The first Saturday in May

May 04

The first Saturday in May

Greta was born on the first Saturday of May 2011.

Citing my large belly and projected baby size, my OB/GYN set an induction date of the first Saturday in May.  On the first Friday in May, I finished the last of my nesting, resigned that my body must not go into labor, ever (Maren was induced also).  I settled down to sleep at 9:15pm, hoping for one last big sleep before meeting our baby girl.  Brad had a terrible cold, so he loaded up on Nyquil in hopes that he, too, would get a good night’s sleep.

A few minutes after I laid down, I felt a contraction.

A few short minutes later, I felt another.  This time, I opened one eye to look at the clock.  9:27pm.

I settled back down to sleep thinking, “C’mon!  Last chance!  Sleeeeeeeep!  Glorious sleep!”

I closed my eyes.  Until the next contraction.  9:31pm.



I reluctantly called the doctor on call, expecting her to say, “Nah, we’ll see you in the morning as planned.”  Instead, she actually said, “Well, you’d better come to the hospital.”

I’ll never forget lumbering over to the balcony that overlooks our family room where Brad was sitting on the couch and saying, “So, I think I’m going to go ahead and have this baby tonight.”

He did his best to shake off ill-timed Nyquil-induced haze, and scrambled around to get us ready to leave.

We dropped Maren off at my parent’s house, and went to the hospital.  I paused to grip the railing in the corridor each time a contraction hit, so we made slow progress once inside.  In between contractions, we bounced baby names back and forth.  Ainsley, Cecily, Bridget, and Rosemary were all on the table, along with Greta.

I was settled into a room by about one in the morning.  Brad awkwardly reclined in a hideously uncomfortable Daddy recliner, and managed to take a short nap.  Unable to sleep myself, I lay in the quiet room and reflected on the beauty of this moment in my life.

I don’t remember now what happened in between that quiet moment of peace, and pushing.  I remember it was a quick delivery; three or four pushes, and she was out.

Immediately, the doctor’s hand was waving at me from between my legs saying, “Whoa.  If you ever have another baby, you need to be induced before 39 weeks; that baby is too big!”

Even at the time, gazing at my (big) sweet girl as the nurses rubbed her clean on my belly, I remember thinking, “Why is she yelling at me?  Shouldn’t I be getting like a High Five Mama for delivering this giant child?”

They took her away and put her on the scale: “Ten pounds, eight ounces!  Wow!”  No one, upon hearing her birthweight, failed to say “Wow” in response.  All of the nurses on the floor came in a steady stream to see the big baby.  “Wow!” they all said.  Incidentally, none of them offered me a high five, either.  Harumph.

Brad and I looked at each other and agreed, “Greta.”  Greta Rose just fit; we knew it as soon as we saw her.  Strength and beauty.

Greta then proceeded to cry for the next ninety minutes straight.  I remember looking at her round red face and thinking, “Girl, this is not how we roll.  You need to chill.”  I had fleeting visions of friends’ colicky babies and shuddered, pleading and praying that Greta would not be one of those babies.

I was transferred to a new room, and unfortunately, it was a shared room.  I can’t imagine my roommate was too thrilled either, when I was rolled in at 5am.  Brad was left without even a Daddy recliner, and went to find somewhere to sit down.  Greta, finally quiet, lay next to me in the bassinet.  I prayed prayers of thanksgiving for this perfect, quiet child.  I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, marveling at His creation.

We spent the day entertaining family visitors.  Maren came with them and met her little sister.  We chatted and people came and went.  There were lots more “Wow’s”.

The nurses took her to the nursery; Brad went down a few minutes later, and marveled at how many babies there were.  He counted: twenty-three, lined up two deep in bassinets all around the periphery of the room.  He looked for his Greta and didn’t see her, but did wonder why there was one “one-year-old” in with all the newborns.  After another survey of the room, he realized that the “one-year-old” was, in fact, a newborn, she just happened to be twice the size of many of the other five and six pound newborns.  And, she was his ten pound newborn.

At then end of the long, long, long day, our visitors left.  I encouraged Brad to go home with just-turned-four-year-old Maren, and said that Greta and I would be fine for the night.  We were alone by five o’clock that night.

Still not ready to sleep, I turned on the television, and watched coverage of the Kentucky Derby with Greta nestled at my side.

That day, Greta’s Birth Day, became one of my favorite days.  Today, I find I love watching the Derby, remembering those first moments with her, and celebrating my sweet girl on the first Saturday in May.

IMG_4312Greta Rose, my love.  I will never tire of looking into those eyes and staring at you.  I love you to the moon and back.



  1. Memories are Priceless ~ 🙂

  2. Jennifer Madiar /

    Dear Jen, I first wrote to you last September … I write (well, used to!) for which is a local blog here in Springfield, IL.  When I wrote to you, I had hoped to make my September blog entry about well, blogs that inspire us, and you had given me permission to include a link to your blog in mine.  I had also printed your blog, in full, and turned it into a bound book for a friend of mine who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember reading your blog entries and being struck by similarities in our lives – name, August birthday, strawberry blonde hair, a love of writing, and our youngest babies both named Greta.  When September rolled around, I had sinus surgery – cancer scare – a yucky recovery – a BIG diet change (gluten and dairy free!) – the list goes on.  Anyway, my writing has been on hold since then.  I THINK about writing all the time – but never seem to be able to sit down and get ‘er done.    Throughout my writing hiatus, I have continued to follow your journey, marveling (drooling!) at your writing conference experience, and loving the NED news.  You continue to inspire so many others and I love how raw and real your writing is.   So what finally got me back to writing?  TODAY?  Your beautiful story about sweet Greta. I read it with tears streaming down my face.  Remember when I told you we had a Greta (born March 2011?)  First of all, there just aren’t that many little Greta’s strolling around but when I read today yours was a Greta Rose?  Just like OURS?!  That was too cool.  We don’t have a magical story about how she got her name – we typically troll the family tree for ‘retired’ names (aka ‘dead relatives’) and I have always liked the name Margaret but wanted to shorten it to Greta.  We trolled Rose from one of my husband’s grandma’s middle names.  But just as you said, the meaning – strength and beauty – those resonated with us as well.  Greta, being the third (and last!) of three kids within three years … is definitely strong.  She’s solid and meatier than the others.  She is testament to my hubby’s second chance at life – he survived a brain aneurysm when I was pregnant with our second daughter.  Had Eric not survived, Greta wouldn’t be here.  She represents strength in all forms to us.   And we hope your Greta continues to inspire the strength and beauty in you.  I always feel a bit bizarre reaching out to someone I haven’t met, yet with so many random things in common, I still feel as if we’d hit it off if we were in the same town.  I also can’t thank you enough for your journal entries, both thought-provoking and downright practical.  As my friend continues to conquer an aggressive Stage 3 breast cancer – and is now in the Herceptin and radiation phase – she has learned a great deal from your entry about cream.  🙂    Continue cherishing your days and sharing your story with the world.  It truly makes it a better place.  And from the mom of one Greta Rose to another – may your world ALWAYS be beautiful! I have attached a recent pic of our sweet Greta so you can share it with yours. If you ever want to find me on Facebook, my full name is “Jennifer Handrich Madiar.” Take care, Jen    


    Jennifer Handrich Madiar1426 West Leland AvenueSpringfield, IL 62704


  3. You deserve many high-fives! My last baby was 9.5 pounds and he certainly did come out in 3 or 4 pushes (15 minutes instead). Consider this a double high-five from me!

    And a happy 2nd birthday to Greta and you. ♥

  4. First off, high five! You rock! Secondly, that attitude some docs get about larger-than-usual babies (“That baby was TOOBIGYOUMUSTBEINDUCED/SECTIONEDNEXTTIME” following an uncomplicated vaginal birth) ticks me off and also baffles me. Too big? Obviously not.
    I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  5. Angela Johnson /

    Love this. So precious and funny. My first baby was wayyyy bigger than we’d thought, as well. 11# even (should’ve been a c-section). She also looked like a one year old in the nursery. I laughed out loud reading that – we can totally relate. You guys are so blessed with your girls. Blessings on all of you!
    Hugs from Michigan,

  6. I’m with WoozleMom!! High Five JEN!! Another hilarious read… ‘Why is there a one-year-old in the nursery?’ Made me laugh out loud several times 🙂

  7. Jacqui /

    Count me in too for multiple laughs out loud (I’m *still* chuckling about the “one-year-old” in the nursery!!) 🙂 I’m suprised none of the nursing staff gave you the appropriate props for your *big* accomplishment – harumph indeed! I love Greta’s beautiful newborn photo – such a sweet reminder of those first treasured days.

  8. Ahh, such a precious story for a much loved little lady!