A week ago today I went into labor.
It wasn’t the dramatic way Hollywood presents the onset of labor to be. My water didn’t break in the middle of a crowded restaurant sending us whirling into panic mode trying to get everything together as we hailed a taxi for the hospital. Rather, I started experiencing really bad back pain around noon. I was used to feeling back pain with mild cramps that would always ease up within an hour. I thought it was just another round of Braxton Hicks. Bry and I went for a 2 mile walk with Lily and the entire time I kept thinking “this hurts much more than usual”. We walked by the hospital Jackson was born at and I told him again, just as I did every time we’d walked or run past that big building along our trail, “this is where you’re going to be born!” The pain continued and the contractions remained steady. The last 100 feet to the car, I jogged. If it was Braxton Hicks, nothing would happen. If it was real, it might help things progress. The pain strengthened and continued on.
We got home and showered then curled up in bed to watch “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Bry kept asking me how I liked the movie but the entire time I was distracted by counting the lengths of the contractions I continued to feel and focusing on not getting too excited that they might actually be real this time. About 2pm I decided to call the doctor on call of our OB practice. This was the longest I’d had Braxton Hicks and I didn’t know what to do. She told us to go to the ER, and to bring our bags. In an effort not to “jinx” it and to make sure that this was indeed real labor and not just another intense round of Braxton Hicks, I told Bry we’d give it another hour. I waited an hour and a half, just to be sure, and the contractions kept coming.
The rest of the story is in our birth story but I have to include that I’m glad we were sent home after the first attempt at L&D. We got to have a real “last supper”, one last hot shower at home and a little down time cuddled in bed watching “How I Met Your Mother”. Plus, I got to go home and get my chapstick! How I forgot that the first time around I will never know.
Here we are a week later with the most adorable baby boy in the whole wide world. It seems like a world away that we were walking our favorite trail as a family of 2 and at the same time it seems like just yesterday that Jackson entered this world. I can’t remember life without him, what my arms did before they held him or even how my days passed without staring into his bright blue eyes, admiring his many facial expressions and cuddling in the warmth of his little body pressed against my chest. It’s amazing how much life has changed in just a week, how much joy and happiness this little boy has brought into our life and how life finally feels whole, complete with him in it.
I look at his little lips as he purses them and puckers them, meaning he’s ready to eat, and think about how some day those little lips will be kissing girls. I get overwhelmed with emotion thinking of one day, inevitably, someone will break his heart. Someday a dream will come crashing down, a desire won’t be fulfilled, he’ll experience some sort of heartache, some sort of letdown, some sort of sadness. As his mother, I wish I could protect him from all the bad in the world, all the harm that could happen to him and all the pain he could encounter during his life. But I also know that I have to let him forge his own path, whatever that may be, and learn for himself.
Jackson, I want you to know that no matter what I will always love you. No matter how many times you stumble and fall, whatever wrongs you may commit, I will always be here with a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand back up. There is nothing in this world you could do that could ever change how much I love you. You are forever my little boy and I hope that as you figure your way through life, you always follow your heart. That you make your own mistakes and follow your dreams and that if they lead you somewhere other than where you want to be, you change course and change direction but know that it’s OK to sometimes fail. It’s in our failures that we most greatly learn about ourselves and grow as people. I want you to know that no matter what, I love you more than anything in this entire world and I will continue to, forever. I hope that your life will bring you more happiness than you can imagine and I know that you will do amazing things. You have already touched so many lives and brought so much joy to mine.