Seventeen years ago on Thursday I went into labor. A week early.
This year we are celebrating the birth of my eldest son almost a week early again. Because I'll be gone on the momentous occasion. But it's kind of the kid's own fault. If he hadn't been so anxious to get here all those years ago, he'd have been born on Pearl Harbor day instead, and I'd totally be here for that.
But no. The little dude was so excited to bust into this world that he had to arrive ahead of schedule. And bless his fuzzy little head–which seriously looked like he was wearing a toupée–he hit the ground running, and had kind of a lousy first month. That's why I'm getting him an über-cool present this year. I figure it's time to make up for the stress.
So. Seventeen years ago this Thursday:
I was in my kitchen overlooking a gorgeous valley, doing the dishes while my three year-old daughter danced around between my feet. I splashed suds and wondered why my nesting instinct hadn't kicked in yet. Maybe it only did that with first children.
I seriously had none of that going on this time. I wasn't anywhere near being ready for this little baby. I mean I had his room set up and some adorable little boy clothes hanging in the closet. I had a name picked out. But I still had baby-buggy-loads of testosterone slamming through my body in preparation for the little tyke. I had read that that's what happens when you make boys. Your body creates the testosterone. And let me tell you, I WOULD run over you in the parking lot if you got in my way.
I figured all of that would calm down and I'd start decorating and cleaning things before this boy thought about arriving. But I only had a week, and nothing much had changed. Probably he was going to be late. I mean, my daughter had been late (still is, bless her), why not this guy?
So, I scrubbed and sudsed and washed and dried and OW! Jeesh. What was that? OW-W! Man. I must have eaten something funny. Serious pain was stabbing my stomach-tal area. Actually, slightly lower than that. Huh. What had I eaten for lunch?
I knew it wasn't labor. My daughter's birth had started slowwwwwly. In fact so slowly that I wondered if my labor was going to be pain-free. A question my doctor answered by saying, patiently and without cracking the slightest smile into the phone, "Um, no, Mrs. Miller. Labor almost always hurts." No way in heck was it labor this time though. I mean, this was beyond painful.
Plus it was sudden. First time around I had laughed when I thought about women in movies going on their merry way then suddenly grabbing their bellies and screaming "THE BABY'S COMING!" Labor so wasn't like that. It didn't just slam into youuuuuOWWWWWW! Man! This really HURT. Maybe I should call my husband.
So I did. I rang Bruce up and told him not to worry, I wasn't in labor, I was in food poisoning. I was just going to shower and see how it went. He was quiet then told me that maybe I should call my OBGyn. I snorted and told him I was a week early and I'd done this before and I THINK I know what having a baby feels like. Then he did something brilliant. He said,
"I know. You're probably right. But you know? I'm just a guy and I get nervous about these things. Would you call him and let him know just in case? To put my mind at ease?"
Eh. Why not? I mean, that's a reasonable request. So I said I would, then hit the shower. I remember clutching the soap dish, bending over, and breathing in sort of a Lamaze -like fashion in order to deal with my food-poisoning-induced lower abdominal pain and near inability to stand up. Good heavens! You eat one little peanut butter and mayo sandwich, you pay for it through the gut!
Well, I finally got myself out the door and to the doctor's office–which happened to be right across the street from the hospital. I rolled my eyes over my husband's worry the whole way there. Then I was ushered right into my doctor's office. I had called ahead and told them that I wasn't in labor but my husband wanted to be sure. They said they'd see me. Just to make him feel better.
So, I went in, told the doctor once again that I wasn't in labor–after he helped me uncurl from the fetal position, then had the exam. I remember the doctor looking calmly at me after he was done and saying, "You're right. You didn't need to come here."
"I knew it," I said.
Then he grinned, "Naw, you need to go STRAIGHT TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE YOU'RE FULLY EFFACED AND DILATED TO AN 8.5. ALMOST 9."
"Are you sure?" I mean, seriously? It was just a little food poisoning.
"Well, no. I mean we could always keep you here and let my nurse deliver your son."
"ACK! Never mind! I'll meet you over there."
"That seems like a good idea. Can you drive?"
"Oh. Right. I'm on my way."
So, I called my hub during the minute it took me to change parking lots, and he got there just in time to almost catch our son. The boy had been facing the wrong way and did a little damage on the way out. But he was so happy to be there he baptized me with his little sprinkler system as soon as the doctor had him in hand.
And he was gorgeous. Donald Trump-hair and all.
The hospital sent him home in a Christmas stocking. He went back the next day with breathing issues, and spent a month dealing with that, thrush, jaundice, and a rather annoyed circumcision. But, that little dude brought a bucketload of sunshine with him and it still hangs around him most days.
So, all in all, I'm pretty happy it wasn't food poisoning.
Happy Early Birthday, boy!
Wasn't he purty?