Three years ago today I writhed on a hospital bed with you deep inside. Three weeks early, I went into labor on a Sunday night after watching Caddyshack with your Daddy. Bryan? I whispered around 11pm on April 23rd, 2006, I think I'm having contractions. And he mumbled something in his sleep and held me closer. Bryan? All night long I whispered your father's name (not yet knowing your own). Bryan? At 3am we called the hospital, our bag not packed. I remember bracing myself in the doorway, the way we the air felt cold on my skin when we left the house. I remember thinking that the night was so still, how could it be so still when the world was on the brink of being forever changed? When we got to the hospital I was 8cm dilated. Good job! The nurses said, and I smiled and waited for a gold star that never came, a smiley face on top of my chart. I thought for sure I would be the pregnant lady in the movies who screams at her husband and demands an epidural, but I didn't. I didn't get an epidural; I held your daddy's hand and I pushed and I pushed and there are parts about this I don't remember, not because I am forgetful but because I was not really there. I went somewhere else, somewhere that was just me and you and pain and pushing and this intense pressure splitting me open. Push! and counting to ten, or was it three? (Weeks later your Daddy told me I pooped on the table, something I had been praying I would not do, but I did and I did not know, or care.) Push! I never once looked at my birth plan; the bag of lollipops someone had recommended went unopened. At some point they hooked you up to a fetal heart monitor and the doctor kept rushing in. Your heart rate was dropping each time I pushed and after three hours (3!), they said it was time for an emergency c-section. Don't push! That was the most painful part--waiting in the room while the nurses prepped for surgery. It was so cold in there and I was no longer allowed to push. With each contraction I thought maybe I might die, my body cleaved by something sharp and searing that I could not see. I sat alone on a cold metal table, your Daddy was somewhere else getting scrubs and scared. Then they gave me a spinal tap and I couldn't feel anything from the neck down. I was no longer somewhere else, I was there, splayed on an operating table turning my head to puke into a pink kidney shaped bowl. I was being tugged. Pulled. And then a cry and there you were. I threw up again. Your Daddy cried. 5 lbs., 15 oz. Better than any gold star, my own happy face smiling. Tiny and pink and perfect. You.
2 days old. I cannot imagine that there was a time before you. That the world existed, that I existed, that there was a family before the three of us. How can that possibly be? I think you might have been here all along, in the space between your Daddy and me. In the thin slice of air between our skin when we hug, in the condensation of our breath as we kissed. Ew, I know, right?
It's funny to me that I made you, because more than anything you made me. A mother. Somebody who now smiles at other children, who sees the real beauty in today, who sees tomorrow and the day after and wants the world to be better, who is not afraid to age. There is so much I want to teach you, but I have a feeling it will never be as much as you have taught me. Thank you for this and more, for everything, for feeling things that don't exist in letters, number, symbol or sound, for things I will never understand but am happy nonetheless that they are. My sweet petunia faced girl, princess happy feet, my happy birthday three.