A Blink After Birth

When I was a little, my favorite story my mom would tell me, was about the day I was born.

Angelia Elizabeth – born August 23, 1971 – 420pm

As often as I could, I would beg her to tell it to me, again and again. Maybe, it was for the closeness we shared. Maybe, it was because my mom told it with such heart, and soul. Maybe, it was because I got to snuggle with her under the covers in her big brass bed. She would wrap me up and stroke my hair as she began to quietly speak. Transfixed, I would listen as she recounted the day with perfect clarity.

My mom, your Grandma Dorothy, died while I was pregnant with you. I was only 29 years old. We were very close and I loved her so much. It was devastating to me. But I had your two brothers, and sister to take care of. I could not grieve forever. As much as I would miss her, I had to do the best I could for my family. You were five months in my tummy when I said good-bye for the last time.

The months went by as slow and hard as I thought they would be. The emptiness and loss were a hole I could not fill. The boys were a handful, but thankfully your sister, age eight, was a BIG help. She wished and wished for a baby sister and not a brother. I told her how sorry I was but I didn’t think I could have any more girls. I wanted a girl more than anything but just couldn’t get my hopes up. It seemed the last possible thing in the world. But in my dreams, I couldn’t help but picture a big brown-eyed baby girl.

Two weeks from your due date the doctor informed me that he would go ahead and induce labor. He felt it was time. I had not gained much weight. I was too thin and too unhealthy. In my harrowing days, I had not taken very good care of myself. It was losing my mom. It was raising three children. It was so many things.

I couldn’t believe after laboring all day the moment of your arrival came, and the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” I told him, “It can’t be! I can’t have any more girls.” The doctor just laughed. “Of course you can have more girls and you did. Just look at her.”

And there you were….a girl. What I wanted for so long. You were so pretty. You had BIG brown eyes that peered up at me like an Owl. And you were tiny too, only 5lbs 12oz, the smallest baby I ever had. Your thin blond downy fuzz on your head was so soft, and how I loved to count your precious little fingers and toes. Oh, I was amazed and in love. I only wished my mom could be there to meet you.

Back in those days, the babies would lay in the nursery while the mom recovered in her room from the medicines and birth. I was laying there in my hospital bed thinking of you, when I sensed movement at the door. And there she stood. My mom. She was standing there looking at me with such love and adoration shining from her face. She looked me right in my eyes and said, “Oh Sharon, you did it again. She is beautiful and just like you dreamed she would be with big brown-eyes. I’m so happy you got your girl.”

I was startled. My heart jolted at the sight of her. I did what any normal person would do, I closed my eyes, and I shook my head. When I opened them, she was gone.

Oh how I wished I had not closed my eyes. I wish I would have kept them open and talked to her. I wish…I wish…I wish….but I didn’t and just like that, she wasn’t there. But she WAS there. Really there. It wasn’t a dream. It was a moment, I will never forget, for the rest of my life.

Her story is both heart-wrenching and joyful. I am usually crying with her, and for her, at the end. In my heart of hearts, I know my Grandma met me. She gazed at me through the glass. She lovingly reached for my downy head and stared into my big eyes. Oh Grandma, I heard so much about you. What you must have done to visit your daughter in a gesture of comfort, a gesture of reassurance, and a gesture of compassion that you were still there in her deepest period of loss. How much you loved us all. I know one day we will meet in heaven, all of us, and no blink will take that moment.

In loving memory of my mom’s mom, Grandma Dorotha Marie.
Grandma holding my sister, 1963

39 thoughts on “A Blink After Birth

  1. From the very beginning of my following your blog, I knew you were a very special woman, filled with the kind of love we all should have in our hearts.

    Happy birthday, Angelia, and many, many more.


  2. Wooo hooo what a snazzy, hip grandma she was in her day! So sad you didn’t get to meet her. I bet she was a whipper snapper. I can’t imagine that my grandmother would have had such a cool dress and a hairdo even if it was 1963! May we look like we’re ready to have fun when we are grandmothers!


    1. Wasn’t she the greatest? She always had hip hair, snazzy glasses, and rockin’ outfits. I definitely did not inherit her style. Truly, she is beautiful in all the pictures.

      I hope I AM a hip grandma like her. 🙂


    1. Thank you Luisa! OMG! I love that video. I was dancing and singing. I just love the animals! Can’t decide if the dancing giraffes, or the banner flying dragonfly was cuter. Awhh!

      This made me feel VERY special and happy. Thank you!


  3. I knew it… you brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely story. I would want to hear that again and again too!

    Every year I make a digital scrapbook for little man… and at night now and then, Jay will ask me to read through it. Love those moments.


  4. That was very touching (and a ‘late’ Happy Birthday,’ which I forgot to mention last time).

    Your Grandma looks so young in that picture–I thought it was you and your mom. Thanks for giving us a little glimpse into such a big and meaningful memory.


  5. What a wonderful story Angelia, I believe that your Grandma was actually there and what a comfort it was for your Mom knowing she actually got to see you.

    Hope your Birthday was Great!!


  6. Angelia, You have written a beautiful and poignant story. In my mind there is no doubt your Grandmother visited you and your Mom on that day. Thank you for sharing this wonderful event.

    Putting it on your blog will provide it to your grandchildren yet to come. You are passing it on to future generations.



  7. Momma Diddy

    Sorry to hear that your grandmom pass on during your mom’s pregnancy with you. She has walk through them in an amazing way, full of grace. I adore her passion, faith and love she has for you. In my mind, I can picture her as an lovely momma, very lovely lady…

    Thanks for sharing this touching story, it melts my heart.


  8. This is so well written. Thanks. I can relate to your mom. My mom died when I was pregnant of my second one, I was 24 years old. I wish my mom had “visit” me after she passed away.


  9. Oh how precious is this!??!?!? I can only hope my kids want to hear their birth stories when they get older…altho, it won’t be as tender as this was to read!


  10. A moving story, beautifully retold by you.

    I often wish my father could have seen my three kids. It’s sad to think about.

    It’s so funny how we connect even more to our parents when we have our own kids.


  11. It is amazing what you can do for the sake of your children. Your mother had a strength, for you, when she wanted to just sit and quit for a little while.
    Beautiful story.
    Happy Birthday, a few days late.
    Now I want to go tell my kids about when they were born, and how amazing it was.


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