Anyway, back to the story of his arrival - we got to the birthing center around 4 that morning, and I settled in for what I thought would be a lengthy labor. I sat in the rocking chair for a while. I sat on my exercise ball for a while.
Around 7:30 am, one of the nurses said I looked tense.
I thought: "No sh*t, Sherlock. I'M IN LABOR!" But I didn't say that.
She went on to say: "I'll go run you a bath so you can relax in the tub."
After enduring several more contractions while the water ran,
after walking what felt like a mile and a half into the bathroom - but was actually less than 15 feet,
after moaning through a couple more contracts while standing next to the tub,
after climbing what felt like twelve flights of stairs - but was actually just over the lip of the bathtub,
I maneuvered my swollen, achy, tense self into the warm water -
and immediately felt the urge to push.
That same nurse told me that I shouldn't push because I wasn't fully dilated.
I chose to ignore her.
Somebody else said, "Go ahead and push if you feel the urge that badly."
Maybe I was the one who said it.
So I pushed one time.
And out came Daniel's head. Under the water.
Oh, my Lord God Jesus! There he was.
Knowing I wasn't going to have any more children, recognizing that I needed to experience that miraculous moment to the fullest, I reached down and rubbed his head there underwater. I stared at his hair and ran my fingers through it as gently as I could. I remember that moment like it was three weeks ago. There was the head of my child, my son. The miracle of life - transitioning from the water of my womb to the warm water of the tub.
The midwife came running into the bathroom, looked into the water, and said, "You may as well go ahead and push him out." In that case, I did exactly as instructed.
After his shoulders emerged, I put my fingers into his armpits, and pulled my precious baby boy out of my body and up onto my chest.
I remember thinking: "If all labor and delivery were this easy and I could give the kids away after the first year, I would have lots more kids."
Seventeen years ago this morning, I became the mother of two children.
We became a family of four.
I was grateful for Daniel's safe, watery arrival.
I still am.
I love that boy, that young man, this son of mine, more than he will ever understand.
Happy birthday, Daniel.
I love you, buddy.