Allow me to take you back to this night, August 25th, in the year 2005. I am fat, with a capital HUGE. Nine months pregnant, I have been to the hospital three times already with "false" labor. Let me tell you something about "false" labor. It doesn't FEEL "false." And having been through childbirth twice before, I do know what it feels like. But this little girl...she is a stubborn one (she comes by it quite naturally).
So, my due date is 2 days away. Having had my first child 3 days early, and my second child 3 WEEKS early, this feels miserably late to me. I am tired. I am round. My boobs are hitting me in the chin, and my bladder is dragging the ground like an orangutan's knuckles.
My husband has just arrived home from work, and taking pity on his poor, bloated wife (or realizing that any attempt to ask me for dinner could result in his losing a testicle), he offered to take me and our boys out for pizza. Pizza! I feel instantly better. We gather the boys and head off to Fortel's. Not yet out of the subdivision, my stomach cramps up. Not again, I think. I'll just ignore it.
I ignore it all the way to Fortel's Pizza Den. My husband stops at an ATM down the street from the restaurant for cash. While he punches at the buttons on the machine, I groan out loud at the pain that has tightened my bulging belly. "Mom?" my oldest son asks from the backseat, "are you okay?"
My husband turns his head to look at me, and I simultaneously grunt "ummm, yeah, I'm good," and give him a wide-eyed look. He urges me to go ahead and call the doctor. I do.
"Dr. Pearse?" I say between breaths, "I'm having some labor pains again." He asks me a few questions, as my husband pulls the car into the lot and parks in front of Fortel's. The boys, 8 and 5, wait patiently, listening to my end of the conversation. "Go ahead and head into the hospital," he says.
"Yeah, right." I hear myself bark at him, "so you can send me home a fourth time? I don't thinks so."
He's determined by the way I'm talking and breathing that this pain is real, but I'm having no part of it.
He urges me one last time, "Beth. Really, you need to go. How far away are you?"
I give in a little with the next crushing pain, my hand squeezing the blood out of my husband's forearm.
"Okay, damn it," I tell him, "but I am leaving that hospital with a baby - I don't care if I have to steal it from the damn nursery!"
Gratefully, he ignored my threat and told me he'd see me soon. I didn't get Fortel's pizza that night. But at exactly 1am on August 26th, Ella Lee was born. She was beautiful. And quite bald.
I'd always wanted to have three kids. And was convinced that I'd be happy with three boys. In fact, I was terrified of having a girl. All of my friends with boys shuddered at the thought of raising a girl. If you're one of us, you know why. We can be a bit...difficult at times (okay, if you're not one of us, chances are you've had a scary encounter or two. We feel ya.).
But I digress. The moment the doctor placed that baby girl in my arms, I was so in love. She has brought so much joy and happiness, so much laughter and love into all of our lives. I'm thankful every day for her.
Happy birthday baby girl. Can not believe you are 6 years old!