birth story

August 11th, 2015


She sat on the step between the kitchen and the hall, waiting for the time to pick up her friends and drive to the beach to celebrate her birthday.

There’s something I want to tell you, I said, and I stepped outside of myself so I could give this to her, so she could have this for herself.

Sixteen years ago today we were both at home. Of course you weren’t born yet. We had spent a week in the hospital trying to keep you inside of me where I thought you were safe. I wanted that very much, for you to be safe and well. And they had finally let us come home. I had to stay in bed and take my blood pressure every thirty minutes, and it just kept going up and up. I couldn’t make it go down. A friend drove me to the doctor’s and she said it wasn’t up to me any longer, you had to come out, you had lost a pound because the food wasn’t getting to you. It was too serious to wait any more. So she told us to go to the hospital early the next morning so you could be born no matter what.

I’ve been thinking about his lately because everything has been hard and stressful again, and I’ve realized how hard and stressful it was for you then, how much pressure you felt, and how you weren’t getting what you needed, and I was so worried and sick. They gave you steroids in the hospital before you were born so you would be able to breathe. The steroids made you strong. And when you were born, after all that pain and pressure for you, you were strong. You have always been strong, and you do such strong things even when they are hard. And when the doctor saw you for the first time, she said I really like the way this baby looks!

She had been quietly smiling as I said this, hearing it, seeing it, knowing it, full and ready to go.



  1. Oh, my. Tears. So many tears. Beautiful. xox

    Comment by Lindsey — August 11, 2015 @ 11:40 am

  2. You are beautiful, Lindsey, and your heart is the ocean.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — August 11, 2015 @ 11:49 am

  3. As always Karen, your writings bring tears to my eyes, absolutely beautiful!

    Comment by Darasue Lyons — August 11, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  4. Thank you so much Maezen. Your words give voice to feelings for my oldest, who turned 28 today. I’ve never known that love could be so deep and raw and beautiful and bearable, because it’s a gift.

    Comment by Mary — August 11, 2015 @ 5:08 pm

  5. So very beautiful.

    Comment by marcea — August 11, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

  6. Oh, Maezen, thank you.

    Comment by Meg — August 12, 2015 @ 6:21 am

  7. Dear Karen, Congratulations, and what a lovely gift for your daughter.
    When you write: “everything has been hard and stressful again.” I wonder what I can offer you, and all I can come up with is this: “Nothing real can be threatened, herein lies the peace of God.” (ACIM). It’s like the Zen-teacher you wrote about before who already saw the glass broken. I’m sure you will find a good solution.
    Kind regards.

    Comment by Simone — August 13, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  8. What was hard and stressful then, becomes the nurturing lesson now. I hope that the same happens with what is hard and stressful for you now. Sending the love back your way. And, as ever, thank you.

    Comment by Clare — August 18, 2015 @ 5:49 am

  9. I love everything about this. The biggest and simplest gift you gave her, of both her and of you.

    Comment by Katie Murphy — September 12, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  10. Many blessings to you both. Much heart and gratitude for sharing these words and meanings.


    Comment by Miro — September 22, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

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