The story of your birth actually begins 11 months before it happened. Your dad and I, we really really wanted a baby. It took us a long time to get pregnant and when we finally did Daddy was so excited that he literally ran to the church to tell our friend Amie. We were in shock and so very happy. About a week later we miscarried, which is a word that adults use to make the death of a child sound easier. We mourned. A lot. I didn’t know if we could ever have another child. My mind couldn’t even begin to imagine you yet, son. We had a lot of healing to do and, fortunately, we were able to turn to God and receive that healing.
When we found out that we were pregnant with you just two months later we were terrified and happy and nervous and confused. I was afraid to acknowledge that you were a real somebody growing in there. It didn’t take me long to love you, though, you have always been special and loveable. People told me when I was pregnant that they already had a sense of who you would be. Adventurous and loving – I just couldn’t wait to meet you.
While you were still growing your Dad and I decided to give birth to you at home. I was scared but I knew that I knew that I knew that this was the right way for you to be born. I have never researched, studied or retained so much information in my life. It was very fun to be pregnant with you. I got VERY LARGE and this made people want to touch me and talk to me all the time. You have my personality and love of people, so you know that I enjoyed this. The people who work at our Target made bets on how big you would be. (They all underguessed.) Friends made bets on how late you would be. (They all underguessed, too.) People prayed for you and for your safe delivery into the world.
You were due on October 1st of 2009, but that day came and went without much hope for your arrival. I knew how late you would be. I tried to reassure the people who loved you and me that it was okay that you were “late.” Some people believed me that it was okay, and some people panicked. I hope that by the time you can read this I will be known for my patience, but let me tell you son, as of this moment I am sorely lacking in that area. I changed the voicemail on my cell phone to say “Hi, this is Meghan. Jack is not here yet. If you want to leave me a message about Jack, please hang up instead. I promise you will know when he comes. Thanks, bye!” I couldn’t handle the pressure anymore.
When I got to be 14 days overdue your Aunt Jordan came to stay with us. She really wanted to be there when I gave birth to you and she lived over 2 hours away. She is a doula which is a fancy word for someone who takes care of everything and knows everything about babies. She pulled out all of her doula tricks to try to get me to go into labor. We tried acupuncture (ouch!), acupressure (nice), visualization (boring), spicy foods (Ay-yi-yi!), natural herbs (nothing), red raspberry tea (nice, but it needed sugar), evening primrose oil (messy and gross), and many more things. NOTHING was working. Finally, at 17 days overdue I got a little desperate and I took castor oil. It didn’t have much effect on me because I accidentally took a pretty small dose. Disappointed, I realized that you were never going to be born and that I was going to be pregnant for the rest of my life.
At 18 days overdue I took a long nap. I woke up and we went to dinner at a mexican restaurant where I decided to spare myself the heartburn of spicy foods and just order what I like – a bean and cheese burrito on rice. We came home at 8:30. At 9pm I was preparing to try castor oil again, except this time I was going for broke and taking a whole bunch. I poured it into a thick glass of juice and said a quick prayer out loud: “God, if I don’t have to take this stuff to get Jack out then please let me know.” I lifted the glass and then set it back down – hard – BAM! The first contraction hit me and I had to double over. That’s God for you, son. He answers prayers. I told Daddy to go to bed incase this was false labor (He had to wake up at 4 am for work) and then Aunt Jordan and I started to time the contractions. The were 9-10 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute.
I started to worry that the midwife or Jordan or Daddy would get hungry while I labored with you so I decided to make some banana bread and chilli. While they were cooking I tried to crochet (I’m really bad at it) and I watched this super cheesy movie called Blades of Glory. By the time the banana bread was done I knew this was for real labor. I called Daddy’s boss to let her know that this was showtime and then crawled into bed next to Daddy to see if I could rest at all before it was too late. That made the contractions even harder, though, and after 10 minutes I was up and pacing. I asked Jordan to call our midwife around 4 am and we also woke Daddy up around then. I started getting irritated and edgy. Daddy’s alarm went off and I said a bad word. Twice. I was quick to apologize though, and as I am sure you know by now, your father is very gracious.
Your Grammy had a 30 hour labor with Uncle Jimmy and I was expecting to labor that long with you. After 10 hours, at about 7 am, I apologized to midwife and let her know how wrong I was about home birth. I told her I needed and epidural because I was too tired to keep doing this for another 20 hours. Do you know what everyone did when I said that? They laughed, Jack! Can you imagine? Apparently they did not think that I would be in labor for another 20 hours. Our midwife checked and said that I was 9 centimeters and 100% effaced. Within minutes I felt I needed to push. This took a while. You were a pretty big guy and if I had been rushed during this process I could have gotten pretty hurt. We took our time. It was team work and it was awesome. (I did not think it was awesome at the time, though.)
During this time, I made a couple of jokes, surprising even myself. It felt good to make these people who loved us and were so focused laugh. After 2.5 hours of pushing you were in my arms, buddy. I swore that you were tiny even as I heard your Aunt Jordan saying “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I have never in my life seen a baby that big! He’s huge!” You were prefect. Covered in dark hair and very content to be in my arms. You weighed 11 lbs and 6 ounces. You were 23 and 1/2 inches long. I couldn’t believe that you were here. Your Dad sobbed and said “Meghan, he’s here. He’s so perfect. Look what you’ve done, Meghan, you’ve done so well.” My heart swelled at his praise and your perfection. You were born on October 20, 2009 – 19 days overdue and worth every single agonizing moment.
Son, the moment I met you I knew that you were different and that you were special. You’re my guy and I love you. Happy birthday.