The moment I walked into the hospital with all of the nurses and their smiling faces asking multiple times “are you ready to have this baby?” after spending day after day past your due date, I laughed a little and said “it’s about time.” I read all the books, attended all the classes, and spent endless hours in WebMD message boards asking everything from “is it normal to feel like he’s falling out” to “what kind of diapers are you using?”. However the minute those doors to the maternity hall opened I lost the confidence I once had. How was I going to remember when to push? How would I know when he needs to be changed? What if he’s hungry and I don’t hear him crying?
I was 21 years old and your dad and I had done a lot of growing up over the previous 9 months. I didn’t expect you so soon in my life and I had a roller coaster of emotions for 9 months (partly due to hormones I’m sure): terror, excitement, happiness, love, pain, worry… everything a new mom could feel I was feeling. At that time, I wasn’t even convinced I was the mothering type, but as the remaining months turned into weeks and then into days, I felt ready.
No one prepares you for complications in the classes or in the books. Maybe they talked about it, but I didn’t think that it would ever happen to us so maybe I skimmed over those parts. Everything that day went into slow motion the minute that alarms began sounding and I had the oxygen mask over my face. I remember thinking (actually probably screaming out in tears) why is this happening? What is going to happen to my baby boy? He’s supposed to come home with us, not be rushed to a different hospital. The cord was wrapped around your neck pretty tightly and we were running out of time to get you out. The Dr. told me I had one more chance to push and if we weren’t successful we would be rushed to the OR for surgery. I wanted to hold you and love you and tell you that you were going to be all right, so I pushed with everything that I had left and there you were. Not yet stable, but you were there. And you were beautiful. The remaining days in the hospital were closely watched but you were perfect. You were our angel and you were safe. Then it was time to go home.
It’s still a mystery to me how mothers and fathers can walk into a hospital without a child, without a clue, and they just let you walk on out 2 days later with a human. There should be someone in the home for at least 1 month (okay maybe 2) and then give a thumbs up on life with a newborn. But, we don’t get that. We just get sent home with this infant that needs to be held properly so his head doesn’t fall, and he has to sleep on his back so he does suffocate, and he needs to be fed every 3 hours, and if he doesn’t go to the bathroom regularly…. Like what? How am I ever going to remember all of this? I thought the idea of becoming a mother was terrifying, but it doesn’t even compare to actually having to act it out.
All of the painful healing process of labor and the breast feeding and, oh remember when you were warned about mastitis but clearly you forgot and just suffered for a few days before getting checked? (no? Just me. Okay cool! #Oops) Through all of that there is this life. This life that changes every single day. The up all night feedings watching MTV (they actually played videos after 2 am) and watching you sleep your swing. The first time you had peas and you were so not impressed. When we can’t help but feed you spaghetti or mac n cheese just to bathe you immediately following. The first steps. The first words. The multiple ER trips because every year when dad was ready to leave for camp you felt it necessary to fall into a wall gashing your face open. (Your dad never did get the hint to stay home #wink). I always wondered when you were younger, watching you, what you were going to be like. Would you be into art or reading? Would you follow along with dad hunting or get upset at the thought of killing something? Would you know all of the presidents in order? Or what kind of struggles would we go through together? How would I be able to mend a broken heart for you? Would you still love me when you’re a “tween”?
Today you are 10 (and by the time you’re 11 you’re going to be taller than me) and I still don’t know if I’m doing it right. I still work on giving you a better life. I still question every move I make or word I say to you (sometimes maybe I should think before I say it). But what I do know, with all of my heart & soul, is that you are amazing and you find some way to remind me of that every single day. You may be 10 years old today, but you are still my baby boy. You are the tiny human that someone let us take home to create a life for. You make me so proud when you watch over your sister. You are the sweetest when you come to me for no reason at all and give me a kiss on the cheek. You are far smarter than I could have ever imagined that you would be. You can be strong willed like your mom, yet I see the reserved and careful sides of your dad.
Thankfully you still let me slide on not letting you grow up too quickly (meaning you will not have the iPhone that you think you’re getting today), so it’ll hopefully be awhile before you ever read this. But when that time does come, I want you to know I love you, my first-born. I may not have it all right all the time, but I think we’ve done a little better than okay together.
Happy Birthday My Son. ~ XOXO Mom.