To Eli on your third birthday:
Really I know that I should write to you about who you are today. All the funny things you do like call me Dora and insist that I call you Diego. Or be the Gabriella to your Troy. Occasionally the Murray to your Jeff. How no matter how much cereal you have, you always ask for "five more." How you hold my face in your little hands and kiss my nose. How you say "My used to be mommy's baby, but now my mommy's big boy." How sometimes when I'm rocking you at night you ask me to sing the Cha Cha Slide instead of Rock-a-bye Baby.
But sorry, no. I'm going to tell you about the night you were born. A story that you no doubt don't want to hear. I'm not entirely sure I want to re-live it.
I actually went into labor with you on the 12th. You see, I was scheduled to be induced the following Monday. Normally I'd never consider such a thing, but I had a good reason for induction; we were scheduled to go on a Disney Cruise in May and you had to be 12 weeks old. (1) Monday was the last possible day to make that deadline.
The 12th was a Saturday and we had to go to your cousin's birthday party. But first we swung by Dr. Q's, the acupuncturist. I'm not protecting his identity, his name really was Dr. Q. He looked at my tongue and told me you were facing the wrong way. (2) He put needles in three appropriate points: one to bring on labor, one to turn you around and one to give me energy for labor.
Well it must have worked because I went into labor a few hours later. It was a miserable night, cold and sleeting, exactly like tonight actually. Daddy and I went to the hospital and they wanted to send me home but I wouldn't go because the roads were icy. We passed the time watching the Maryland-Duke game and arguing over your name. (3)
Unfortunately, Dr. Q was correct. You were faced the wrong way. And you tried your hardest to turn around, trust me, I felt you trying. But that darn cord got in your way and ended up wrapped around your neck. Twice. Did I mention what mommy was using for the pain? Hypnosis. That's right. ShallowGal chose that exact moment to be all earthy.
I won't subject the nice people on the internet to any more details of the next hour. Suffice it to say when I remember Jake's birth, I recall the 27 hours of back labor. For Noa I remember a quick, quiet birth (4) You have the honor of being my scariest birth story.
At 12:15 am, you were finally born, all seven pounds and eleven ounces (5) of squirmy but very blue baby. In addition to the cord trauma, you had swallowed a lot of meconium and were having trouble breathing. They whisked you off to the NICU.
That night I made my first discovery about you. You were unbelievably hairy. Werewolf hairy. I'm not even sure this picture does it justice, but that strange shadow on your back? Hair. You even had hairy old man ears. That old wives tale about heartburn meaning the baby will have hair? You bet your extra-strength Zantac it's true.
But also, you were a quick learner. The nurse was amazed how fast she was able to wean you off the oxygen. That's the trait we still see in you today, the skill that made you my earliest crawler, climber, talker and walker and most importantly, the only child of ShallowGal to be in underwear before the age of three. (6)
Despite all the drama, your NICU stay was short. Twelve hours later you were sprung and met the rest of the family. Sorry about that, but it really was unavoidable.
And at 12 weeks and 1 day, you took your first vacation.
Happy birthday, Elijah Robert. Mommy loves you.
1) So sue me, you got to go on a cruise, right?
2) How can you say this isn't a real science with a trick like that?
3) Daddy wanted Reuben and I wanted Josiah Robert.
4) that belies everything she is now
5) Even though I gained forty pounds you were my smallest baby
6) Although quite honestly, your aim leaves something to be desired.