I don't think I was as terrified of giving birth as I was the knowledge that I would be responsible for someone else. I would be responsible for seeing that another living, breathing human being was fed, was comfortable, and (most of all) was loved.
I was admitted and at 1:30 p.m. (13:30 as I was in a military hospital), labor began. It was not an easy labor in any uncertain terms. My pains began at two minutes apart, and no pain medication was administered. Finally, at 5:30 p.m. (forgot 17:30), I told them if they did not give me something I was going home. I finally got a little shot that helped for about thirty minutes. At 8:30 p.m. (20:30), I gave birth to a beautiful 9 pound, 7 ounce baby girl. (Back then you had no idea of the sex.) I was so very happy as I wanted a girl. Her name had been decided on one year earlier by my best friend Karen. She was given the female version of her daddy's name, and she was definitely a daddy's girl right from the start.
|Denise and Dennis|
Denise was sleeping all night by the time she was two weeks old with only an occasional night when she woke up. In the mornings, she would sit in her playpen and watch Captain Kangaroo. She would watch that show and laugh and laugh. She was laughing out loud at a very early age.
We moved back "home" right before her first birthday. She was so happy to be around all her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. She was doted on by all of them. As she got a little older, she fished with her Grandpa D, watched her Granny D make pancakes and ate them up like there was no tomorrow, spit off the front porch at the old house on the farm with Poppy, and followed Meemaw around like a puppy dog.
|Denise and Lauri|
When she was two and a half, she became a big sister. She loved "lil lauri," as we called her. As they got older, Neecey decided it was her role in life to pester Lauri at every moment, and she did.
A huge "bad habit" of Neecey's was her desire to see the world. She would "run off" every chance she got. Her big wheel probably had more miles on it by the time she was five than some cars. If left alone for a moment, she was gone. (Back then, we were not as careful about watching our children every minute as parents have to be now.) I met my friend Ellen when discovering Neecey was gone when I had gone back in the house to check on sleeping Lauri. I finally found the big wheel at a house I did not recognize, went to the door, and asked if a little blonde-haired girl was there. Sure enough, she was. Ellen had no idea what to do with this little girl. (This scares the soup out of me but all went well.) Ellen told me later she still remembered that wild woman throwing a big wheel in the bag of a Corvette, spanking this little girl all the while. That was the only time she ever went into someone's house (fortunately). Our eyes had to stay on her every moment after that.
|The day she got her certification|
Denise was a tomboy: she played basketball, pretty good in tennis, fair in golf and loved the idea of flying in the sky. Her stepdad, Dave, surprised her with flying lessons and she was as happy during that time as I ever knew her. She loved flying and entered HSU with an aviation degree in her sights. She obtained an aviation degree in only 3 1/2 years and then moved to London to be near her future husband, Peter.
|Denise marrying in her red dress |
(well, actually, her sister's red dress)
In April 2002, she was offered a training position at Morgan-Stanley as a financial analyst and took that job. She was, apparently, very good at that position as she was made a full-time employee much earlier than ever expected.
By March 2003, Denise's depression had returned and came back with a vengeance. She was extremely depressed and could not shake it this time. On June 11, 2003, she left this earth and I think is now happy in Heaven smiling down on her sweet Libby.
Why Ladybug? My mother began calling her that when she was a baby. When you see a ladybug, please smile for Neecey or, better yet, laugh out loud!
Those of us who knew her do not remember those dark times but, rather, the good times and there were many. We remember the laugh that she had. It actually hurts my throat when I try to laugh like her. We remember the funny things that she did. We remember the nice things she did for others. We remember the things that got her in trouble (or the things she did that somehow she managed to not get in trouble for). We also remember how stubborn she was and that she could make us so mad that we could scream! But, most of all, I remember looking at that baby girl for the first time and feeling a love that I never felt again except after the birth of my second, Lauri.