9.11.10

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My due date was September 19. Or September 18, if you went by the date calculated by my doctor.

Throughout my pregnancy, we didn't put too much thought into exactly what date our baby would be born. I mean, why would we? It was something we most certainly didn't have any control over, so speculating or "aiming" for a particular date would have been a pretty big waste of time. Still, in our discussions as normal, excited expectant parents, there were a few casual, fun conversations about it.

I tend to be "into" numbers, so I'll often comment on how I like the "sound" of certain birth dates. To me, there were dates that I thought would be nice birthdays for our baby. Aside from that, there was one date that I hoped we would avoid--9.11.10. Of course, with a September due date, we always knew there was a possibility of having a baby born on 9/11. But I guess we always thought, "What are the chances?" After all, I was due on 9/19, and the general consensus is that most women go late with their first pregnancies. Plus, there are 29 other days in September; we knew that our baby was more likely to be born on any other day BUT September 11.

There were times that other people mentioned the possibility to me--"Oh! Your baby could be born on September 11!" But there was always a feeling of "Yes, but that will probably never happen."

But then, as my due date approached, so did September 11. On Friday, September 10, Michael happened to mention to me that he had a feeling we were going to end up with a September 11 baby, which was strange--because I had been having the exact same feelings. Before I left work that day, I prepared to be gone for maternity leave, because I really felt like I would not be coming back.

It turned out that I was right. And, Michael's and my premonitions were validated, with our little Nora Grace making her appearance at 3:29 a.m. on Saturday, September 11, 2010.

And you know what? It's fine with me. I remember seeing women on pregnancy message boards commenting about how they were PRAYING that they wouldn't have their baby on 9/11. That wasn't me, because I just don't think that it's that big of a deal. (I prayed for a healthy baby, and an easy delivery.) Is it the date I would have chosen, had I had a choice? No. But there are probably thousands of babies who were born on that date after it became THE 9/11. And thousands of people who were born on it before that fateful day.

So, it is not ME who I worry about. My only concern about Nora having a 9/11 birthday has been due to reactions of others. I would hate for Nora to go through her life with people wincing--or worse, commenting--whenever she shares her birth date.

There are plenty of dates with horrible things tied to them. It could be my birthday. It could be yours. Life and death, all on the same days--in times of grieving, aren't we always told that life goes on? New life is only a reminder of that.

But here's the thing about 9/11: It's the only tragedy that is named for the date. For instance, the attacks on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, but we don't call the incident "December 7"--we call it "Pearl Harbor." The bombing of the Murrah Federal Building happened on April 19, but we don't refer to it as "April 19"--we say "The Oklahoma City bombing."

The scope of the attacks on September 11 stretched across multiple locations, times, and spaces. And so it came to be dubbed, simply, "September 11." The date itself is therefore negatively marked for eternity. I will never forget. You will never forget. The sights, the sounds, the shock, the fear--those of us who were alive to witness the events of that day are forever changed by them.

My hope is that Nora's generation will know about September 11, but because they did not live through it themselves, the mere mention of it will not conjure up the same negative feelings as it does for those who are older. I hope that she is able to "own" her birth date and not hesitate to tell people about it.

The truth is that Nora's birth on September 11 forever changed (again) that date for me. When I hear it, sure, I think about 9.11.01; who doesn't? But now, the first thing I think of is my beautiful daughter, and how that date marks the beginning of her life. Some of that negative has been displaced by the best positive that there is.

We should all be so lucky to have a child born on September 11.

I love you, Nora.
And your birthday, too.

19 comments:

Helen September 11, 2011 at 8:32 AM  

I adore this post. Happy Birthday to Nora. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Mala,  September 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM  

Happy born day Nora! I hope all your birthday wishes come true not only today but every day

Mom September 11, 2011 at 9:58 AM  

Happy Birthday to my adorable, lovable, darling grand-daughter. I always say that our little nine-eleven baby was sent to us on this day to remind us of the joys of life. Though we will never forget how 9-11-01 changed our lives, we will forever be grateful for our blessing with the arrival of our little angel, Nora Grace. LOVE you bunches, Grammy.

basebell6 September 11, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

happy birthday nora! love your post.

Anonymous,  September 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM  

What a beautiful post, Heather. Happy birthday to Nora!

Vanessa September 11, 2011 at 11:25 AM  

I for one did not even make the connection between Nora's birthdate and the tragedy that unfolded - how can it be? - 10 years ago.

I agree - plenty of babies will be born on that date and really, if anything, it is beautiful that the day represents new life.

Happy birthday lovely Nora!

Anonymous,  September 11, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

What a beautiful post. Happy birthday, Nora!

Michelle September 11, 2011 at 1:25 PM  

That is very touching and very true. Happy birthday Nora.

Anonymous,  September 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM  

I think your mom said it best " our little nine-eleven baby was sent to us on this day to remind us of the joys of life"

Anonymous,  September 11, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

Oh forgot to add Happy 1st Birthday Nora

Kimberley September 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM  

Happy First Birthday to your sweet little Nora!

Gia September 11, 2011 at 3:47 PM  

Happy Birthday, Nora!!!

Amanda September 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM  

You couldn't have a better outlook on this. Happy Birthday Nora!!! I can't wait to see what your Mommy baked for you (assuming she had time after a busy move).
And for what it is worth, I think you might be right. We lived through it so it is fresh and prominent in our minds. Our children will of course learn about 9/11, but the day "September 11th" might not be so sensitive for them.

Anonymous,  September 11, 2011 at 5:48 PM  

She (and any post-9/11 'baby,' really) gives us a reason to rejoice today. Happy 1st birthday, Nora. :)

~Kristen M.

kylee September 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

Can you imagine being in labor on 9/11/01 while the world is seemingly falling apart around you? That must have been terrifying for those parents.

Happy birthday to Nora!

Anonymous,  September 11, 2011 at 10:47 PM  

Happy Birthday Nora! (My nephew shares the same birthday as you, and turned 7 today! It is indeed a great day!) :-)

tab890 September 12, 2011 at 11:34 PM  

Happy 1st Birthday Nora!

My sister in law just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy - on september 11th, 2011. 5 weeks before the babys due date.

Everyone is doing great, and our whole family agrees with you, its a date we can remember now how precious life is and how lucky we truly are.

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