Seventeen years ago, I was scared. I felt so alone.
My life, on that very night was about to take a turn that I could never, ever change.
Life as I knew it, was over.
Seventeen years ago, on the eve of today, I cried myself to sleep.
The next day, I was to become a mother. My first son was to be born. Man, was I scared. I remember pacing around my room. Folding clothes, placing them in the dresser. Then refolding them. People call it nesting, I called it freaking out.
Four days prior to this moment, I was told the baby was breach. The next day, I went back to the hospital, they were going to move him manually.
Yes, manually. Yeah....it's as fun as it sounds.
They began the procedure, by pushing on my belly. "This baby wasnt budging." a nurse said as she pushed with all her might on my swollen body.
A specialist entered the room, examined me(which at 34 weeks is no pleasure walk in the park), and then the ultrasound. The baby was stuck. The head under my rib cage, the feet, legs in a sitting position. And, there was not enough fluid to attempt the procedure again. They would push,the baby could move right back, the cord could be collapsed and then the rest of what the Doc said just blurred. The last thing I remember was, "Considering the kidney issues(mine), the baby in breach, you will have to come in on Monday for a C-section". Dazed, I could only say, "O.K."
Monday came, I was awake during the whole surgery. That was a trip in itself. My mother came in the operating room with me. Well to make a long story short, we had no idea if the baby was boy or girl. Twenty minutes into the surgery the Doc asked what names I had picked out. I replied Haley or Paul. Then he popped this little tiny baby with mounds of hair over the blue surgical barrier, and there he was, Paul Michael. I will never forget that moment. Nothing at that very second mattered. Not the burning in my back from the epidural, not the fact that my face felt like it was going to explode from being tilted. His eyes were wide, his lungs were strong. I was strapped down still unable to hold him, to feel him, Gramma had the honors. God he was beautiful! I remember weeping. After that I don't remember much. The pain medication kicked in pretty quick. lol... wooo hooo loopy yes I was.
Then the news came. He had to stay in the nursery. He was tiny, just 5 pounds. He was 6 weeks early. Then more news came. There something wrong with his heart. He needed to see a specialist. They scheduled an appointment with the top pediatric cardiologist in the state, for the day we left the hospital. They assured me, it was just a mur mur, and common in babies born early.
They were wrong. That day is a blur as well. I remember standing in a dark room with my precious son, staring at a screen. On this screen was a color image of his heart. Dr. Diana was pointing out the hole in his heart. The nurse had to catch me as my knees gave way. I cried all the way home.
They avoided surgery and monitored how he was doing, at 8 weeks old he was back in the hospital. He had turned blue, I rushed him to the ER. We spent the next 2 weeks in the hospital. This child had tubes everywhere, needles probing him, and he had to stay in a tent. He was only allowed to be out of it a total of an hour a day. Devastating. But again, he pulled through. By the time he was 5, he got the all clear. The muscle had grown over/around the hole. That had to be the most joyous day.
Today, he is known here, as the Teen, Cave Dweller, Rocker. Yes the rebel gum chewer. He turns 17 today. I turn with him.
Bless this child...my precious precious son. To see him now as he towers over me.(Although he knows I can still take him out. I know he is reading this,hi Paulie)To watch silly movies or even deep serious film, and discuss the topics. To see a comedian and burn the punch lines for the next month or two. He gets Monty Python(need I say more?). To sit and chat with him, there are moments when I get lost in his eyes. Those dark chocolate eyes, I am transported back to that day when I first looked into them. Like a short film, all the moments of this little man deluge my brain. From day one to the present.
At 17, I feel pangs of my growing as well, and yet I am satisfied, comforted in knowing what kind of human being he truly is in his heart. His talents are incredible from his music to his writing. I am in awe and I am jealous, his thoughts and his style of writing blow me away. My pride wells, that he is my son. That he is who he is.
His fortitude, his common sense, his outlook on life and his own future.
His future. There was a time when I had thought that was limited. Yet he fought, and he survived, from day one.
I will never forget that day. The day I became someone's mother. The day I became Paul's mother.
Happy Birthday Paul! 143