How come we only hear horror stories about stepmothers and stepdaughters? MomSpeaker Lisa Weinstein proves that the bond forged in a mixed family can be as close as biological mom and daughter, with a dose of really great news at the end of her story!
I entered the maternity unit on the evening of June 30, 1997, ready to push out the bowling ball-like bulge that had me wearing my hubby's clothes for the better part of two months. That "bulge" had been pretty darn tootin' comfy all tucked up in my tummy. Her arrival date had come and gone, and now, a week later, the OB/GYN felt it best to fill me with drugs that would entice my little cherub to enter the world.
Being "induced" should have rapidly set the childbirth wheels in motion. However, the evening and overnight hours passed without incident. There should have been something going on. Some type of action. Some indication that this appendage wanted to exit my body.
Nope. No dice.
The baby had not budged, and the tiny opening that was somehow going to play host to her GIANT head did not grow any bigger.
So the doctor gave me more "induction" drugs….and we waited.
In the mid-morning hours, my husband Bob arrived with our daughter Jessica in tow. Although the age difference between Jessica and my soon-to-arrive baby daughter would be 21 years, she couldn't wait to become a big sister.
Jessica had come with the package. A wonderful bonus that transformed me into an insta-mom of a teen the moment I said "I do." Sure, there were some rough patches in the beginning. I had deluded myself into thinking we'd be the very best of friends. But the "Keep Out" sign on her bedroom door, complete with a photo of a Doberman pinscher, brought me back to reality.
Thanks to our mutual love for her father, unending patience and a willingness to make it work, the walls of skepticism started to melt away as Jessica realized that her new stepmom had become an ally and friend . . . not a foe.
Eventually, we did become the best of friends . . . and so much more. That's why I so desperately wanted her there when her little sister Melissa finally decided to come out and play!
By 11am the morning of July 1, 1997, the drugs had started to take effect. Mild cramping that started in my lower back made its way round front to evolve into full-blown contractions. My doctor suggested a medication that would take the edge off and make me a bit drowsy, an offer I readily accepted. As the nurse injected the welcoming drugs into the IV, the effect was instantaneous.
Within seconds, I fell into a deep, pain-free slumber. But before succumbing to the effects of the drugs, I looked at my husband and daughter, worry sketched across their anxious faces, and uttered these now infamous words………………………
"Jessica, you were my first."
Despite the contractions and despite the drugs, I wanted the daughter who had "come with the package" to understand that even though another offspring would be entering our lives, she still mattered and I still loved her because, after all . . . she was my first.
Melissa, the baby who arrived on July 1, 1997, is now a junior in high school, plays in a band, sings in the school chorus and is on the board of a local youth group. Jessica and her husband Brian live in Washington, DC. She is an executive with a national union, fighting for workers' rights.
During a recent call with Jessica I tried to no avail to give her advice that would help ease the pervasive nausea that has become a permanent fixture for the past 12 weeks.
Yes, that's right. Jessica is pregnant!
And even though her baby bump is still barely discernible, Bob and I simply Can. Not. Wait.
You see, I never knew Jessica as a baby. By the time Bob and I went on our first date (Chinese food and ice cream), Jessica had been out of diapers for 15 years. I had pictures, of course. Treasured images of a toddler with dimpled cheeks and banana curls stared at me from pages of faded photo albums.
Bob raised that precious toddler on his own, and thanks to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends, she never lacked for love.
Her child will not either!
Lisa Weinstein is a South Jersey mom who blogs about parenting a teen, coping with middle age and celebrating nearly two decades of marriage. This post was adapted from her blog, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein.