... I woke up on this morning in Kettering hospital to the rush of nurses and beeping of machines...
I sat on a "birthing ball" to loosen my pelvic floor.
I walked the halls to help with labor pains gripping the railing at times when the contractions were so severe, I thought I might lose my balance. My pitocin was kicked into high gear... and soon I needed to sit down more often than walk or roll around on the ball.
They kept asking me from about 3-4cm on if I wanted an epidural.
They seemed puzzled.
I do have a high tolerance for pain but it wasn't that bad that I needed.
I made it to 8 and asked for one. That.Was.Difficult. Holding still so someone can stick a needle in your back when you have to arch over a beach ball with contractions so strong you're going to scream is difficult. But I did it. And then I was laughing again.
Once I got the epidural, things kicked into gear... I went from 8 to 10 in no time and it was time to push. Dr. Hemmelgarn was soon there and instructed me to push with contractions. She said that we were getting close and said that "it" had a head full of hair.
I'd chosen to hide the mirror on the opposing wall there to let moms watch the birthing process with a sheet because, YIKES, I didn't want to see that!!!
So, pushing started with each contraction... it lasted a mere 30 minutes... and then the little miracle was born-- with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck and a with a knot in it. If he'd gone any longer in utero, she was almost certain he wouldn't have survived. It was truly a miracle that I'd paid such close attention to my body to notice that small little trickle to alert the doctor.
Oh, and we hadn't opted to find out what we were having... so when he was born... was the first time we knew we had a son.
We named him Joshua...
They had the NICU staff present since he was a month early. He scored all high marks on the APGAR test and was just perfect. Pink and perfect... with a head full of hair.
He was my mom's first grandchild. She made it from Texas shortly thereafter his birth.
He was the second on his father's side (but the first boy).
And today, I get to wish him a happy birthday.
Happy 14th birthday, Joshua. Happy 14th birthday to my motherhood.
The first time I was told that I was pregnant, I was in denial. I actually went to Dr. Hemmelgarn to be tested. Something was WRONG with me. I was told it wasn't anything "that can't be cured in 9 months."
I was in shock. I was in disbelief. Seriously, I took like six tests at home and they were ALL NEGATIVE.
However, from that moment ... from that moment when it sank in that I had you growing within me, I knew I loved you before I met you. Those may be the lyrics to a song... but it's very much true. From the first time I was told that I was going to be a mother, I was already in love with you.
I went back through a box of photos I had and scanned in some of my very favorite photos to share with you. I hope you like them.
This photo represents something I cherish... time with my kids... when they're still. I appreciate the still. You can hear them breathing... You can take them in. Tears fall freely like this (hence the pink nose in this one.) This was the essence of motherhood. I knew you wouldn't stay little like this forever. You're living proof. Babies grow. In this photo, you know as a mother these little beings need you for support to hold them up... physically. And as they grow... as in now... to only hold you up emotionally. I hope you see this, too, as a need to always care for the weak... because they need the strength of those who can bear the burden of care.
You and Pawpaw 1999...
This photo I love because it looks like one expression but it's totally another. This was mid-yawn. You look extremely ticked off, however.
Your first snow... Beavercreek, Ohio. It was a chore to stuff you in that snow suit. It was short lived because you wanted nothing to do with this white crap falling from the sky. But we did it anyway so that you had the experience. I hope you always realize that sometimes... although it may be a chore, the experience is worth it.
Photos from your first photo shoot... your nursery was done in Classic Winnie The Pooh. It was so hard to get rid of many of those knickknacks in decluttering from time to time because they represented you, when you were oh so little to me... But I have the memories... and this photo... you could barely hold up your head... bright blue eyes.
The photo below was when you were learning to crawl... you kept your eye on the prize and stuck with it. You would get SO frustrated and cry and scream... but persistence pays off... as a child you don't have a lot of choice because we don't let you give up... However, when you grow up it's so much easier to quit. I hope you always go after important goals with steadfast persistence... don't give up.
This was in Ohio... it was cold. I love this photo and this little outfit.
We had to do it for you in this photo... but never be afraid to be silly. You get one shot at life, so make sure that you have fun. If you're always so worried about looking silly, or worrying about looking cool, you're going to miss out on so many deep experiences... forget what everyone else thinks and live your life FOR YOU and HAVE FUN!
Your baptism invitations... there's a funny story that goes along with this event that I should share sometime... remind me, will ya?
I love sleeping babies... From the day you were born, you slept right next to me until you were probably... a year old or longer. When you were sleeping well, your arms were always up over your head. You know I spent many a long night rocking you to sleep... and found it to be a time that was so fleeting... I wished many nights that you'd fall asleep... but even when I had other things to do... I stood there staring at you in the crib, this beautiful child of mine... sleeping peacefully...and I would rub your back or pat your little Pampered bottom... You would suck on your "binkie" (pacifier) and sometimes it would pop out but your mouth would remain open like it was still in there... it was the cutest thing ever.
Bundling you up after bathtime to make sure you stayed warm because it was cold in Ohio. Now I can't even get you to wear a pair of pants when it's below zero outside.
Your first Christmastime... this was at our condo in Beavercreek.
First time to visit Santa... he looks thrilled, no?
Your first Christmas in Ohio at Grandma Kehres' house.
This picture here is one of my favorites... because not only did I get to hug you... but I made you laugh. You've entered the age of know-it-all... and that makes me sad sometimes... I hope you realize that it's okay to laugh and have fun with your family...
This was taken at a park by the house in Ohio. Grandma came up from Texas to visit you to help keep you out of daycare as long as we possibly could because you had been given such a strong dosage of steriods when you were in the hospital with pneumonia at the age of 9 months we were asked to keep you out of a day care environment for 6 weeks if possible so all the grandparents came up and gave us a week at a time to help out. You were the only one of any of my boys who loved to swing...
I truly loved this photo of you. Why in the world I put you in red socks is beyond me (first child failure, now they're lucky to even HAVE socks on, but that's neither here nor there), but this was one of the first times you ever sat up by yourself... and you looked adorable... and I got the picture and then you promptly spit up all over your cute Mickey Mouse t-shirt.
A photo from our kitchen in Beavercreek... this is a photo of you slinging around a napkin. You thought it was the funniest thing EVER! Just is a good reminder to keep things simple.
One of my favorite photos of you... so proud of you for sitting up on your own.... and goes to show you how great good posture looks -- at any age. Always sit tall.
One year photo shoot 2000
In Ohio, this was one of your absolute favorite pasttimes -- going through the Tupperware cabinet. Your room looks quite similar most times. Thanks for keeping it upstairs and leaving my Tupperware to me.
This photo was taken at your Grandpa Gregorsok's farm in April 2000 before we moved back to Texas.
I have to laugh at the number of photos we seem to have of you with a football... destiny?
Fish sticks and chocolate pudding anyone? I love that you're at least able to make less of a mess with your dinnertime now.
Your playroom full of your creations 2002. I have always been proud of your fun artwork. I love to show it off.
Don't worry, I think it's funny you're wearing Browns stuff too. ;)
I took these when you were 3 or 4 in Reverchon Park in Dallas. This was when you would wear Wranglers and cowboy boots. And it wasn't until this year that I got you BACK in a pair of cowboy boots. I like you in cowboy boots. I like that you trusted me to fix your hair, too. It really DOES LOOK GOOD SHORT.
This little boy I have chased and carried... wrapped up and bandaged up. I've held you as you cried...and you've held me as we both cried. You loved overalls. I did too.
I've watched you go through your phases with Captain Feathersword with the Wiggles to The Power Rangers and from Spiderman to Toy Story... and of COURSE -- BATMAN!
I carried a sweaty tired little boy who HAD to wear this HOT Simba costume through Disney World in Florida... Simba Halloween costume
Our day together at the zoo, 2004
It's been hard to see you make your first real friends like Matt Cagle and watch how your heart broke when they moved away. If you'd only been a bit older... technology would have kept you close but you were still too young to embrace that kind of connection at that age. I hope you do realize the importance of long-lasting friendships and that you remain a true friend to those that you encounter. Be trustworthy to those who share their burdens with you. The fact that they share them means that they trust you.
Your sixth birthday at the Fort Worth Zoo. 2005
D-1 graduation at Fort Worth Christian
You spent two birthdays at the Summit Climbing gym... never skipping a beat and never accepting that you couldn't reach the top. Chase your dreams with that kind of tenacity...
Your 7th birthday party at the Rangers Stadium, 2006... notice where the batter's arms are... make note ;)
2010 I watched you become a big brother for the second time... as a mother nothing pleases me greater than when you all get along. To see compassion and understanding when Drew asks you a crazy, off-the-wall question... and for you to play along or answer him with the same inquisitiveness that you used to have at his age. Don't let your contempt for the younger generations let the sarcasm ooze through your pores just because you are kin... he comes to you because he seeks acceptance from you. He has great admiration for you. These two boys below you in this photo think you've hung the moon. Show them how to lead. Show them how to be a friend. They are learning from you every day. Make eye contact. You may need them some day... show them why they should be there for you... by being there for them.
And this photo... this one marks the start of the "look, up in the sky" pose at your awards ceremony for 5th grade, 2011. I do love the friendships you continue to make now... I hope you always choose to surround yourself with centered boys who think before they act.
I've watched you grow into an amazing athlete. I've watched your skill set and confidence grow with each season.
You stole second and third on this play
This is one of those centerfield catches for the out. Although you're good, stay grounded. And always remember the sacrifices that everyone around you has to go through for you to do what you're doing. You may play centerfield, but stay centered.
I've watched you grow from a toothless, colicky baby to a 5'9" teenager with stubble on his upper lip who wears a size 12 Nike. I've watched your hands turn from chubby infant fingers with indented knuckles so ready to grasp mine to lead you, to hands that can throw a knuckleball and are quite absent from hugs any longer.
You are working on your PhD in sarcasm... and you have a great sense of humor...
You've experienced a lot in your life... whether you realize it or not... with a move, a divorce, an absent parent, switching schools, losing friends...and having ME for a mom! If I could give you one gift today... it would be for you to see yourself through my eyes... just one day.
Fourteen years ago you gave me stretch marks...
...and now you're going to give me grey hair.
I should kick you in the shin.
But instead, I'll bake you a cake...
and hope for a hug...
because it may be your birthday... but today is also the day that you made me a mom...
and it's been the best present anyone could have ever given me.
I love you, son. Happy 14th birthday.