From the moment I discovered you were coming, I hoped it was you.
I remember standing in the archway of the hall in that old apartment that you’ll never remember and telling your dad that you were coming. He nodded.
“That makes sense,” he shrugged.
“I KNOW WHY.”
You see, I had been a bit… temperamental as of late. Dad couldn’t catch a break and I surely wasn’t going to offer him one now. But, dear boy, don’t worry because you were worth all of that nonsense, and far more, to both of us.
Dad was sure you were a boy. I was sure you were a girl. We argued about that for weeks until we opened a box full of blue balloons, and there it was: our first clue in the mystery of who was coming.
We argued more about what we would name you. I liked lots of names your dad thought were silly or too difficult to say. What’s so difficult about Sawyer? He hated it. He wanted his boy to carry his initials, so we started searching for W names.
We could have named you Warner. Or William. Or Winchester. (We wouldn’t have, I promise.) We agreed on Weston. WESTON ROYCELLES WHEELER. It sounded good and honest and trustworthy.
We waited for you for longer than we wanted to. Perhaps every expectant mother feels that way, but you stayed past your 40 week gestation and made no attempt to emerge. We made an appointment for a Sunday evening induction that I didn’t think we’d make it to; surely you would come before then.
Sunday evening came quickly. You were anchored and unwavering in your dark little den. But it was time. It felt like time. Where there was anxiety before, Sunday brought peace: resolution in knowing that you were decidedly coming.
We dropped your sister off at gramma and grampa’s house at 6pm and then headed to the nearest Walgreens for snacks and last-minute additions to our hospital bags. It felt odd slowly planning and pacing toward such a climactic event. It was different than the first time which involved driving, waters broken and contracting, toward the hospital at 2am. Your dad and I kept fighting the urge to rush into the hospital early or call the whole induction off, but then we both breathed and just took the next step.
We arrived at 7pm. A nurse took us up to the delivery room and we joked and ate salt and vinegar chips as she took vitals, informtation, and about 20 quarts of blood. (Okay, okay. It was 4 viles. Still. Your tattooed mother hates needles.)
I didn’t feel anything with the first round of medication; four hours passed and not even a contraction to hit the monitor.
The nurse administered a second dose and told me to try and sleep. It may be a while.
I slept for an hour that felt like 3 minutes before waking to a strong vice-like contraction. I glanced at your dad. He was snoring on the fold-out hospital bed.
I closed my eyes and fell asleep for another 30 minutes. And then another contraction woke me, stronger. I decided it was time to move a little. I got up, peed, walked a bit, and then another contraction and another just after. The nurse walked in, checked your heart, my heart, the rise and fall of the contractions.
“Looks like you’re getting a couple good ones!”
“Yeah!” I agreed breathlessly.
“Let’s try one more dose and see if we can get labor really rolling.”
I agreed. The medication hurt this time, but it was easy to dismiss as I knew that each step, each pain, brought me closer to you.
4am to 7am was the fastest time has ever moved for me. The contractions were swift, sharp, and breathtaking. I was amazed by what my body was doing for you, for us.
The morning nurse’s name was Aubrey. She was energetic and straight to the point. She checked my progress and announced I was around a 4. She asked about the pain.
“I know I want an epidural,” I told her. I was not afraid of pain, but dearest, I felt sure it would be safe for you and I needed the energy to breathe and get you here. Pain has a way of making me feel incapable, the epidural was empowering.
“Ok, mama,” Aubrey said, “let’s get you juiced up.”
“Wait, though. I don’t want it to stall my progress. I can wait.”
Aubrey looked at the floor and sat down a moment. “Well, love,” she said carefully, ” I’m looking at your contractions and your progress and I think if you don’t have it soon, you’ll be real sad.”
That was exciting. I told her emphatically that I would like the epidural now, and began to rock and move until the anesthesiologist arrived.
I don’t remember that part much. Needles again. And shortly after, I slept. I must have dosed all morning, listening off and on to your dad and your aunt Wylinda talk about dreams and kids and tiny homes (it was a thing. Your dad… you know what? I don’t think I’ll have to explain that by the time I let you read this. Nevermind.)
I felt a pressure that wasn’t there before and the monitor began to squeal. Aubrey popped in quickly, searching for the heartbeat the monitor had lost.
“Little guy dropped into the birth canal! We lost his heartbeat a minute, but he’s just fine.” She pointed at the wriggling line on the monitor. I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
“Let me go check on my other patient quickly and then we can check your progress.”
Aubrey was gone only 2 minutes before she bounced back into the delivery room, pulling a blue glove down to her wrist.
“Oh, I’m just too excited! Let’s check now!” she said, smiling.
I felt a pop and my belly dropped a bit.
“I just broke your waters,” she said through an accidental grin.
I was ecstatic. It was time.
Aubrey bounded out to retrieve Dr. Hughes. He was not my regular ObGyn, but I knew he was exactly who was supposed to deliver my boy. He sat down, congratulated me, smiled warmly and asked if I was ready to get to work. I nodded.
Aubrey talked me through the first two push cycles, but I had it after that. Just like riding a bike, said no one ever. But really, my body just knew what to do.
We were trying to make your birth time 3:16pm on March 16. But you came on the last push at 3:15.
Births are magical things. There were seven people in your delivery room, and then, though no doors had opened and windows stayed locked tight, there were eight. No one could keep from smiling and delighting over you, as you were a perfection we had all worked very hard to bring forth.
There you were: dark hair, swollen newborn eyes, long legs with fat rolls already forming and long fingers that made your grampa giddy to teach you to play piano.
They had to clean all the meconium off of you, but then they brought you to me and laid you naked and wriggling on my chest and it was finished. You were here. 8lbs 14oz 21 inches long. Our boy.
That is your beginning, my love: your entrance to this world. I thought you would like to know, someday.
I dreamed a thousand different dreams of you, but none were as sweet as the you that you are.