Today we’re having a little party for Desmond—just my older brother and the grandparents. Cake.

Desmond’s birthday is special for me, too, because it’s the day I became a mama.

I woke up to pee, probably around 3 a.m. April 29. I went, got up, washed my hands…and then went again in my pants (I thought). What? That’s not right…ohhhhh.

I went into the bedroom, told Derek, “Either something bad is happening, or my water just broke.” We called the hospital. “Yup, you’re in labor,” they said. We got dressed, got in the car. I remember thinking how warm it was for April in the middle of the night. It had still felt like winter so much of the time.

When we got to the hospital, I slept for a few hours. Nothing much happening, yet. I didn’t even recognize when I started having contractions, they were so mild. In the beginning.

I remember calling out of work. I remember my boss not sounding thrilled that I was about to have the baby, which seemed so weird to me, he had been so supportive right up until then. Maybe I’d woken him up or he had something else on his mind. I don’t know. I’m still puzzled about that.

After that I didn’t really keep track of when things started happening. Derek would be the better person to ask. I know my contractions weren’t moving along, so they gave me Petocin. That did the trick. I’ve never been in so much pain. I couldn’t even talk. Except to ask for the Epidural.

No, I did not have natural childbirth, either time. I have zero pain tolerance, and I knew myself better than to even try. With Aislyn, I did try Nitris Oxide (laughing gas) first, but it didn’t really help, so I ended up with the Epidural again with her.

I know I got to the point where I told the nurse I was ready. They didn’t believe me at first, but when they checked, I was 10 cm, good to go. Delivery took about 7 minutes. To me it seemed like 2. And then there he was: Desmond Paul Taylor. Beautiful dark blue eyes, thick, dark hair like a rockstar. “Good job being born,” I told him, as he snuggled against my bare chest.

He was 5 pounds, 7 ounces, 21 inches. A long, skinny, hotdog baby like his father, who had been six weeks premature during the Blizzard of 78. But that’s not my story to tell.

We spent 8 days in the newborn intensive care unit. He had some trouble breathing at first, was in an incubator, and his hard palette hadn’t fully formed, so they had to teach him how to eat. He was feisty and impatient right out the gate. He wanted his milk and couldn’t get it fast enough. For several days he had a feeding tube.

The nurses took such good care of us, I don’t remember being homesick. I didn’t get nearly the same kind of attention when I had Aislyn, who was full-term.

I don’t know if I suffered from post partum depression after I had Desmond, or if it was just the circumstances around the time. I was being let go at work and I knew it right away. I knew even while I was still in the hospital that trouble was on the horizon. I had a lot of friends at work, and being a brand new mother, it was a particularly difficult situation.

Nobody told me anything. Nobody even believed me when I shared my concern. I’m sure they assumed I was just emotional after giving birth.

Sometimes I just know things.

I had thought I was going to have so much time to do whatever I wanted on maternity. I was going to write the next great American novel. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is not how it works. You barely have any time for yourself. I had to decide sometimes whether to shower or sleep while he napped.

It was amazing, though, those first days, watching him develop. At just one month he was grasping, examining and playing with cause and effect toys. At two months, he started smiling.

I’ve always said his little laugh was my favorite sound in the world. I’d have made a ringtone out of it if I could have.

Anyway, we had the party, cake and ice cream and presents galore. I’m ready for a nap, now.

I can’t believe it’s been nine years already. Next year I’ll say the same thing, except it will be 10 years.

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