Today is Nathan’s 9th birthday. We surprised him with tickets to tonight’s Cubs game, so he’s at Wrigley with his dad. I was so excited to get him the tickets, I knew they’d have a blast, but now I’m selfishly kind of sad to not get to spend his birthday with him. It got me thinking about the first time we were ever apart. But, there’s the whole story of him being born that comes before that.
After several years of trying and fertility treatments, I finally found myself pregnant in the summer of 2006. I had an uneventful and lovely pregnancy. It was easy by all accounts. No morning sickness, no drama. Other than the insane level of monitoring because of all I’d gone through previously, it was a breeze. A total dream. And I absolutely loved being pregnant. I loved that we did everything together. No one in the world knew my baby yet, but I got to spend every moment with him or her (after so many long months of plotting and planning every fine detail of getting pregnant, we wanted this surprise). I felt like I had this little secret all to myself. I talked to him at length and told him about all the things we’d do together when he was born. About all the things I was doing throughout the day that he couldn’t yet experience. It was him and I always together. It was awesome.
Nathan was due on April 10. A day which came and went with no signs of his arrival. I actually went to the eye doctor to pickup new glasses that day and enrolled him in daycare. People were slightly horrified to hear I was out in the world ON MY DUE DATE…like I was a ticking time bomb. I was having intermittent contractions on the 11th, so on the 12th, Craig stayed home from work. It was gorgeous out for April, mid 70’s. So we took a long walk around the neighborhood and headed back home to take a nap. I woke up a while later and my water broke….kinda. So, we called the doc who originally told us to come to the office. Halfway there they called us back and said to go to the hospital instead.
If my pregnancy was a dream, my labor and delivery were beyond unbelievable. I often think my easy pregnancy and delivery were a gift, after so much heartache leading up to them. A gift I don’t take for granted. We’d narrowed our names down to one for a boy, Nathan, and two for a girl. We just couldn’t decide. So, we made a deal if it was a blonde girl she’d be Gwendolyn (Wendy for short) and if it was a brunette girl, she’d be Charlotte (Lottie for short). During labor the doc said, “I see the head, the baby doesn’t have any hair.” I remember looking at Craig in a panic, this better be a boy, because we didn’t have a no hair name for a girl.
Much of it still feels a blur, but I remember Craig saying “It’s a boy” not holding back the tears, pride filling his voice. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. That moment, when the rest of the world got to meet this sweet boy I’d been hanging out with the past 9 months. The moment he and I got to see each other for the first time. It was everything.
We were able to spend a good bit of time together there in the delivery room. At some point they said it was time to take him to the nursery to get his first bath, and Dad could help. That’s when everyone left the room. Everyone including Nathan. We’d never been apart. I watched them go, sat there helpless in bed and cried. Cried until at some point I fell asleep, exhausted from it all.
As I write this, it’s almost exactly nine years later. I’m once again sad to be away from my boy on his birthday. Wishing I could keep him with me every moment of every day. Grateful I got to do just that for those first 9 months.