A couple of weeks ago I saw a segment on 60 Minutes called The Gift of Endless Memory that talked about people who can remember everything in their lives.
My memory certainly is nothing like that, but I do have vivid memories of where I was and what I was doing 40 years ago today. I was at Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati; not B-North because it didn’t exist. I’m talking about the old Bethesda Hospital at Oak & Reading Road, right off William Howard Taft. On the maternity floor surrounded by bunches of other pregnant women waiting to deliver Stacy, my Christmas baby.
Stacy was due on December 26th and my OB Dr. Norton Johnson had informed me in October I would probably deliver early. Almost two months of false labor took me to an appointment two days before Christmas when Dr. Johnson told me, “I’m not going to predict whether the baby is a girl or a boy, but I can tell you IT is very stubborn.”
But Sherry, our almost three-year old, was telling everyone in sight that “her little Stacy Lee would be born when she was healthy enough.” Tom and I must have prepared Sherry well for our new addition because when we woke her so we could drop her off at Grandma Roberts’s; she jumped right out of bed. At my mother’s I insisted on going inside to reassure Sherry everything was going to be alright. I shouldn’t have worried because Sherry gave me a big hug and kiss and said, “Bye Mommy, I’ll see you and Stacy Lee tomorrow.” She then ran and jumped into grandma’s bed and was asleep before Tom and I reached the corner.
Just as Dr. Johnson predicted, Stacy’s stubbornness was evident as it was almost 17 hours before she finally made her appearance. Well worth the wait, Stacy was beautiful and healthy, a perfect baby in every way. Tom and I were elated to have a second little girl.
In the 70’s, new mothers stayed in the hospital for five to seven days and only grandparents and your minister were allowed to visit or see the baby (through the nursery window). I won’t disclose any names, but there were friends and family that disobeyed the rules and came anyway by sneaking up the back stairs.
I was anxious to get Stacy home so we could begin the next stage of our lives, but the time in the hospital was precious as it allowed me to adjust to being a new mother again. As I held Stacy and watched her eyes blink and her tiny little hand clasp my finger, I was consumed by the overwhelming joy of this healthy, 8-pound, beautiful, little girl who would complete our family. Coming face to face with the most intense pain and the deepest love, I realized motherhood is a gift unlike any other a woman will ever experience. Nothing you do in advance can prepare your heart for those moments.
Every day, I thank God for the gift of my children. Today I wish my precious daughter a very happy birthday. Stacy, I love you and thank you for being such a wonderful daughter!
Ending on a Positive Note: Of all the people I’ve treasured in life and all the individuals I’ve cared for, I’ve never known greater love for any living thing than I do for my kids. Sherry and Stacy are truly a blessing from God!