One of these days we’ll have to stop calling you that, but it’s been your nickname of choice this past year. Last night you weren’t quite ready to fall asleep and you didn’t want to be alone, which happens fairly often these days at bedtime. I went into your room, picked you up out of your crib (and your lamby lovey, which is actually a lion, but we’re pretty attached to “lamby” as a name too apparently) and swayed back and forth as you snuggled in. You prefer that the adult rocking you stands (no sitting!) which I don’t mind except that my arms are already too short to hold you in most positions. Most nights you stay awake until I can’t hold you any longer and I have to put you down, but last night you fell asleep in my arms, which is the sweetest and so good for my heart.
I am sure that before you will be able to read this you will have heard your birth story. Several times. It is one that we have had a lot of fun telling this year, and we wish that we had recorded all the listeners reactions. It is still the coolest, best thing that your papa and I have done together.
My water broke in the middle of a dinner party attended by a good friend and two people we had never met. Yes, my immediate thought was that maybe I could just hang tight for hour, until everyone finished their dinner (which your dad was serving at that moment) before the contractions got too strong. Within a few minutes I knew I had to tell the strangers that my water had broken (no one noticed the pop! or me saying ouch!), and I excused myself from the table, asking everyone to finish their dinners. After that everything happened so fast. Our poor guests could hear how much pain I was in and they quickly started cleaning up. Your dad was on the phone with his parents to come down, Bridget to come over to watch Asa, the doula, the midwives, and the two times he came in to check on me, I begged him to dig his fists into my back during the next contraction to ease the pain.
While he was getting everything in order to leave I was mostly on my own, not quite comprehending how fast everything was happening, how close together the contractions were. All I knew is that I couldn’t handle that amount of pain for more than two hours, and I was cursing my decision to deliver with midwives (drugs please!). Bridget arrived, our guests left, I could hear Asa crying “mama!” and your dad was doing his best to get me off the floor and into the car to the hospital. I finally pulled on a dress, stood up, said hi to Bridge and walked to the car. It was when I stood up that I knew we were not going to make it to the hospital, and standing next to our giant SUV I refused to climb inside. I said to your papa, “Judd, I can feel the baby’s head, it’s going to be two pushes and he’s going to be out. Yell into Bridge to call an ambulance.” Your dad, to his much deserved credit, was so calm throughout this. He did as he was told, and in the midst of it all was thinking about how to best to get a grip on a slippery baby. You were born just as I predicted, 2 pushes later, and 40 minutes or less after my water broke. You let out the quietest cry to let us know you were okay, your papa announced that it was a boy, we heard the sirens on our block and knew we just had to wrap you up and wait a minute for help. By that point Bridget and Asa were outside too. Asa was pretty excited about the firetrucks. We joke about our accidental home birth, outside in the rain, with our son watching. Life certainly doesn’t go as planned sometimes!
Since that night you have changed our world, Beau. It’s no surprise to us that you are happy as long as there are other people around (and miserably sad if we try to leave you alone in a room even for just one quick second). You are incredibly active and strong, always eager to be doing all the things that you see us doing – but you are a cuddler too. For the first 3 months of your life you lived in the carrier, sleeping on my chest. Now that you are crawling you often crawl over to sit in my lap, and the other day when I got home late from work you jumped out of the bathtub so that I could hold you. You are fast and loud and funny, an adventure seeker and a source of energy for our whole family. You are so in tune with people, which has amazed me the most this year. I have seen you play jokes on people and play games you have made up. I love watching you interact. You are observant but always, always moving. (I can’t tell you how many times I have chased you around the house trying to get a diaper or pants on you!) You learn by trying things, and most days you seem to have no fear (with plenty of bumps and scraps already to show for it).
Beau Linus, you are a gift. Happy 1st Birthday!
Professional photo credit to Janice Cui.