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Long Ago and Far Away

By Maggie Turner


December 09, 1999

Long Ago and Far Away

Today my oldest daughter turns 24 years of age. I drink her a toast with my morning coffee, staring out the front window at the sunlit tips of the trees. How the years go by, so quickly... so quickly. Yet it does not seem like yesterday that she was born, it seems like another life. A baby, a miracle of dreams, was borne to me in my youth. And like my youth that baby is gone, a tender memory to be carried through life.

The news that I was pregnant came over the phone one sunny afternoon, the results of a laboratory test were positive. Powerful events etch themselves into the story of our lives. Well aware at the time that this was such an event, I marveled at how quiet and peaceful the extraordinary moment can seem.

Those months of pregnancy were wonderful. I took a long, leisurely walk every day through the tree lined streets of the small town where we lived. The pregnancy progressed, as did the autumn; I walked through arbors of brightly colored leaves and crisp air each day. The baby was healthy and active. My only physical complaint was heartburn.

I remember the day she was born. On Monday morning the doctor, during a regular appointment, informed me that I had begun to dilate. The baby was about to be born. He sent me home to gather my case and my husband and met me later at the hospital. Labor began slowly, building slowly. Tuesday afternoon, my daughter entered the world, eyes open and observant from the first.

 Pink Baby Card

 Yellow Baby Card

She was an unusual infant, lying in the delivery room under the heat lamp. Her eyes followed the nurses, the doctor and me as if she could not only see us, but she knew who we were. There she was, safe and sound and seemingly watchful. The birth had taken two whole days, no food for me; we were both exhausted. During the birth she had become "caught" on my tailbone, breaking it slowly; forceps were needed to guide her around the obstruction.

Weak from excessive blood loss and the two-day ordeal I was put on intravenous and watched carefully. Because the birth had been so difficult she was kept in an incubator under observation till the following day. The nurses told me that she never closed her eyes; that she followed their movements, seemed to watch them until she was finally brought to me. I remember holding her for the first time, so small, so helpless, so aware and such a presence. After my husband left, after the nurse helped me to lay her quietly in the crib by my bed, we slept she and I.

That was years ago, when I was girl. That was when I was 24 years old, just as she is 24 years old today. That was when a baby, a miracle of dreams was borne to me.


 

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