My youngest turned eighteen yesterday.
I almost forgot our tradition, remembering just before I tucked in for the night. I called him into my bedroom, and told him the story of his birth. How it started the night before, with epigastric pains that I thought were due to the pepperoni pizza his sister and I had delivered to his night-shift-working father for dinner. The pains were still there in the wee hours of the morning, and led to contractions which led to the hospital phone call answered by the same delivery nurse who took care of me almost five years before. His father didn't believe I was in true labor yet, so we dressed the half-asleep four-and-a-half year old and took her to the hospital with us, but left the bags behind.
The doctors didn't believe I would have the baby that day, either. They gave me an IV, treated the stomach pain, and had me walk the floor for a bit. Two hours later, they decided that yes, I'd be having a baby soon. My husband went home to collect the bags and call my father, and I settled in for a day of labor.
The details became very medical after that point. My epigastric pain turned out to be my overreacting liver due to HELLP syndrome. There was a flurry of activity as the doctor and nurses prepared to speed up the delivery of my child and keep me alive in the process.
Which they obviously did, and did well. There I was, in my own bed last night, recounting the details to my now-eighteen-year-old son.
It will be a week bookended by birth stories. My firstborn graduates from college this coming Sunday. A great accomplishment, but not uncommon, until you consider that she weighed less than a kilogram at birth. I'll be thinking of that as she gets her degree, and as we address a graduation announcement to her neonatal unit. One more preemie that made it, thriving because of their care.
This week following Mother's Day, I am grateful for doctors and nurses who do their work, and do it well. Very, very grateful, indeed.