we're keeping things calm
a quiet birthday at home
playing and laughing
When Ike-a-saurus was born at 10:50 am on August 25th last year, my body felt immediately calm. He was out, the doctor held him up for me to see, I heard a cry, I started to cry, and my body felt still and quiet for the first time in months. In an instant, the revolt against my pregnancy was over. My baby was born.
There is an irony here that is unmistakable. My body found a calmness just as the world itself fell away. But at the time, I didn't know the world was falling away. I was just happy to hear my new baby cry. And even though the doctors had to immediately put him on a ventilator, and I wouldn't hear him cry again for a long time, that one small noise fed my heart for days upon days. He was OK. He would be OK. And he was finally here – even though "finally" still meant 12 weeks early. We had survived a marathon, he and I. The shortest, longest pregnancy I'd ever had.
He was born on the first day of first grade for the wee one. It was a very busy day.
I think all of Austin stopped and held their breath when they heard Ike was coming. I think, maybe, we're all still holding our breath.
During those days in the NICU, when we would allow ourselves to think more than a few hours into the future, my husband and I joked about how Ike-a-saurus' first birthday would be filled with ponies and carousels and fireworks and unicyclists and a big brass band. Now that his first birthday is actually here, I feel a little guilty for not following through with our promises. And yet, the more I think about the day he was born – the things he went through, the things we all went through – I think a quiet a day at home with just our family is the way to go.
There was joy on the day he was born, lots of it. But there was fear, too. Fear, and uncertainty, and strangers, and bright lights, and loud beeps, machines, squeaky gloves, exhaustion, adrenalin, so much talking and information, me demanding to be taken to the NICU, even though I had to sit in a wheelchair while still hooked up to a catheter… It was not a quiet, family day. It was the kind of day when you have deer-in-the-headlights eyes, and a bag full of pee in your lap, and you don't give a flying flip who sees you like that because the elevator is the only way to get you to close to your new baby.
I didn't get to hold him when he was born. I didn't get to hold him for days.
We are making up for that today. We make up for that everyday.
Isaac Sawyer is 1. Did you know that superheroes have birthdays?
Happy birthday, my sweet boy. I love you so much.