Thirty-one years ago this very minute, I was dying.
Eight units of blood later, I was still dying.
It took another week before the doctors who delivered my first living child pronounced me "out of the woods" and sure to be the next contestant on "Who's Gonna Get The Worst Case Of Post-Partum Blues?"
She is born and it is nearly a week before I get my first look, my first hold, of my first born living child.
By then I am pretty sure it was already too late for my daughter and me, she'd been held by her father, who was sure he was about to be a widower raising a child alone; she'd been held by Alice Capone, who showed up a day after my daughter's birth, in response to the "We really don't think she is going to make it..."
Step-Mum held court in the hospital nursery, milking the soon to be grieving mother/grandmother for all it would get her.
("Nana", how grotesque was that? To this day the only "Nana" I can bear is the dog from Peter Pan.)
Two weeks post delivery I crawled into the car with my husband, daughter, and the Steps.
Home we went, to the chilly Yerba Buena Island housing unit we got due to the new daddy's active duty service in the USCG (oh yes, stupid me, I married a guy I met while on active duty, how cliche-I really thought I had to marry him after we'd had sex)
The Steps decamped, and the husband's mother descended, and at one point I locked the baby and myself into the bedroom.
To her everlasting credit, I was the horrid one, and she was the injured victim-a sweeter soul than Eleanor I've met only once, and that one is my BFF since ninth grade.
My poor mother-in-law, and she was soooooooooo nice about how really incredibly rude I was!
Thirty-one years later I can only hope that she had a good life, still lives, and happily; the last time I heard of her was in the very early nineties when her latest daughter-in-law called to tell me she really understood why I'd divorced my first born child's father.
No, really. Cathy was too good for Tom, but that is my very biased opinion, and really, Tom was not nearly as warped & twisted as Crusty. Well, there was the time he 'accidentally' knocked me down a flight and a half of stairs when I was seven months pregnant with our first born-relatively unharmed I jumped up and ran back up the stairs grabbing his oar (Tom rowed for the University of Hawaii, he also played football for them) from the display and using it to break three or four of his ribs.
Both taken to hospital, he had to be persuaded by the SPs that it simply wasn't done to knock one's wife down the stairs and then try to have her arrested for breaking one's ribs in response.
Welcome to the World, kiddo.
She moved to Hawaii to live with her father in 1993, and today she is thiry-one years old.