Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Oh, My God! It's a Girl!" -- A Happier 9/11 Story

While much of America will mark September 11 with sadness, I carry a happier memory of that date, as I share in this excerpt from Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir...

"It was just past 11pm on September 10, 1999. My wife and I were asleep. The night outside our rainforest home in Captain Cook was still. Inside, too. Even the giant flying cockroaches, ubiquitous on the Big Island and seemingly unextinguishable, were, unusually, not rattling around our front room, itself now dominated by a large, circular birthing tank. In our bedroom, jammed between our bed and the window was a crib outfitted with baby-boy blue fittings — blue because, with no evidence to the contrary, we were convinced that we were having a boy.

"Suddenly, Q’nta jostled me awake. 'I think my water just broke.'

"I leapt out of bed, called our midwife, Roxanne, began to fill the birthing tank and banged on our neighbor Kathy Sue's door. Q’nta went into labor, while Kathy Sue fussed and attended to both of us. She mopped the sweat from Q’nta’s forehead and poured over-sweetened black coffee into me. Initially out of reach on another birth, Roxanne and her assistant showed up near dawn and, soon after, directed us both into the birthing tank. Q’nta leaned back against me, breathing and pushing according to Roxanne’s direction, and I held her, too high on caffeine, sugar, adrenalin and wonder to do anything else. Fortunately, there was nothing else for me to do. As much as we always did most things together, only Q’nta could do this one.

"When the final push came and Roxanne held up the new baby for us to see, I was astounded, and not only by the miracle of birth. 'Oh, my God!' I exclaimed. 'It’s a girl!'

"The baby boy of all our intuitive sensings was not a boy after all.

"I quickly glanced up at the clock. It was 9:11am on September 11. Our daughter had arrived with Virgo-like punctuality, right on her due date. A tsunami of emotion washed through me, a supercharged blend of awe, humility and love. I had never expected to be a father, never thought I wanted to be a father. And now... Now this tiny creature was my child. Forever."

• Find out why “forever did not play out as expected" for me in my Acts of Surrender memoir. Get your copy today in the Kindle, iBook, Nook or Kobo store for your e-reader, tablet, computer and smartphone.

Photo: Father and daughter in 2005

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