MAY

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It has been a month well lived. For years I have celebrated my birthday for the entire month. I know, I know, it sounds rather narcissistic, but I invite all others to do the same. I like to treat the month as a time of deep inner purging and cleansing (literally this year as I had an intense bout of stomach flu), and a time of embracing life with new energy. The goal is to feel born again. I have gathered up some photos I look throughout May. They don’t necessarily give the story of my re-birth this year, but I just wanted to make a final cap to this month. I am ready to step into all this new year will bring.

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“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” -Emily Dickinson

May 11, 1983-

“I have been doing everything possible this past week to encourage you to be born. I’ve cleaned the attic, the basement, attempted digging out a stump in my garden, stacked wood, and today I mowed the lawn. I have the freezer full of homemade pizzas to feed your dad and brothers while I am away. Everyday I do laundry to stay ahead. I’ve organized my genealogy, cleaned cupboards, windows, and drapes. I’ve run out of things to do, or rather things I can do. I have painting and wood refinishing to do, but have to wait until you’re born, because of the fumes… The neighbors and families are all waiting. I’m running out of clothes to wear. It’s time! Please come join us.”

May 17, 1983-

“Decided to plant my garden instead of waiting until after your birth. Who knows when that will be….”

May 18, 1983-

“Your brothers went to Dotty and Glenn’s while dad took me in for a check-up. The leakage showed up to be amniotic fluid so they admitted me at 10:00 a.m. and induced labor. The lady in my room [name] was induced at the same time. It was a race to the birthing room. About 3:00 p.m. they stopped her I.V. and started to prepare for a cesarean at 6:00 p.m. I had dilated to 4-5 cm so I was moved to the birthing room. The race still wasn’t over. Who’s baby would be born first? Your daddy was a terrific coach. Helping me with controlling my breathing, hugging me, and keeping everyone in laughter with his jokes. Your head was crowned, could see you had lots of hair. I was pushing and you too had your legs straight, pushing off my diaphragm. That was uncomfortable. At 6:01 p.m. Dr. Midthun announced you were a girl. … You weighed 9 lbs 5 oz. Identical weight to your brothers! That must be a record. Your dad says my body must be programed that once the baby reaches 9 lbs 5 oz, it ejects the baby.

“You were coated in lots of cream. Looked just like a girl covered in night cream. They laid you on my chest and there you stayed for the next 45 minutes trying to open your eyes. Dad made phone calls to local people.  You’ve got strong jams for nursing. Didn’t have to teach you – you latched right on. Such a pretty girl. So round, black hair, and such pretty features. Your hair isn’t as dark as your brothers, but you look like you came from the same mold.

“The [other] baby was born at 6:36 p.m. A 9lb 7 1/2 oz girl. They named her Aundra Marie.

“We had three names chosen for you. Matthew wanted Heidi, dad wanted Gretchen, and I preferred Analiesa….

“Once we decided on Analiesa, next was to choose the middle name from a list of Ann, Ila, Fern, or Marie. My sister who died was Ann, Alan’s mom’s name is Ila Marie, my mom’s name is Fern. My middle name is Marie, so was my grandma’s (Hedwig Marie Bach). You have a long name to learn to spell — Analiesa Marie Leonhardt — All the nurses love your name. A pretty German/Austrian name for a German/Austrian girl.

“You were only 2 hours old and hadn’t been washed up yet when your dad brought your brothers to see you. They washed their hands, put on gowns, and held you. Benjamin hugged and kissed you, laid next to you on your bed and stroked you gently. Matthew hugged and held you.

“You wake up every 3-4 hours to eat. After nursing you, you get 1/2 to 1 oz. of water. You drink it like you just came off the desert.”