It has always amazed me how time can pass with almost no notice. One day it’s 4 am and you’re pacing in a hospital room, your engorged belly hard as a bowling ball, and your Daddy getting a first rate view of your naked heinie. And as a contraction attempts to split you into two… you don’t care. For ten hours, I didn’t care that my nekkid butt was sticking out the back of a hospital gown, mooning my Dad. All I cared about was getting the little alien inside me… Out… preferably through the orifice already present and not one created by a scalpel. That had happened the first time. I was determined, though, and was sure my sheer tenacity would make things progress the way they’re supposed to. Ten hours of hard labor, mostly in my back, and then I heard those fated words… only 2 centimeters dilated. Just like last time. It wasn’t a surprise. I told the Doc… “Just take him. Just cut me open and get him.” In the back of my mind, I knew it would be that way. My Mom had four C-Sections. My sister had one with her daughter. And I’d already had one with our first son.

The last time, it had been a crazy emergency. The epidural worked its way loose in my back, spilling those lovely drugs where they shouldn’t be. They tried to get it back in but after 7 attempts, they gave up and gave me a spinal instead. I was upset, distressed that my baby was in trouble. The spinal took too high and I couldn’t feel my lungs filling with air. I was sure I couldn’t breathe. The last words I heard were, “She’s hyperventilating… give her a General.” Three separate and distinct anesthesia’s and I missed my first child’s entrance completely. My husband was kicked out of the room just as he walked in the door. It was mad chaos. But everything turned out okay in the end. Everyone was safe.

The second time, I was prepared. I knew the possibilities ahead of time. The probabilities. I was awake and curious as to why they were strapping my arms down. I felt the odd sensation of pushing and pulling from within me. Some small part of me really wanted to peek over the blue curtain they had in front of my face. I asked my husband what they looked like, my insides… how much could he see? After all, he was seeing more of me than he probably ever imagined possible. I think it takes a brave man to stomach that. No pun intended.

In the previous nine months, the only things I’d really had to complain about were his toes and fingers. He pushed them against my skin constantly, hard enough to leave little pea-sized patterns of bruises. In reaction, I could be found using a bag of frozen peas (pun certainly intended) to counteract the pushing. He sure didn’t like those cold peas on my belly. About as much as I liked those bruises.

I heard his first breath, his first cry at 7:15 a.m. – Friday the 13th, a full moon, the day before Valentine’s Day. I was able to lay eyes on him a few seconds later, still covered in a bit of gook. And then I was able to smell my own cooking flesh as they seared off some of the old scar tissue and started pulling me back together. It’s a smell I won’t soon forget. But sometimes… Sometimes, I miss those little pea-sized bruises.

From the moment he came out, he looked like a carbon copy of my Dad. He sported a shock of unruly dark hair, full of whorls and cowlicks. It has since lightened to a golden brown with random highlights of auburn, blonde, and dark brown. Sable hair. A bit like mine but a little darker. And wild as all get out… like his grandpa’s. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. He will forever look like he just walked out of a wind tunnel. He has his grandpa’s bottom lip too. It’s a genetic thing, that pouty bottom lip. We all have it, the entire family on my Dad’s side. From just a few weeks old, he began using it, as successfully as the rest of us, to get his own way in everything.

As the years go by, it’s almost scary seeing how much he resembles my Dad. It’s like having given birth to a doppelganger. But it fills my heart with a special tenderness, also. My Dad and I didn’t always get along as well as we do now. There were some years… well, they were bad. Now, I find having a child who’s so like him to be a blessing – one I hold onto with all my heart. Except maybe when he demonstrates that he also has his Grandpa’s temper. [grin]

He was a boob man from the first moment. Even now, when he cuddles, he likes to be right in the boobies. His future wife should be prepared. He also cuddles like no one else I know and I love that about him. Nothing is more important than a cuddle or a hug… especially when he’s in trouble. He thinks that hugs and cuddles will fix anything and everything. He’s usually right.

His smile lights up a room. He can make anyone smile, no matter what the problem. His wit is razor sharp… Already… as is his grasp on sarcasm. And he talks like there is no tomorrow. He takes after me in those ways. He has his Dad’s sense of making everything okay for everyone. He takes what he believes to be his responsibilities very serious. I have no doubts that he’ll grow up to be a wonderful man. He’s empathetic, almost to a fault, much like his brother. He cries any time he sees someone being mishandled… whether it be a friend, a stranger, or an animal.

He made me age ten years in a single afternoon when, once, he disappeared. His Grandpa called to say one minute he’d been there and the next he was gone. I tried not to get hysterical as we sped home to look for him. By the time we got there, the police had arrived and were checking the pond and the woods surrounding our houses. Ten minutes later, after the battle with being calm had been stomped into the ground and I was embracing hysterics - and as the police were ready to put out an Amber alert - he walked out the back door of his grandparents' home. The police were dumbstruck. They’d searched both houses, entirely, even the clothes hampers. He’d been hiding beneath the couch, watching/listening as the police searched for him – scared that he was going to be in trouble if he came out. That happened a few years ago and I still have problems with him being out of my sight. We have stranger talks weekly. My heart contracts painfully at the thought of those mothers whose children didn’t walk out the back door.

Time has passed so quickly. Too quickly. It feels like just yesterday, I was anticipating his arrival. And now, in a few hours time, my baby boy will turn 8 years old.

Happy Birthday, Doodlebug. Don’t grow up too quickly. There’s still a lot of cuddling to be done.
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