My First Day

I was due on December 13, 2000.   Mom and Dad were kind of hoping I would be born on December 12 because Mom was born on 10/10 (October 10th) and Dad was born on 2/2 (February 2nd).  10 plus 2 equals 12.  So they figured I should have been born on 12/12 (December 12).  But December 12th came and went with no appearance from me.   In consultation with Dr. DeSouza, it was decided that I would be induced on Tuesday, December 19th if I didn't come on my own by then.  Mom & Dad later realized that December 19th, 2000 was the 6th anniversary of the day they met in Kenya, back in 1994!

The night before December 19th, Mom and Dad tried to go to bed early so they'd be well rested for the big day.  But three hours later, at midnight on December 19th, Mom's water broke and she went into labor without having to be induced.  She called Dr. deSouza and he said, "Pack your bags and come on in to the hospital."  She woke up Daddy and they both took a shower, put the bags in the car, and arrived at the hospital around 2:00 a.m.  We were taken to suite 8 in the newly renovated labor and delivery rooms at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mom's contractions were pretty mild and random at first. But they slowly got more painful and intense.   Daddy and Grandma stayed by Mom's bed to keep her entertained.  They played music, fed her ice and Daddy even got out the puppets to try to make her laugh.  From 7:00 to 8:30 a.m., Mom was starting to be in a lot of constant pain.  So an angel called "anesthesiologist" finally came around 8:30 am and gave Mom an epidural.  She was in 7th heaven and everybody slept for the next 4 or 5 hours.  When Mom woke up they told her it was snowing -- the first snowfall of the year!

Around 1:00 p.m., Dr. deSouza came and said it was time to get me out of there.  Daddy, Grandma, and a nice nurse named Kristen helped Mom with the pushing, but after 3 hours, I still didn't come and Dr. deSouza decided that I needed some assistance with forceps.  Finally I was born with a little help from Dr. deSouza at 4:27 p.m. 

When I first came out, the doctors and nurses whisked me away to take care of me.  They were afraid that I might have some meconium in my lungs.  They also had to help me breath for the first 2 minutes.  My one-minute apgar score was only a 4 out of 10.  But after a few minutes, I was breathing on my own and doing a lot better.  My 5 minute apgar score was 8 out of 10. 

Finally they wrapped me in a blanket and let Daddy hold me.   Daddy sang to me in Amharic.  After about an hour, Mommy was able to hold me.  She said a special prayer for me in my ear.

"I have come by God's command,
have been made manifest 
for His remembrance
and have been created 
for the service of Him 
who is the Almighty, the Well-Beloved."

Then Mom gave me my first meal.  I was really hungry and ate for about 20 minutes.

They moved Mom into a recovery room and took me to the nursery where I had my first bath and got warmed up under a heat lamp.  There were a lot of other babies born on December 19th, so all the single rooms were full.  Mom shared a room with a nice lady who had a c-section.  But the room was really small so Daddy and Grandma had to sleep at home, and I had to stay in the nursery.

Every few hours they took me to see Mom so I could eat.  The nurses had put a silly hat on my head with red and green ribbons for Christmas so Mom hadn't seen whether or not I had any hair.  She took off my hat and found a whole head of fine, dark hair that went down to my shoulders.  Mom also unwrapped me from my blanket enough to find  one of my hands balled up in a tight fist.  She pried open my fist and then I held on to her finger real tight while I ate.