Well, maybe it wasn't the fastest ever, but it was the fastest for me. Nine years ago (actually the real anniversary happened at 2:57 a.m. today), I was waiting -- not so patiently -- for my second born to arrive. She was a week overdue and predicted to be quite large. They were preparing to induce me since my blood pressure was starting to rise. But I didn't want any medication whatsoever. So my wonderful midwife -- the same one who helped me birth Noah -- called me up around 7:30 p.m. on July 5 and told me that if I really wanted to do this without intervention, I could drink a castor oil-orange juice-baking soda cocktail and see if it worked for me. I drank it about an hour later, and around 1:30 a.m. I woke up in hard labor.
With Noah labor went on for a while. The first time around, I ate an egg breakfast, took down our Christmas tree, paid some bills and did some cleaning, all with contractions about five minutes apart. I expected more of the same with Olivia. When Dennis called the midwife around 2 a.m. and told her I was already on the floor, she told us to high-tail it to the hospital, which we did -- with me insisting that we could park in the regular garage instead of emergency. But, fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and we parked in ER, zoomed up to labor and delivery and waited for my sister to arrive to watch Noah and the midwife to arrive to catch the baby. Midwife got there and immediately put on scrubs, which confused me since I expected to walk around and breathe heavily for a while. Nothing doing. We called my sister to find out why she wasn't there yet (We wanted Noah present for the birth but knew we needed an adult to keep an eye on him). The car was still parked in ER. The camera was nowhere to be found. Noah was shoeless because of our mad dash out of the house. It was all a blur.
Less than 30 minutes after I entered the hospital, and only minutes after my sister arrived to hold Noah's hand, Olivia Irene blasted onto the scene -- all 10 pounds of her. I don't really even remember pushing. Maybe once. She just powered her way out and then proved herself to be a champion nurser to boot.
Nine years later, I look at my girl in amazement. She is smart and funny and beautiful and artistic and athletic and curious and kind and all of the things I had hoped she would one day be. She was a gift when she arrived in that Austin hospital in the wee hours of the morning, and she is a gift today. We are blessed. Happy birthday Olivia. We love you. Here's a brief look at Olivia's life in photos...
Her baptism in Austin in the chapel at St. Edward's University with Deacon Orton and godparents Aunt Linda and Uncle Fred:
At E-ma's 90th birthday party almost seven years ago: