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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Torres Evans

Sweet Baby Jett - When You Were Born

When your mom told me she wanted me there with her and your dad at the hospital, I thought it was to be ”the support person.” The one who relayed the news of your birth to the family when you (finally) arrived; the one who ran to the cafeteria for coffee, tea or Flaming Hot Cheetos; the one who sat outside.

I followed your mom and dad from the car to the entrance of the Navy Hospital. The picture I took was from behind them, their determined, anticipatory postures, your mom’s left hand on your father’s right shoulder, one foot in front of the other, left, right, left, as they moved closer to bringing you home to us.

I don’t remember the medical terminology for the induction process the Navy doctors put your mom through. We went in around 8:00pm on the 4th of November and the first procedures they implemented were ineffective. We settled down for the night around 11pm, as much as your mom being hooked up to monitors and checked on every 30 minutes through the night, would allow. Early the next monring, they gave your mom Pitocin.

As a woman, watching another woman in labor takes you back to your own womb fracturing experience. Remnants of the unforgettable pain you have forgotten sends twinges of of reminders through your groin. Watching your youngest daughter bent over her hospital bed, her body shuddering in what is this "from the beginning of time" pain, and her moans as primordial as the Eden garden, tore at me. I couldn’t comfort your mom. I couldn’t reassure her or your father. I couldn’t ease the slow, torturous onslaught that was bringing you to us. I could only pray her labor would be quick and she was strong enough.

Your mom and dad gave me a gift as a long-distance grandmother I’d never had. I spent time with your mom during her pregnancy. I felt you do forward rolls in her belly and talked to you as I put my hand on your back or hip or shoulder…you are my 6th grandchild, but you are the first helped bring to this side of the world.

Your mom has always been competitive. Always. She beat the first baby labor times of your Nannie, your Tia Licha and I by half an hour. Yes, she was strong enough.

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