Exactly two dozen years ago, my daughter came quietly into this world. My maternal grandmother had come to visit us for a couple of weeks. She was going to watch Derek when Terry and I had to go to the hospital. I remember waking up in the middle of the night but I can’t remember why we decided to go to the hospital. My water did not break, like it did when I went into labor for Derek in 1986. I probably called the doctor and they must have told us to head in to town to the hospital.
I remember seeing the moon as we drove in. For the longest time, I thought it was a full moon. But I went and checked a star chart app at Astronomy.com and discovered it was waxing and actually set at 1:30 a.m. that night. So I’ve confirmed I did see a moon while we drove to the hospital, just not a full one as I had misremembered. When I arrived at the hospital, the birthing wing was quiet, but it wouldn’t stay that way long. I was the first of many women who would arrive over the next few hours. By the time the sun rose, the birthing wing was overflowing with laboring pregnant women.
Rachelle was born a few minutes past sunrise on that Monday. She weighed six pounds twelve ounces (easy to remember since she was born in the sixth month on the twelfth day at 6:24 a.m.).I had not decided upon a name for her until I saw her. Then the name ‘Rachel’ popped into my head. But I didn’t want her to be a run-of-the-mill ‘Rachel’ (and let me assure you she never has been) so I mashed it up with a version of my middle name and the name of a cousin of my favorite Aunt Melody. Her name was ‘Rochelle.’ So, I spelled my daughter’s name ‘Rachelle’ but I pronounced it just like you would ‘Rachel.’ This caused all of us headaches when I enrolled her in day care and later in public school. I just shrug. My daughter had it a lot easier than I did, growing up a girl named Jon (pronounced just like ‘John’).
I miss her so much nowadays. She’s so far away. I console myself with her self-portrait and the day lilies that bloom each year on her birthday:
Happy Birthday Rachelle!
Last year’s birthday post.
And the year before that.