Every year, on my birthday, even after I turned 40, my mom recounts for me the story of my birth. It varies slightly from year to year but the sentiment is the same. And I look forward to my mom’s call being the first phone call I get that day. She’s my mom. She gave birth to me. And there’s nobody else like her.

Tomorrow is my daughter’s 11th birthday. And every year I recount the events surrounding her birth for her just as I do for her brother. The description has changed slightly from year to year, especially after her father and I divorced, but the main facts, and feelings, stay the same.
A week before her due date, on July 12th, 1999, I had an ob appointment. The technician did an ultrasound and found that my amniotic fluid was low. My doctor quickly decided that I would be induced early the next morning. It was time for my baby to come out. We already knew that she was a girl. I had an amniocentesis early on in my pregnancy because one of my genetic markers was off. The amnio results were fine but I felt like, having been through the stress of genetic counseling and testing, I deserved to know the gender.

But I digress. Back to the birth. Leaving the doctor’s office, I called my then-husband to tell him that July 13th would be the day. And I called my mom and my parents prepared for the two hour trip to my house so they could look after my 2 year-old son.

The next morning, at 5:30 am, we left for the hospital. We checked in. The pitocin started dripping and labor began. I pushed and pushed but my baby didn’t want to leave me. Not necessarily because she loved the warm fluid she was swimming in but because I have cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD). My son hadn’t wanted to come out either. Well, it wasn’t so much that he didn’t want to come out, as it was that I have a very small pelvis. I was diagnosed with CPD after being in labor with him for over 24 hours. He was ultimately born by cesarean section. (I can hear the snickering already but CPD does not benefit your sex life.)
Because I was trying to deliver my daughter via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), the doctor was monitoring me pretty closely. Around noon, she came in the room to check on my progression, didn’t like the look of my abdomen and gave the order to take me to the OR. After she made the first c-section incision, she uttered, “Oh my God”. Not what you want to hear when you are lying on the operating table with no function in the lower half of your body waiting for your baby to emerge and meet the world. She was reacting to the fact that my uterine wall was perilously thin and had she waited much longer, I would have had a uterine rupture, endangering both the baby and me. But she was an excellent doctor. She knew. And she got the baby, my baby, out in time. It was 3:22 p.m.
And my baby was (and still is) beautiful. I know all moms think that when their babies are first placed on them. But really, she was. Perfect. All 6 pounds, 12 ounces of her. All 21 1/2 long inches of her. She nursed right away and was just content to look around her new world. We left the hospital two days later and took her home. 
The same home that she’ll wake up in tomorrow morning to a Bundt pan of Monkey Bread and a mug of hot chocolate. Her friend will come over, we’ll make cupcakes and then meet some other friends for bowling. Go for a quick swim, then out to dinner at their favorite Japanese Hibachi restaurant. Her friend will spend the night, I’ll tell them 20 times to be quiet and go to bed. And like that the day will go by. Kind of how the last 11 years have.

She’ll always be my blue-eyed baby. Though she is far from a baby anymore, heading off to middle school in another month. Getting longer legs every day. My straight A student. My amateur hip hop dancer, she can do the side neck isolation move like no other. One of the funniest people I know. She has a great sense of fashion and frequently helps me pick out my outfits. Smart, witty, intuitive, great company and a really sweet kid. At least the majority of the time when she is not fighting with her brother.

I hope I’m always the first one to call her on her birthday. I’m her mom. I gave birth to her. And there’s nobody else like her. I really love her.