As most Americans know, today is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. It’s hard to believe that it happened ten years ago….for many, it seems like it all happened yesterday. Most people can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, and how their lives changed at that moment. I am no exception to this…I can tell you exactly what I was doing and where I was for that entire day, but for very different reasons.

The morning of September 11, 2001 looked like just any other day when I woke up to get the kids ready for school. The day was bright and sunny, but there was a bit of an autumnal nip in the New England air, just to remind everyone that winter was just around the corner. Typically, I would be lamenting this realisation, but this particular morning, my mind was on something completely different, and it was not airplanes and terrorist attacks. You see, when I awoke that fateful morning, and got the kids off to school, I was also getting myself ready to have a baby. I was already overdue…about a week and a half, in fact…and my contractions were close enough together to know that this was the day. I got Mr Izz going, telling him that we needed to get to the birthing centre, procured the babysitter for the little ones who were not in school yet, and then called my friend, Karen, to tell her I was *finally* in labour. I told her that we were going into Keene and that I’d call her when it was all said and done, and then she told me that some plane had flown into the World Trade Center in NYC. She thought it was a Cessna at that point, so I asked if the pilot had been intoxicated or whatever. She had no idea, so I shrugged and didn’t think much about it as I drove over to our neighbours’ house to let them know we’d taken their daughter out of school to babysit the kids, and that we were on our way to the birthing centre. It was then we found out that it was an airliner that crashed, and another one had crashed since. I was in shock, but no one knew anything at this point, so while I was concerned about what was going on, I had more pressing things to deal with….my contractions were getting closer together, and it was almost a 30 minute drive into Keene.

We arrived at the birthing centre, talked to the midwife, who checked to see my progression, and it was decided that I should walk for a while to get things going…I had been in and out of labour for a couple of weeks, but it always seemed to peter out at the last minute. This seemed to be no exception, for when I arrived at the birthing centre, my contractions had almost stopped. So, we walked. I must have walked a couple of miles, if not more, that day…we first walked through a huge cemetery where I saw a white crane. It was a beautiful site…and actually seems a bit prophetic now when looking at it with all that was going on around us. At this point, we were still completely oblivious to the attacks, for we did not have a radio or television nearby. We were just walking, waiting for our wee one to decide to make his or her appearance.

We walked for hours, all over downtown, and there did seem to be an anxious air which seemed prevalent. There were very few people walking around, and those that were seemed to be very disturbed. At one point, we did walk into a shop which had a television on. There seemed to be something huge going on….the scene on the television screen was one of chaos and fear, but I couldn’t determine where it was or what was going on. And a rather huge contraction determined that I needed to get moving. But this time, it was around 2pm. I had been walking around since a bit after 9am.

The last stop we made in town was the local Catholic church…they were having a Holy Hour, and we thought that it would be a good place to sit and rest, not to mention say some prayers that things would be alright. And yet we still didn’t know how not right things were in the world.

As we sat in the church, my contractions started to pick up, and we had a rather long walk back to the birthing centre, so we left. I remember having to stop in the middle of a crosswalk because I was having a huge contraction, and making the crossing guard stop traffic for me because of it. It was after 3pm when we finally arrived at the birthing centre. The midwife got there shortly after, and she told us a bit about what was going on. For the first time that day, we heard what was going on. And for the first time that day, a wave of concern for something other than my own plight went through me. I had no idea of the horrific nature of the events in NYC until that moment…and here I was bringing life into a world such as this.

I won’t get into major details about the birth of my 8th child, but I will say that my Victoria Marie was born at 4:59pm….soon after the Twin Towers fell, from what I understand. The reason why my labour seemed to start and stop was because she was breech…she was born feet first. I’d like to think that means something about her character, and perhaps how it might pertain to the circumstances which surrounded her birth.

So many people lost so much on September 11, 2001. Many lost loved ones, but those that watched as the events unfolded also lost a certain amount of innocence and hope as it all happened. I have never watched it, for I couldn’t. I needed to keep that hope in my heart, for the sake of my children.

I have often wondered why Victoria was born on that day…if you can attribute a “why” to such things. I think, in a way, she was hope, in the form of a tiny baby. Hope that life can, and will still go on. Hope that despite how bad things were at that moment, we will rise above it. And hope that peace can and will happen one day. I know, as I looked into my baby’s eyes after I understood at that had transpired on that day, I saw hope. And love.

My Victoria is ten years old today. She is well aware of what happened on the day she was born, and while there is always a certain air of melancholy which surrounds the day, we’ve always made it a happy day here at Casa Izz. Life did go on, and while those things lost will never be gotten back…and my heart breaks to this day for those who lost loved ones…I still see hope and love when I look at Victoria. Her life, in the middle of devastation, gives us that hope…that despite all we have lost, there is still so much to gain.

Happy birthday, Victoria Marie. I love you.

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