T’was the end of the year 2000, the turn of the year. Factually, the turn of the whole millenium. I was 36 weeks pregnant with the world’s busiest baby, whose due date was 6th January. We had already decided his name would be Aiden, which means ‘fire’ because we felt it described his character- he was constantly moving and kicking.
Okay, a warning. Turn around and go back now if need be- this is a story of childbirth.
Hmm, you are brave! Let’s continue. Recent gynae appointments had provided feedback that “everything is ready to go.” To describe what that really means will not feel comfortable on any forum other than a midwife’s journal, suffice to say I was trying to hang on until the New Year, because it alleviated a future challenge with schooling a December-born baby. Well, subconsciously as New Year’s Eve progressed nicely, my brain signalled “everything” and said, We made it. Let’s get it outta here. Rock and roll.
In sync with neighbourhood fireworks, the contractions began at midnight. New to me, they were felt more in my back, so rubbing provided some relief. Not new to me or Heath was the fact that I preferred to do labour alone, quietly. No cheering, touching or conversation. I just concentrate better that way. So as my contractions started, I moved into the lounge to allow Heath to get some rest before the pending marathon of hospitals, childbirth and adjustment to ‘then there were two.’ Of course he couldn’t go back to sleep, but he needed to keep track of what was going on with me, and the means to do this was revealed to him quite unexpectedly.
Between contractions, I obviously wouldn’t move, but when they started, I would rub my back furiously, mumbling through clenched teeth to the fireworks; Yes, happy bloody New Year to you too! My movements triggered the motion sensor in the lounge, which lit up the alarm keypad in our bedroom. So Heath LAY IN BED and timed my contractions according to the alarm keypad signals. Yes, it’s utterly ludicrous, but it’s not like he could’ve done anything else. Hospital case was packed, sitter for Joshua organised, car ready to go. He was just waiting for that trip down the birth canal to proceed, and off we went. 5am arrival at hospital, 8am delivery. Not bad, considering Joshua had been a good 24 hour slog. Although you know my gynae wasn’t there. Heck, we’re lucky anyone was sober and able to deliver a baby at that time on New Year’s Day
The gynae on call came in with his nursing sister, both alert and sober, wished us Happy New Year, and checked on us. At which point the sister recognised me as a relative. I don’t know, she was my great aunt via a long lost cousin, I think. I don’t remember, and I wasn’t taking notes, and I didn’t really want to discuss how my parent’s cousins were keeping, because I was in the process of pushing a baby out. THEN, she (let’s call her Great Aunt for ease of reference) pulled my knee up to my chest and leaned on it with her body weight while I pushed with the contraction. Please understand. She is one person, on one side, with one of my knees. Where is the other knee? Well, it’s floating around somewhere, but it sure isn’t providing the same pressure as what’s going on over here. I’m almost swivelling on the bed in a labour-breakdance-on-the-gurney-and-get-the-baby-out routine. So I tell Heath to grab the other knee and pull it back the same way. This catches him off guard, as his role up to now was mostly observation and fervent prayer intercession, but he is wonderful, and rises to the challenge. But he treats his leg with the care and tenderness of a doting husband, whilst Great Aunt, with her 50 years of delivery experience, is chatting away on the other side, and leaning it all the way up to my ear. She’s pretty short, and I’m convinced her feet are actually dangling underneath the bed while her body weight is all on me. So it’s a lop-sided birth, but all is well, and it was the easiest birth out of the 4 babies. Probably because he was 3.5 kgs (7.7lbs), the average size of a baby human, not a horse like third-born Luke at 4.5 kgs (10lbs). Geez, that boy nearly stayed in there. Story for another day.
And that is the beloved memory I re-live each New Year’s Day. Aiden’s birthdate is thus 01.01.01. For the rest of his life. It’s clearly the coolest date ever, but it has pros and cons, as anyone with a birthday on a weird day would know. As soon as everyone yells Happy New Year! they turn to him and yell Happy Birthday! Everyone is tired from having seen the New Year in, so there’s a lot of sleeping done on his birthday. Do you do the presents at midnight, or after everyone’s slept and are now crawling around bleary eyed? And no mother really wants to cook or bake on New Year’s Day, and most places are closed on that day too, so toast and tea are the birthday breakfast. At noon. Waffles if you’re really lucky and your mother remembered to buy syrup, flour and eggs beforehand.
I think he can keep the birthdate, but we should pretend he was born in March, so that we can celebrate him properly. Can I get an Amen?
Any weird and wonderful birthdays in your family? Post a comment below and stand a chance of having me remember your birthday every year in the future!
Or a weirder birth story? And you stand the chance of just making me laugh. Would love to have your comments!
May the lessons learned in the quiet or the chaos lead you closer to Him.
Lots of love,