Welcome to the world, son.
Here, we breathe air and eat with our mouths, not tubes attached to our navels. I guess you already figured that out. Would you like to know the story of your birth? It was a great day of days. We laughed, we cried, we saw you buck-naked.
The story of December 16 starts with December 15. Actually, it started nine months before that, but we can save that talk for later. By December first, your mom was ready to cut you out of her belly with a wooden spoon. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy being pregnant with you, it’s just that in the final days of pregnancy it’s hard to get comfortable. She wasn’t sleeping well, her hands and feet were swollen and she felt as though her abdomen might split open with a poorly timed sneeze or flatulence.
So your mom searched the internet, hoping to find a way to coax you out of the womb and into the world as soon as possible. She had been eating spicy food, driving over speed bumps and giving me special hugs, but none of the conventional methods were working. It was like you were clinging to her bottom ribs with your monkey toes. Finally, she came across some advice from a few of her college friends. Three of them told her that they had delivered their babies the day after eating eggplant.
Kris arranged for us to have eggplant parmesan the very next day, December 15. I don’t know if she expected a mysterious tingling or if she thought you would immediately start burrowing south, but nothing actually happened right away. In fact, we left the restaurant and went straight to our appointment at the doctor’s office, where the she checked to see how soon you would be coming. Only an hour after the eggplant, Dr. Steidl said you were still a couple weeks from joining us. Your mom was disappointed.
That night, we had a couple of your aunts and uncles over for a Christmas party. I made my famous red beans and rice and your mom baked a pumpkin cheesecake. Kris added extra Tobasco to drive you out of her belly.
After dinner we started watching It’s A Wonderful Life. George Bailey was just about to give up his honeymoon money to save the Building and Loan when Kris suddenly said, “Oh,” then hurdled the end of the couch and ran high knees down the hall. The impact of this feat was magnified by the fact that it had been weeks since she attempted anything more than a tender, waddling gait.
Through the closed bathroom door, Auntie Em and I confirmed that her water had indeed broken, which sent us into a euphoric chaos. Emily retrieved the Jacksons, who had not yet left the driveway. Aunt Kristen is a nurse, so she was helpful to your mom. Emily and I packed a bag for the hospital while James and Jared cleaned up the kitchen and powered down the movie, still in progress. In a matter of minutes, we were en route to the hospital. It was about 10:00pm.
My first disappointment was the lack of traffic. I had imagined myself turning on the hazard lights and zooming through traffic, glancing both ways as I flew through red lights. I was hoping to be pulled over by a cop so that I could explain the urgent situation and get a police escort to the ER. But at 10:00 on a Thursday night, there were only a few cars on the road. The hazards were flashing, but not from necessity. We were the only ones on the road. The chaotic scene I had imagined and emotionally prepped for was replaced by something much more serene. Your mom was completely calm. Though she was slowly leaking birthing fluid on a towel, she was not having painful contractions. So we drove in relative silence, enjoying the surreal moment. As we neared Arlington Memorial Hospital, I cautiously ran a red light just because. Your mom just laughed.
Ok, I'll tell you the rest later.