Happy Birthday, Anna

29 03 2011

Anna's 4th birthday. The party was thrown by our new friends in Jakarta during our first week in Indonesia.

Today is Anna’s 12th birthday. I don’t know if it is still correct to say it that way, but there you have it. Timberley and I were awake in bed last night having trouble sleeping. We began reminiscing, as is our habit on the kids’ birthdays, about the events of the days of their births.


Anna was born on a Monday morning. Timberley had started her contractions in church on Sunday morning. My parents were visiting from California and we went to lunch at a Louisville restaurant, the name of which escapes me at the moment. Another couple from church saw us at the restaurant and asked a lot of questions about how Timberley was doing, but she didn’t want to say anything yet, so she kept smiling through her contractions and saying everything was fine.

Anna's 8th birthday. Anna's presents were the Green Fairy Book, Apples to Apples, and an innocent little hamster that, together with the male hamster that we gave Samuel, started another story of their own.

That evening we started the walking. We went to the riverbank park in Louisville and strolled along the Ohio River. We ate dinner–a very forgettable meal–at some chain restaurant with TVs in every corner. We went to Seneca Park and walked there until it started feeling a little unsafe. We finally went back home around 9 or 10 o’clock and went on to bed.

I didn’t sleep very well that night, knowing that Timberley was lying next to me in the early labor stages. She was insistent, however, that she would not go to the hospital until a certain time of the morning. For some reason, it was important that we not check in until 6 o’clock in the morning. So we laid there in bed, and Timberley read to me from a parenting magazine she had handy. The story she decided to read was about a woman that waited too long to go to the hospital and ended up having her baby in the bathtub. I asked her if she was learning anything from the story. “Everything is fine, Todd,” she said as she winced through another contraction. I was worried.

Anna's last birthday before God called her home. We celebrated at O Solo Mio, our favorite Italian restaurant in Solo, Indonesia. Anna is striking one of her Queen poses as she motions to her court to be seated or beckons Maid Nesty (Timberley) to help her with something.

We finally got up and out to the hospital. Timberley was going to deliver Anna naturally, as she had with Samuel, and did not want any medication or IV. The hospital insisted she at least get an IV, just in case there was an emergency of some sort. We finally gave in and let them put one in her hand. The nurses were a little skittish around us, though, after we both yelled at a nurse who walked over with a syringe and started putting it into her IV with telling us. We both turned to her and yelled simultaneously, “What are you doing?” A little taken aback, the nurse replied, “It’s just saline. I have to clean out the IV.” We gave our blessing and she proceeded with her work.

While we were resting in the delivery room, two ladies approached us. One was a nurse. The other was a very eager-looking young woman with a notebook and pencil. “This young lady is a nursing student and she needs to observe some procedures. Could she have permission to observe your delivery today?” Sure, we both agreed. The student retreated to a small desk in the corner of what was a pretty large delivery area.

As things moved along, and Timberley got closer to her hard labor, another problem arose. Her doctor, who had been called an hour or so earlier when we checked into the hospital had not yet shown up. I still don’t know the details. I want to think the best, but apparently he went back to bed after being called. But for whatever reason, as it neared time to deliver the baby, there was no doctor there to start. The nurses tried to keep Timberley calm. They tried to keep her from pushing. Some things, however, just can’t be stopped. Finally, I saw the nurses huddling together. They had just made the decision to start the delivery without a doctor present when the door flew open and a young intern walked in asking if he could help. He might as well have ridden in on a white horse the way he was welcomed to the room. The nurses all breathed a sigh of relief, and we quickly set to work.

From that point, things went well, except that the staff at the hospital was not used to working with a mother who was not medicated. The doctor didn’t know how to work with her contractions and to let her rest in between. It was very tiring and painful for Timberley, but, as she tells it, it was pain with a purpose. In the end, she knew she would see her baby girl.

And so, after a short time, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, and a great deal of emotion, Anna was born into the world. She was beautiful from the beginning.

After everything had settled down, the nursing who had been quietly sitting in the corner, came over to Timberley and me. She was a puddle of tears. “That was . . . (sob) . . . the most beautiful thing . . . . I have ever seen. Thank you for letting me take part.” We found out later that the nurses had a nickname for Timberley that they used in the hallway. “Prairie Woman.” Timberley accepted it proudly.

I would love tell the stories of her birthdays. Each has its own memories. But that is enough for the day.

Anna, we love you and miss you. Happy Birthday. Wear you birthday crown with joy and honor today. Celebrate before your Lord, who knows you and loves you more deeply than we are able.