Marking Time

My mother always said to me on my birthday, in her beautifully accented voice, “Joyce, darling, when you were born, the angels sang.”  In fact, the angels sang when all five of us were born.  She told us all the same story.  We waited for it.  We loved it.  But I did not hear the angels singing when my first child was born.  I thought I would.  Instead, I heard a nurse, marking time.  So that’s the story I tell my daughter on her birthday which is today.

It all started when I told my husband, 27 years ago, that I was in labor.  I believe he, a newsman, has a deep-seated desire to be a fireman or a policeman.  I swear I saw him flip on his lights and sirens.  I think maybe he had been dreaming about that emergency run to the hospital for some time… maybe since his youth.  Maybe that’s something men dream about like some women might dream of their wedding day.

Jim raced us to the hospital with the efficiency of a firefighter while I writhed in pain every few minutes.  I told the nurse my name and that I was in labor and that I needed an epidural because that’s what I had decided, that I was going to go with an EPIDURAL. The nurse looked at me, and said, “Honey, let’s just make sure you are in labor.”


It’s another one of those things no one tells you about.  The pain of labor is unbearable.  And no one is in a very big rush to make it stop.  Once Nurse finally decided I actually was in labor a set of twins were coming into the world next door.  They were using up my EPIDURAL doctor.  That left me with no choice but to continue to writhe in pain.  But Nurse stayed with me.  She had a way of breathing with me while I almost died from the contractions.  At one point she put Jim, my would-be first responder, in front of me and said, “He will breathe with you now.”  Jim was white, sweaty, scared.  A contraction was coming on.  I looked at him.  I looked at her and yelled, “DON’T LEAVE ME.”  And I nearly leaped out of bed to grab her.  It went on for hours, probably three, until finally, the EPIDURAL guy walked in.  My savior.   He dropped a little line in my back and brought me peace.

And just like that, another few, very different, hours later, Nurse who didn’t believe me, Nurse who looked into my eyes and breathed with me through the pain said in a strong voice, “A girl.”  Then she looked up at the clock and said “32.”  She was marking the time. It was 32 minutes past 8 in the morning.  It was the moment Katherine Grace Huntington entered the world.

And now at 8:32 California time, 5:32 New York time, that one time, tiny little screaming newborn turned 27.

Our precious baby…









Our Ballerina…







Our Actress….







Our Wave Rider..







Our Explorer…







Our Middle Schooler…






Our Happy High Schooler…








Our Player







Our Teacher









Our New Yorker










Our Friend…







Happy Birthday Baby!


7 thoughts on “Marking Time

  1. Hey Joyce,
    I remember how we all rushed down for the blessed event:) The first baby born in the family. What I remember most though happened later when we came down to visit. Katie did not sit still EVER. She just wanted to crawl over my shoulder to I don’t know where. And I am sure she didn’t know either. I was like OK OK you can go!!!! I remember staying in that room in the front of your house on Selby and tripping on Lucinda Williams who was playing with Neil Young the next week and I had my Apple customer who was going to go and so I learned all about her listened to her on the internet, bought a CD etc etc. Jimmy and I talked about her. so… That was fun… 🙂 Certainly I was not the baby whisperer with Katie. LOL!!!!

    We will have to initiate her properly when she returns to CA!!!
    (no stitches will be needed!)

  3. This is so beautiful. It bought tears to my eyes….and now that I’ve come to my senses, What will I do when Raquel turns 21????

  4. Joyce you look fantastic in that last shot with Jim and Katie – stunning actually. Happy Belated Bday to Katie – you look wonderful too.
    Katie – I remember you back when…you were/are precious and full of life and joy. Brings a smile to my face as I type this. xxSusan

  5. Wow, tears in my eyes as I read this again and see these photos! Happy Birthday to Katie and Love to you all!

  6. Pingback: Marking Time – Tripping on Books

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