Two years ago today, I gave birth to you, Luke.
It all started the night before, when, 9 months pregnant, I sat at book club and could not get comfortable. I couldn’t wait to go home and go to bed. When I finally made it to bed, I feel fast asleep, only to be woken an hour later with cramps.
I thought I had eaten too much.
An hour later and I realized that the cramps–fairly mild–were coming at 8 minute intervals. You would have thought that I would have immediately known this was labor; however, I just really thought I had eaten too much and was just uncomfortable.
I did not sleep, and at 5:30 a.m. got out of bed and cleaned the house. I made Maddie breakfast and took her to school. Then I called your aunt.
“I think I may be in labor,” I said.
“Shut up! I’m coming right over,” she said.
She came over and insisted I was in labor; my contractions were 5 minutes apart. The pain was completely managable, so I we went and got pedicures, ate sandwiches at a deli, and then she left to pick up Braden from school.
I took the dog on a walk. I had to stop every few minutes because the pain was getting more and more intense. I called Nona and asked her to pick up Maddie from school.
I dragged out the sewing machine and decided I needed to finish sewing the comforter I had begun making a few days before. My best friend and labor partner Denise left work to come hang out. By the time Maddie came home from school, I was doing yoga poses to help ease the pain.
Denise and Nona insited that I go to the hospital. But the pain, while bad, wasn’t really that bad.
Because I was induced with Maddie and every one of her contractions felt like I was being slashed open with a knife, I was fairly confident I was still in early labor and was just being a baby.
At 4 p.m. I decided it was time to go, though I didn’t even pack a bag because I was convinced I was at 1 cm. and would be sent home.
I was wrong. By the time the nurses checked me, I was at 5 cm. They wouldn’t let me go home.
Denise called your aunt and told her to come to the hospital and pick up season 4 of Lost for me–I really wanted to watch those last few episodes.
Half an hour later, Denise called Auntie Jen to tell her I was at 7cm and to skip the videos.
Soon I was at 8.5cm and the anesthesiologist had arrived. Did I want an epidural? To be honest, the pain was manageable–though I couldn’t talk through my contractions anymore, I was still smiling. But I wasn’t sure how much longer this would last. How bad would it get? I took the epidural, which hurt. Worse than the contractions.
Then there were a few complications, though all was fine if my bed stayed elevated at my feet. Which meant my back and arms got numb, but not really my abdomen. I still felt those contractions, though not for long.
By 8p.m. I was pushing. With Maddie I pushed for 2 hours and they finally had to vacuum her out. With you, the doctor told me to slow down pushing. No problem. We waited. I pushed. The doctor exclaimed, “It’s a boy.”
Luke, you came out into this world with a few pushes, smiles all around, and a shocked mom.
Shocked? Yes, in retrospect, dear Luke, I was not ready for your arrival. You came one day early. And though I had everything ready–your crib, clothes, diapers–I was not mentally prepared for you to enter my world.
My life was complicated at the time. I was divorcing your dad, all alone, and Maddie and I had been doing just fine by ourselves. I was not prepared to have to call your dad to tell him to come to the hospital; I didn’t want to see him at all, and now I knew I was going to see him often for the rest of your life.
I spent that night in the hospital, all alone, nursing you and talking to you. I told you my life felt out of place for the moment, and that there were going to be some difficult times ahead. But I promised you I was a good mom, a great mom at times even. I promised you love always, as much fun as possible, and an amazing sister.
And now, two years later, I can say with full confidence that life has been pretty difficult at times and that I have been a devoted and pretty amazing mom, but that you have made my life so, so, so much better in every way imaginable.
I am so thankful for you Luke; Life is easy when I look into your huge, blue eyes, and you make every day brighter andmore full of love than the next.
Happy, happy birthday. It was fun to celebrate your birthday today with Auntie Jen & Uncle Jon, Cate, Braden, Maddie, and Aunt Debbie and David. You loved the Cookie Monster cupcakes Auntie Jen made and the Elmo radio you received.
One more thing, Luke. You were born on my grandma’s (your great-grandma) birthday, who died a few years before you were born. I wish, so much, that she could have met you. She was an amazing grandma and took such good care of me when I was young and offered great advice and comfort when I was older. I miss her so much. It bring me great solace, though, to know that you have her family values, of that I’m certain. You love family more than anything (even Elmo) and you cuddle just like she did. I know she is connected to you somehow.