My son turns 6 tomorrow.
This blows my mind, but I am not here to talk about the endless clichés of getting older and watching your children grow in leaps and bounds, until you are just sitting on the sideline with your mouth hung open like a guppy when he walks down the aisle to a woman who will replace you and you have no idea how you got there.
But, I digress.
On each of my children’s birthdays, I take a few moments alone the night before and think about the past. I go over the memory of their birth, the mind blowing pain and joy of them pushing their way out into the world and into my life. A birthday deserves a bit of time to reflect.
I never wanted children. I took six pregnancy tests when I was pregnant with Jake and denied each and every one of them. I then indulged in a full fledged panic attack in the bathroom and called my girlfriend, who slowly and convincingly explained the six tests could not possibly be wrong.
I hate pain. I get woozy when I walk into hospitals and blood tests make me pass out. So, other than what the heck am I going to do with a baby, the other terrible thought was how this baby was going to arrive. With a lot of pain.
Jake was over a week late so they had me check into the hospital to be induced. Right before I left, I threw up all over the living room rug while my husband tried to keep it together. Frankly, I had never been so terrified of anything in my entire life.
When I got to the hospital and they told me to change into the gown, the nurse came over to check on me and shook her head. Clucking,she said, “Dear, you have to take your underwear off. You can’t birth a baby with your underwear on.” Yes. I was definitely in denial.
The process took 26 hours. I was starving and chewed furiously on ice chips. My husband would stroll in and out of the hospital room and carry in food from the cafeteria. Munching hot dogs and fries and sandwiches, he’d stand by the bed, check the monitor and sigh with a deep patience. At one time, he actually said these words to me:
“So, honey, when do you think we can bang this out?”
My head flew around like the Exorcist. He stepped back looking confused.
“What did you just say to me?”
He back pedaled. “Ugh, I mean, when do you think you’ll be able to push? Ugh, I’m going to get you some more ice chips.”
I swore through gritted teeth as soon as Jake came out I would serve him with divorce papers.
During the swing time of the actual pushing, I was sweating more than a 500 mile marathon and trying not to die. The phone rang, and in between encouraging words like, “You’re doing great honey, keep pushing” my husband answered the phone. Spoke a few words. Then turned and said, “Honey, my parents are locked out of the house and the dogs are going crazy. I guess we gave them the wrong key. What should they do?”
Are you frikkin kidding me?
I glared and sweat and pushed. Then took a deep breath. “I don’t know right now,” I answered. “I’m pushing out the baby you ass hole!!”
Again, he looked startled, murmured a few words and then hung up the phone.
When Jake finally appeared, he was screaming bloody murder when they set him on my belly. All of a sudden, everyone in the room fell silent. Jake stopped crying. Looked at me. Our gazes locked and we knew we had finally met each other. Understanding, connection, a soul merging occurred.
Then we both burst into tears.
Thank Goodness I recovered enough not to call the divorce lawyer. Tomorrow, I get to bake cupcakes and go to Build a Bear and celebrate the passing of another year.
This one’s for you, Jake. Happy Birthday my love.