now if the baby was a boy. This is a girl.”
20 hours later, in the presence of two nurses and two midwives (because did I mention that this was a natural childbirth? ), Tina was proven right. Maya finally joined us, and immediately wanted food. No crying, no looking around in wonder, simply an open mouth directed at the food source.
I remember one of the nurses chuckling and saying “Well, she definitely knows what she wants!”
She had no idea.
Maya has always known exactly what she wanted, even if as a baby she was unable to communicate it to us in a way we somewhat dim-witted adults were able to understand. Once we were both speaking the same language, it became a different kind of challenge. Like visiting Tina in Germany and trying to explain to my then 3 year old who was demanding a bagel that there simply weren’t any to be had and it wasn’t that we were actively trying to keep them from her.
We tell these stories now amid laughter. (Oh did I mention the Christmas where she really wanted a microscope and when all the presents at my parents house were opened and no microscope appeared she stood in the middle of the room and demanded “Where’s my microscope!?”) Maya laughs along with us, shaking her head and blushing.
She still knows exactly what she wants – that part hasn’t changed – but she is slightly more astute and varied in her approach when it comes to getting it. She’s independent, fierce and lovely.
Looking back over 15 years, I wouldn’t change a thing.