Thirteen years and 24 hours ago I set off on a journey that quite literally saved my life. I was 7 ½ months pregnant and headed out of town for what I thought would be my last weekend to relax for a while. I had already been to the hospital for Braxton Hicks contractions so when they started again I didn’t really give it much thought. My Mom and I had just moved with our two dogs into a hotel because our house sold quicker than expected and our new one wasn’t finished being built yet. But it was no problem because my baby wasn’t due until more than half way through August and we would be in our new house by July 21st; THEY PROMISED US! No worries.
So when, an hour into the trip to Wisconsin, my Mom noticed that my “Braxton Hicks" contractions were getting closer together I said, “don’t worry about it”, she had the good sense to call her sister who knows more than both of us put together who said maybe we should turn around and go back to the hospital just to be safe. So we did and, as it turns out, I was having a baby. My best friend, Shawna was supposed to coach my birth along with my mom and she was 15 hours away in South Dakota. I had no intention of giving birth without her. There were no flights left out of Rapid to Chicago for the night so she booked the last seat on the last plane out of Sioux Falls and drove six hours to get there (THAT is a best friend).
I hadn’t made any hard or fast decisions about if I was going to use drugs or not, I knew I didn’t want an epidural (side note, if you ever DO want to have an epidural do NOT watch them administer one incorrectly to your best friend, it will turn you off of them forever and who knows…someday you may become pregnant with twins and they will MAKE you have one), I was doing just fine and then at about 1am I sort of got stuck at 5cm where I stayed for the next 7 hours in hard labor and I decided that a little shot of Nubain wasn’t going to kill me. In fact, were I going to pick a prescription medication to abuse, Nubain would be it; it’s lovely.
Between 9am and 9:30am I went from 5cm to 10cm. Put that in your pipe and smoke it; my cervix exploded 5 cm in 30 minutes. While I was arriving at 10cm, Shawna was arriving at O’Hare. My friend Jill was there to pick her up and when my son was born at 9:59 am, July 12, 1997, at Hinsdale Hospital, Shawna was in the room catching him. She was the first person to lay eyes on him. And if anyone thinks it’s weird to have your Mom in the room when you give birth, it’s not, if ever there is a time you need your Mom it is when an actual human-person is clawing their way out of your body.
I can tell you this because Aidan already knows. My honest to God very first thought upon birthing him was, “Oh My God, I did all this work and I got a boy”. It never occured to me that I might have a boy. Seriously, I was sad for a minute, and then I held him. Well, then I nearly bled to death and THEN I held him and I was hooked. I don’t even like babies but I really liked him.
Before I had Aidan I was really wild, I was working 40 hours a week at my regular job and bartending 20 hours a week and doing a lot of partying and dating a lot of inappropriate men in my free time. When I got pregnant with Aidan I was dating an idiot and using two different kinds of birth control; I figured it must be a sign from God so I straightened up and became a mom instead of a partier.
It’s not a glamorous job; the pay sucks, the hours are long, you’re constantly on call, but the benefits are excellent. You get to watch as someone learns how to eat, how to crawl, how to walk, how to speak, how to love. You will be the recipient of more love than you know what to do with, but you will learn. Your heart will put the Grinch’s to shame; it will grow 52 sizes. You will make mistakes and trip and fall and you will get up again and try harder. So will they. You will wake up one day and be the mother of a teenager and many days they will throw all of that love back in your face; but it’s okay, that’s how they learn that you love them no matter what.
This story is really more about my journey than Aidan’s; tomorrow I will post my birthday letter to him. What I will say about Aidan today though is this; if I could go back and pick any child, any gender, any color, any personality, I would pick you. If nothing about you changed from this day forward; if you never learned how to do your own laundry or pick up your shoes, if you always (on occasion) chewed with your mouth open, I would still pick you. Thank you for helping me turn my life around. I think you are the funniest, sweetest, brightest boy on the planet and every day I think how lucky I am that I got a boy. like. you.