Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Daughter's Birthday

A special young lady in my life turns 15 today. I woke up this morning thinking about that Thursday 15 years ago, when March 18 forever changed for me. I'll rehearse it here for you.

From the time that we learned we were having a baby girl, I wanted to name her after my grandmother, Mary Dell Condra and Charlie's mother, Lethia Elizabeth Singleton. Our daughter's name would be Mary Elizabeth Singleton. My grandmother was so much to me. I called her Mama. She lived with us off and on from the time I was 4 years old until she passed away when I was 16. She died on March 18, 1990. So, to make it simple on March 18, 1993 I was a little depressed. I had a doctor's appt at 9:00 that morning. I took my husband to work(he met the crew at Myer's carpet in Dalton & drove to Atlanta) then went to the doctor. The midwife I was seeing immediately noticed a problem so she called in the doctor. The doctor said he thought the baby was in distress, and he wanted to do a stress test immediately. I spent the next hour by myself contemplating the worst. After that hour they said I had to go to the hospital and they would meet me there. They didn't want me to go home or anything. I was in danger of losing my baby. So, being the 18 year old kid that I was, I became almost hysterical. I didn't know how to get in touch with Charlie because he was on his way to Atlanta. The doctor's office put in a call to the customer's home so they could tell him to come back to Dalton immediately.

Okay, so to put in all in context. I am 18 years old, 2 hours away from my mother, 2 hours away from my husband, my baby is in distress, and this is the anniversary of my grandmother's death. I didn't tell you that my grandfather also died on March 18, 1977. This day couldn't get any worse.

After arriving at the hospital, which only had power off a generator because of the great blizzard of '93, I was stuck in a little hole of a room to be monitored. The doctor wanted to do an immediate C section, but I wouldn't let him. I was too scared, and all alone. So, they made me sign a waiver stating if the baby died I wouldn't hold them liable. The only person I knew I could call was my mother. She is a godly woman, and I knew she could pray. I didn't feel like I could pray because we had quit going to church about 3 years prior. They hooked me up to all kinds of machines, and basically wouldn't let me move for fear that the baby's heart would quit beating and they wouldn't know it. According to the machines, I was having contractions but I couldn't feel them. Everytime I would have a contraction the baby's heartbeat would go down to between 20-30.

About 1:30, Charlie finally gets to the hospital. When he walked in I started crying. It was actually the first time I had cried all day. I just knew we were going to lose our baby. I really thought March 18 had some kind of curse on it or something. About 4:00 my mother arrived. I could hear her praying the entire time she was in the waiting room. Charlie finally got the doctor to let me get up and walk around. That caused the labor to really intensify. I started feeling the contractions and believe it or not I started dilating. At 6:30 that evening, my wonderful daughter was born, completely natural, I might add. She was healthy, no problems at all! So, Beth forever changed March 18th for me. I still remember my grandmother & grandfather on this day, but it isn't with the great sadness that it used to be.

Today, I want to tell my wonderful daughter lots of things. How proud I am of her. How "special" she is.

How she has blossomed into a beautiful and elegant young woman.

I want to explain to her that it's tough being 15. That the people can sometimes be cruel, that she needs to keep her head up and walk proud and respect herself, and have enough confidence and wisdom to respect the choices she makes.

I want to tell her that it's OK to make mistakes. That we learn from mistakes. That mistakes can make us better people. And if we live life afraid of being wrong, or making a mistake, that we never grow.

I want to tell her all about how in life, there are always choices, and that it is these choices that define us, that build our character, that make us who we are.

I want to tell her how much she means to me, and how I love her.

Happy Birthday, Mary Elizabeth, you are my baby girl!


Pam said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter! How cool that our daughters have the same birthday. I can't even imagine my girl being 15!

Valerie said...

Happy Birthday Beth! I can't believe she is 15 years old. What a sweet tribute to a special beautiful young lady! I have had the privilige of knowing this special girl for many years and watched her grow up. Have a very special day, Beth!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Happy Birthday, beth! I hope you had a wonderful day. Many hapy years to come.. Cheers.. and God Bless..