To My Beautiful Daughter, Marie

Although the sex that produced you was not consensual at the time, I adore you with the totality of my being now. Can I regress to that point and give my whole-hearted consent now? Can I undo my angry tirade, “Look what you’ve done to me!” that was directed at your dad when I realized that I was in fact pregnant with wonderful you?

I thought that stopping at two children was the right thing to do. I showed your dad the stretchy ovulation mucous, saying, “We can’t do it tonight I’m ovulating,” not realuzing that was turning him on. We were legally married. We got our marriage license signed by our pastor when Clare was about a year old. Your conception was my first while being  in a legal marriage. 

I woke up and found him making love to me. I let him finish, then got up and took a hot bath. I went back to sleep again. I woke up again to find him making love to me again. This time I was too tired to get up and take a hot bath. It’s okay, I must have consented to that when I accepted him as my husband.

All my children delight me. You were the first that was born at home. I made arrangements to go to the hospital, realizing that perhaps I would go, perhaps I wouldn’t. I remember the wild ride we had to the hospital with Clare. I think Louise was in the car with us too, or maybe not, she was 9, so she may have stayed with a friend. I know she was at the hospital later to see the new little one. 

Your dad was speeding and got pulled over. I was in the back seat trying to manage the contractions. I heard his excited voice saying, “My wife is having a baby!” I heard the cop say,”We can call an ambulance if you like, otherwise you will have to observe the speed limit.” Fortunately he agreed to the latter. Clare was born in the ABC (alternate birth conceot) part of the OB section at Bay General Hospital in Chula Vista, California. Did not want another wild ride to the hospital.

 Louise’s grandmother had  9 children at home near the cotton fields of South Carolina, then the 10th she had in the hospital because they had moved to Ohio, and Louise’s grandfather had a job that would pay for it. “Sometimes it tears,” she told me while I was pregnant with Loise, “But it always heals whether we get stitches or not,” referring to the perineum.

I remember the sound we made when you came out of me and landed in your father’s loving hands,  as I squatted inside the bathroom. Little Clare was knocking on the door. We said we’d just be another minute. I had gotten Louise off to school then walked laps in the back yard.

Part of that sound was my perineum tearing. But who cares about that? I was focused on beautiful you. We had warm water in the tub ready for you. Dad cut the cord, we rinsed you off, wrapped you in a baby towel. Dad took you to meet your sister while I waited for the afterbirth. It smelled like spring rain. Then I lay down with you and we suckled.

The perineum healed but it was never the same as it was, but it is actually okay.

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