The day you were born

I’m often asked what it’s like to be a writer — how I spend my days, how I experience the world. And so I will be sharing occasional essays from the front lines of my writing life. Enjoy!

Author Beth Mende Conny and newborn daughter JuliaYou were born on this very day 27 years ago at 8:25 a.m. (BTW — Happy Birthday) That morning I woke up about 5 a.m. because I had to pee. (But of course. Pregnant women do two things during pregnancy: knit and pee.) I went into bathroom and my sac broke. And because the only other experience I had had with sacs was at the grocery store, I wasn’t quite sure if this was significant.

Ah, but then, my first labor pain. Holy shit! Fuck! Women in labor are truck drivers only with fouler mouths. I waddled back to the bedroom and gently screamed at your Dad to wake the fuck up.

“I think my water broke,” I said, and God’s truth, this was his reaction:

He bolted upright, raised his arm into the air like a general leading his troops into battle and said, “This is it!” After which he promptly announced, “I’ve got to take a shower!”

Was he friggin’ nuts? The labor pains were pretty intense and I followed him to the bathroom. He soaped up while I suggested, most delicately, that he pick up the damn pace. In the meantime, I decided to shave my legs. Why? Because I’m figgin’ nuts, and because I wanted to look as presentable as a screaming woman can be when she’s rolled into a delivery room and made to spread her legs and bear down.

So, there I was: one leg in the sink, shaving away. Of course, I couldn’t see what I was doing; my belly was too big. Hell, I hadn’t seen my legs in nine months; who knew if they were still there. To make a short story shorter, I didn’t get around to the second leg. The labor pains were getting stronger and closer.

“You’d better hurry,” I warned your Dad. And he did.

I was pretty well dilated when we got to the hospital and you were born soon after. Don’t ask for details. All I can remember is Holy Shit! Fuck! And then there you were.

Now, I know at this point I’m supposed to say that this was the happiest day of my life. But sorry, Julia, it wasn’t. I mean, it was nice to meet you and all, but I felt like Holy Shit. Still, I liked you. More so, I felt I knew you, that we had always been connected, not by umbilical chord but in spirit (which I’ve written about previously).

The nurses cleaned you off and color-coded you by sticking a pink cap on your head. When they put you in my arms, I took at you closer look. You had a sweet head of light brown hair and a pretty little face, plus you had all your body parts. All in all, it turned out to be a good day. But not the greatest day of my life.

Beth Mende Conny with arm around adult daughter Julia, wearing CoWork Frederick tshirtAnd Julia, that was what was great about it. Hear me out on this one — and I mean really hear me out. The best days of life don’t necessarily come when you think they will or should, or when society or Hallmark deems they should. They’re not even days at all, but moments. Moments when the world seems to stop and you are filled with a kind of joyful knowing that can best be described as love.

I’ve had so many of those moments with you. I have collected them in my heart like trinkets in a jewelry box. And when I think of the moments still to come, I can only say, with love and awe, Holy Shit!

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