Every year we enjoyed putting “our” ornaments on the tree. It was a wonderful time to reflect back over our lives and the memories we had made. Sometimes we asked the reason behind the ornament, and learned a little more about our histories.
When I married, I got a box with my ornaments in it to start my very own tree. As we were packing up the ornaments for me to take to my new home as a new bride, I came across one of my favorites. The ornament was one I remembered from early in my childhood, and one I always enjoyed gazing at as we decorating the tree. It had a little boy gazing out of a window pointing up to the sky. In the window he saw Santa coming down from a start to alight on his rooftop. The ornament was titled something like “Waiting for Santa.” I loved it because it was a glass (well, plastic) ornament with this little scene in 3D inside.
I happened to ask my mom about that ornament, since it was one of the only ornaments she kept that had Santa on it. We sort of weeded out our Santas over time as the true meaning of Christmas became more and more relevant to our family.
For the Christmas of 1980, my mom was very (very) pregnant with me. In fact, the doctor told that he was going out of town for the holidays, but that wasn’t a problem because she would be having a baby before Christmas, even though my due date was 12/29/1980. She dutifully bought a Baby’s First Christmas ornament for 1980.
As she counted down with her advent calendar, I continued to wait to make my appearance. My mom says that I had completely dropped and she was 100 percent effaced all through the holidays. She says she had so much pressure she thought I was going to fall out if she didn’t hold her belly up! Christmas came and went, but no baby. So, the day after Christmas, or sometime afterward, my parents took back the Baby’s First Christmas ornament, and in its place they purchased the Waiting for Santa ornament. It was fitting, as they spent the entire Christmas season waiting for my arrival.
New Years came and went as well. Six weeks after the doctors told her I would come any day (yes SIX WEEKS ladies!) my parents were watching football with friends on playoff Sunday. They returned in the evening to fix dinner. My mom sneezed and she felt a small amount of moisture. Not sure what it was, they did decide to go to the hospital. She says that a cardiac nurse got called to the OB ward, so it took a while for the inexperienced nurse to decide that yes, indeed, her water had broken. Due to an outstanding health condition that could have been passed on to me, I was born via c-section at 8:15 p.m.
Today I think that’s crazy – they let her go two weeks past her due date and six weeks past when they thought I would come, only to have a c-section! Why not schedule the c-section and be done with it (although I must say I am sort of glad I am not a Christmas baby).
So arrive I finally did, on January 11, 1981. So this coming year I will turn 30! My parents named me Nicole Aretta. Aretta, my middle name, is a family name. It’s also my grandmother’s middle name, and my hope is that if Natalie has a daughter, she will pass on the name too, giving it an every-other-generation tradition.
After spending six weeks smooshed up against my mother’s pubic bone, I wasn’t the prettiest baby in the maternity ward. I was rather bruised and squished, to be honest. I remember my dad telling me once, “When they brought you to me, you were all squished and bruised, but I didn’t care. You were the most beautiful baby in the entire world.” I don’t remember the context of that conversation, but now that I am a mom I understand. No matter what, my children are the most attractive children to me, and I think they always will be, junior high acne years and all.
Tomorrow I will post her words so that I have them recorded. Thanks mom!
The other crazy part about my birth story is the lack of pictures of me as a newborn. The only one we have is a horrible, overexposed shot of me in an incubator (jaundice) under the lights. So the pictures posted here are a few months of age. If you know my mom, you know how crazy it is that they didn't even own a camera when their first child was born!