Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Love of My Life
As stories of births go, we have all heard them. But they are usually quite typical births; nothing spectacular. And of course every one thinks their story is the topper. Including myself.
On the morning of August 2, 1990 the mechanized infantry, armor, and tank units of the Iraqi Republican Guard invaded Kuwait and seized control of that country. The invasion triggered a United States response, Operation DESERT SHIELD, to deter any invasion of Kuwait's oil rich neighbor, Saudi Arabia.
On August 7, deployment of U.S. forces began. United Nations Security Council Resolutions 660 and 662 condemned Iraq's invasion and annexation and called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces. On August 20 President Bush signed National Security Directive 45, "U.S. Policy in Response to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait," outlining U.S. objectives - which included the "immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait," and the "restoration of Kuwait's legitimate government to replace the puppet regime installed by Iraq."
On August 25, my high school sweet heart was convinced by an Army recruiter that he would never be sent to Saudi if he joined up now. He would be too green of a recruit. One month later, at the age of 17, I married my high school sweetheart. He was gone the next day for basic training in the last graduating class at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
A U.N. ultimatum, Security Council Resolution 678, followed on November 29, 1990. It stipulated that if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did not remove his troops from Kuwait by January 15, 1991 a U.S.-led coalition was authorized to drive them out. Early in the morning of January 17, Baghdad time, the U.S.-led coalition launched air attacks against Iraqi targets.
On February 2, 1991, my husband was sent to Saudi Arabia. He was a crane operator for the US Army and was assigned to load and unload ships. I was about 5 months pregnant.
On February 24, coalition ground forces begin their attack. On February 27, Kuwait City was declared liberated, and with allied forces having driven well into Iraq, President Bush and his advisers decided to halt the war. A cease-fire took effect at 8:00 the following morning.
It was the morning of June 10th, 1991. It was my due date, and I was worried the baby would arrive before his father, from Saudi on Emergency Leave. After weeks of negotiating and let's face it, out and out begging, my husband was finally able to come home for a two week leave. Not only for the birth of his son, but his grandmother lay dying in the same hospital that his son would soon be born in.
Around 9 pm my time, I was sitting on the couch talking to my son's father on the phone. He was on a layover in Philadelphia. He was waiting on his connecting flight not due for another five hours. Around 10 pm I got off the phone and proceeded to get up to go to bed. My water broke. Actually I wasn't sure if it was my water or my bladder until the dog started helping me clean it up.
Ingrid my mom-in-law, was getting ready for work. She worked the night shift at the same hospital we would soon be zooming too.
"Ingrid!", I hollered while standing in the middle of the living room.
"I think my water just broke." I said while trying to kick the dog away.
"Yeah right." she said while walking into the living room. She took one look at the mess on the floor and the dog, and said, "Yup, I guess it did."
After calling the airport and having my son's dad paged and told of what was happening, we were off like a shot in my mom-in-laws Pontiac to the hospital. I then started to hyperventilate. I loved being pregnant, but the whole pushing a baby through my girl parts thing did not really set in until I was sitting in the car with a towel between my legs.
After getting settled in and calling the family, I was thinking that this was no big deal. So what? My water broke, big deal. Two hours later, the contractions started. Ohhhhh, so that's the big deal!
About 15 hours later, I finally got the epidural. For those not in the know, that's the spinal tap thingee that Juno screams about in the movie. Basically helps take the pain away from the waist down. Thank you God and the baby Jesus for epidurals. And Ingrid.
My son's dad finally flew in about 6 pm the night of June 11th. Somehow the media got word that he was flying in, and why and from where (probably my mother). (Back then the whole Support our Troops thing was huge and every one had a yellow ribbon of some kind on their cars and wrapped around their trees in the yard.) So with news crew filming, my son's dad ran off the plane, in full desert fatigues, to be greeted by friends, family and my "wives's support group", waving flags, and banners. The news crew filmed him and everyone else running down the hallway to the parking lot to dash off to the hospital. The news I saw later said "Who is this man, and why is he running? Find out at 11." I still have the tape.
At 8:22 pm, June 11, 1991 my son Dakoda James was born. 8 lbs. 14 oz. 22 inches long. Size 2 infant feet.
My baby is 18 today. Size 15 feet. Happy birthday, Honey. I love you.