Alisa's due date was April 6, 1991. She was eight long days over due. The longest eight days of my life. We didn't know if we were having a girl or a boy, and I was so excited and ready to end the anticipation, and meet this little person. I stopped working on April 1, convinced that he/she would be coming any day, then spent the next week trying to wish myself into labor, and convincing myself that every little ache was surely the start of labor. I tried anything and everything to coax her to come, mostly walking and walking and walking. Sunday morning, April 7, I got up early and must have walked for two solid hours, in a vain attempt to induce labor. Nothing. She always did have a stubborn streak.
By the next Saturday, I was convinced I would remain pregnant forever. The thing is, if I do say so myself, I looked dang good when I was pregnant with Alisa. Other than the basketball in front, I was skinny. Having Mitch to chase after kept me in shape. I felt okay too, except for sleeping, which was impossible because I was so achy. I had to sleep on the couch, propped up, and even then I could only get a few hours in at a time before I would have to painfully get up and rearrange all my aching joints. None of my other pregnancies were as uncomfortable at night as I was with her. I was also having scary night visions of giving birth to a twelve pound child. My babies are naturally big, and I figured the last thing we needed was an overcooked one.
Any how, that Saturday, we took Mitch and went to the zoo. It was April 13, and I was officially a week late. The weather was beautiful and Mitch had such a great time seeing all the animals. He was especially impressed watching the elephant take a dump. After the zoo, we took him to Grandma Sally's for the day, and went to run a few errands, and walk some more. We wound up at the King's English book store, looking for a book that Dan needed for one of his classes. The clerk asked me when the baby was due, and I replied, " a week ago". Her eyes got big and she said nervously," Ohhhh, then, like, imminently". She was nervous until we left the store.
Then we went to an early dinner at Sizzler, and it was during dinner that I started thinking maybe, just maybe, I was having contractions. They didn't hurt at all, but they were coming every few minutes pretty regularly. I didn't want to get my hopes up, having waited so long, and there really wasn't much to get excited about yet, so we went to my mom's to get Mitch. We hung out there for a while, waiting to see if these contractions were going anywhere or not, and after a few hours of no change, we took Mitch and headed for home. I figured it this was it, it was still going to be a long time.
We got home, got Mitch bathed and tucked in bed, and put in a movie. Dan would remember what it was called, but I don't. All I remember is that there was a character in the movie named Caitlin, and since we had not yet decided on a name, I tried my best to convince him that Caitlin Kelly would be a great name for our baby if it was a girl, since we didn't know what we were having. I darn near had him talked into it too. Then, right at midnight, my water broke. And as soon as that happened, the contraction suddenly got real. Fast and painful. I thought I might be having a baby right there in the house at 358 Leslie Ave. We called Amy to come stay with Mitch. She was on a date, which she graciously cut short to come to our aid, and good thing, because as soon as she pulled up, we were on our way out the door. We met her on the front lawn, and told her we would call. We had also called my parents to meet us at the hospital. We had to put towels down on the seat of the car because I was still leaking everywhere. And man, I was in pain. Dan was nervous- really really nervous, and he kept running red lights and breaking the speed limit all the way uptown.
And here comes the funny part. Nowadays, most hospitals have valet parking for people in labor, but back then, either LDS Hospital didn't have it, or we didn't know about it. Dan was so nervous to get me up to labor and delivery that we decided it would be a great idea for him to drop me off at the door to the hospital and he would go park the car. Sounds reasonable I guess, until you remember that this is me we are talking about. I get turned around in my own garage, let alone a huge, dark hospital, in labor, at two in the morning. So right off the bat, I got lost. I was wandering around, having to stop every thirty seconds or so to bend over and breathe through another contraction. You think of a hospital as a place with twenty-four hour a day action, but I can tell you that hospital corridors can be pretty darn empty and deserted at two o'clock on a Sunday morning. I must have wandered for a good 10 or 15 minutes before I ran into a security guard who pointed me in the right direction to labor and delivery. He offered to take me in a wheelchair, but I figured I was nearly there, might as well make it on my own two feet. By the time I got to the desk, Dan was standing there, panicked look in his eye, and asking all the nurses in a loud voice where in the heck his wife was.
After that, things started moving pretty quick. My doctor was not on call of course, so they called his associate, Dr. Chapa. I made sure to get fixed up right off with an epidural, figuring I was in for a good 8 or 10 more hours of labor. Much to my surprise and delight though, it was only about an hour later that it was time to push. Had I known it was going to be so quick, I would have skipped the epidural altogether. We have video of a tired Dr. Chapa, sitting bedside, tapping his fingers, and waiting for it to be time to tell me to push. That's pretty much all he did, was drum his fingers and say "push" every once in a while. I'm not sure he was even all the way awake. He did his job though, and at 3:50 am on Sunday, April 14, he held up a screaming 9 lb. 3 oz. baby, and Dan yelled out, "It's a GIRL!!!" so loud that I'm pretty sure the whole hospital heard it, including my parents who had showed up at some point, and were waiting outside the door.
I was in shock. I could not believe it was a girl. A girl! I secretly had believed it was going to be a girl, but I still could not believe I was so lucky to have a boy and a girl! The perfect little family. I kept looking at her that first night and thinking to myself, "you're a girl.....you are a GIRL!" It was so fun to not have known until we were holding her in our arms. My mom and dad got to come in right away and meet their first granddaughter when she was only a few minutes old, and they were completely enchanted from the first moments.
Now it is 23 years later, and every day since that day, I've been so thankful to have a daughter. She just keeps getting better and better, and as I often told her, although not nearly enough, she is and always will be one of my greatest blessings. We didn't get to spend her birthday together, and it made me sad, but I hope she knows she is always on my mind, even on every other day that is not April 14.