18 years ago

18 years ago, my life changed inalterably for the better.

18 years ago today, I was in the hospital, eating the best meal I've ever had in my life - chicken on whole wheat bread, salad, chocolate milk, jello. It was the best meal I've ever had because for the 280 days prior to this day (18 years ago), I couldn't keep a bite of food down.

But that meal is not why my life changed inalterably for the better.

No, 18 years ago was also the day we welcomed Sio into the world. After a horrific pregnancy filled with constant puking, nausea, and fear*, out came this absolutely perfect, completely beautiful, sunny dispositioned infant. She was worth every horrible day.

This day 18 years ago started at 5:30 a.m., when I had my first contraction, which was followed 5 minutes later by my second contraction. Loki and I had a long drive to the hospital, although the person I spoke to in the doctor's office assured me that we had a long labor ahead of us, considering this was my first.

By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions were already hard enough that I couldn't sit still or speak during them. The hospital checked me and and moved me up to a labor room. Every now and then, a nurse would come in and check how dilated I was, announce a pathetically small number (3cm!) and then disappear. At about 9:55 a.m., a nurse came in, checked my cervix, and suddenly, it was lights, camera, action - the room filled up with people. There was the doctor, the physician's assistant, and lots of nurses. I remember one nurse in particular, Teri, who took my hands and told me to squeeze them as hard as I needed to. It was only a few minutes of pushing, and *pop*, there was Sio.

Loki followed her around while they did tests, I think he wanted to make sure they didn't mix her up with any other babies. All mothers think their babies are beautiful, and I was no exception, although to be fair, I was also right - she was perfection, with a curl of soft black hair on her head, rosy cheeks and chubby legs.

And she was also the easiest baby. When she was hungry or needed a diaper change, she fussed a little, but didn't cry. She opened her eyes and seemed to be drinking in everything.

When we took her home the next day, we really didn't know what we were doing. We were armed with a used carseat, some blankets and hats, and a nurse who told us that no matter what, if we show the kid we love her, it would all work out.

And it has. I have many flaws as a mother - I am not a naturally nurturing, caretaking kind of person, and I know that Sio would sometimes like a normal mom, but she was born with a kind of independence that fit my parenting weaknesses well.

So happy birthday, sweetie, and many, many more.

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