Message from your Mother is a series of letters written by Lilly to her daughter. They are often written in the kind of irrational way that seems to come naturally to mothers when communicating with their children (no matter how old they happen to be). There is always a hidden message in these letters if you look hard enough.
I think you’re finally old enough to hear the full details of your rather significant and intense transition from the inside to the outside don’t you? Because they say the type of birth you have leaves footprints on your personality.
And your birth experience may explain a few things.
You were born in the days when specialists advised expectant mothers to do what was most convenient for them (the specialists that is, not their patients).
Our obstetrician’s name was Dr Cutter (risky choice I know, but no-one had ever sued him). He decided that you should be induced because surprisingly you were late and well.....he had other plans.
A three week golfing holiday in Hong Kong as it happens!
I was young, naive and willing to take the easy option when offered. Apparently the labour was going to be more intense and painful this way but it would be over quickly. Worth the odds I thought so I signed on the dotted line.
At 7am on the 31 January the IV drip went in and we expected to have a gorgeous baby by mid-day. I should have known better about the early start.
You see in utero you used to stay up partying all night and then seemed to sleep soundly during the day so it's hardly surprising that things didn't go according to plan. You may not remember this because you clearly were sound asleep and nothing was going to disturb you least of all a powerful drug and your mother's screams. However, just to fill you in, there were way, way, way too many contractions that lasted way, way, way too long. I thought I was going to die.
“This is highly unusual”, said the calm Dr Cutter at about 6pm that evening, “things usually progress far more quickly than this”.
He eventually said if you weren’t born by midnight he would turn the drip off and do something to live up to his name. I think that may have been when I used the F word over and over in his direction and told him that if he didn’t give me drugs I would do something that could see me locked up for a long, long time. I wonder if it’s true what they say about fetal memory and learning in utero. It would explain a few things about your teenage years.... but I digress.
The real problem was that you just didn’t want to take the traditional route. I mean, why take the head first entry that 97% of other babies do when you could do it your own way, sitting down. Yes, you thought you would enter the world backside first (breech).
Did you know that a baby normally assumes a head down presentation because of the weight of it's head? So can we assume that you went the other way because of the weight of your a..? Well at least you can take some comfort you didn't have a fat head.....like most of the population.
Because yours was an unusual birth and we were in a teaching hospital, interns came from everywhere to watch your entry into the world. The biggest moment of our lives turned into a learning opportunity for young doctors. So you were born to a clapping crowd and lots of strange faces. The only thing that reassured me at the time was that apparently minutes after birth, a baby can pick out its mother's face ... from a gallery of faces. This could have explained your screams of shock - ok I'll concede, I wasn't looking my best by that point.
The public spectacle of your birth makes me cringe now more than it did at the time. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less if your birth had been televised on prime time TV - I just wanted you out of there and quickly.
And when you finally made your entrance, we never looked back. You did it your way and it's been a roller coaster ride ever since.
Your birth footprints left their mark on your personality wouldn't you say? You are unique – one in a million. Adventurous. Love people and performing in public. Don’t always take the easy way out. Still love your sleep and nothing can wake you least of all your mother's screams. You like to do things on your own terms and you have no fear. However, you unlike me, always read the fine print and always get second opinions. And let's face it you still scream when you see me with no makeup and my hair all over the place.
Given we know you don't have a big head, I can say that you've also grown to be the most loving and thoughtful young woman I know. I would have done it 100 times over if I had to, to have you in my life (ok that's a huge lie because there is a reason I only went through the birthing process once ......um.....and of course that was just because ....because when you get perfection there is no reason to go back for more......it's your birthday, the truth can wait).
Happy Birthday and see you in a couple of weeks.
Your Mother xx
PS. Ah ha! It's clear from looking at your pictures over the last year that the real reason you came out backside first is that you didn't want to ruin your hairdo..........good call.