On New Years Eve, twenty-nine years ago, I entered the hospital pregnant with a baby who had been due on December 24th. Ask me how glad I was that I didn’t have a Christmas Eve or even worse a Christmas Day baby? That certainly wasn’t the plan. I was expecting the little bugger to show up early as opposed to late because I had been put off work early in December of that year having already dilated.
But no matter how hard I tried to induce labour–we’re talking: clean the oven, lug baskets of laundry up two flights of stairs, vacuum carpets, paint walls and prepare for Christmas–that kid didn’t budge. In fact I think he snuggled down further and dozed for days at a time. Proof positive that the kid wasn’t going to be a morning person, thereby taking after his mother. There was no sign that he was ready to go anywhere until early that New Year’s Eve. And even then he wasn’t moving quickly.
Labor is not fun. You won’t find any mother who will tell you otherwise. It’s painful and hard work and every one of those mothers have their own delivery story. In a nutshell my baby had a big head and did not come out easy, and I did not have an epidural. I was so glad to have The Doc in the room with me. That man was my valium. We went through four holiday shifts of obstetricians and nurses. At one point, around six thirty in the evening, a nurse asked me if I wanted to have the hospital’s New Year’s baby, something that could be achieved by giving me a sedative that could slow down the birth. Really! Did she really think that, after being in labor for hours and passing out with exhaustion between contractions, that I would want to delay getting it over with by another five and a half hours for nothing more than our picture in the paper and a free box of goodies. I could not be bribed! By the time JT arrived, his head was badly bruised and so was my bottom. All we wanted to do was sleep.
As it turns out, New Year’s Eve was a wonderful day to have a birthday and it became a big deal in our house because The Doc and I, both introverts, never really went out to celebrate. It became a day for JT and his friends and remained that way up until he moved away about seven years ago. In his younger years, there was always the birthday party; but as he grew older, his friends came for dinner and to spend the night. They played games, (video games and D&D) until they crashed, sometime around five or six in the morning. They were the nicest group of kids and this parent had no concerns about allowing them into our home to pull an all-nighter. Even after they reached drinking age, they often spent New Year’s Eve at our place. And although The Doc and I never really got a good night’s sleep, we enjoyed having them.
These days New Year’s Eve is a quiet affair in our house. Even when JT does manage to make it home for the holidays we no longer go big. Yet every year at this time, I remember all the past birthday celebrations we had together and am so proud of the kind, loyal, sensitive and talented man my son has become. As much as we would like to, The Doc and I can’t take all the credit for this, we have to attribute some of it to the wonderful people he chose to be his friends. These choices speak volumes.
At the risk of embarrassing you, Happy Birthday Jord.
Thank you for reading.
Photo: Jenn Stone