Monday, February 14, 2011

Dear Sam: You Were Born.

For a whole year, from month to month, I've been composing letters in my head to Sam, telling him stories from our life to keep track of his growth as it has barreled along at a pace that astounds and amazes us. It's something I should be recording, and this is the place to do it. Let's start at the very beginning. 

Dear Sam,

You were born on January 7th, 2010, at 4 in the morning. Although it was arguably the most important day of your life to date, you probably don't remember much of it, so I thought I'd take you through it, at least from my point of view. Even if you could recall, you were coming at it from a very different angle, so I'll let you know how it looked from my end.

I'm writing this more than a year after the fact, which is literally a lifetime for you. For your father and I, it's been a lifetime of sorts as well, as January 7th marked the start of a new reality for us, with days that flew by, and nights that wouldn't end, both highs and lows that stopped our hearts, and a new appreciation for cliches that try to capture the love of a parent for a child. You had us at "hello," or in this case, "Here Mama, hold your new baby," spoken by the lovely nurse whose name I can't recall, but who spent twelve hours helping us get you out of my tummy and into our arms, though you were taking your sweet fancy time... but I'm getting ahead of myself. It started like this:

After another night of heartburn and overheating and hoisting my 30 pounds of a belly in and out of bed for bathroom breaks and restless pacing, I got up with your Dad as he was leaving for work, and prepared myself to face another day of well-meaning strangers taking my hugely pregnant state as a cue to chirp at me to get my sleep now while I still could. You should know that I set a good example for you, even as you were still in my womb, by not hauling back and demanding "How? HOWWWWW?" 

Anyway, it was January 6th, and you were due to arrive in three days. I was more than ready for you to exercise your Clark side by showing up a bit early, because I was well into that state of pregnancy that's evolutionarily designed to make labour look not so bad, since it will be an end to the unbelievable awkwardness of late stage pregnancy. And heartburn. Oh Sam, the heartburn. Here comes a Mama tangent!

I had chronic heartburn for your whole pregnancy, escalating to levels that could not be touched by Tums, Gaviscon, strategic meal-planning, or moaning. Old wives' tales took this to mean that you would be born with a full head of hair. With a little bit of logic and a whole lot of dumbfounded head-shaking, your Dad had disproved this theory before you even came, but you did him one better by making it to thirteen months (and counting!) with nothing on your head but the sort of peach fuzz that a fifteen year old boy would barely consider a beard. Daddy is proud of your dedication to scientific accuracy.

Anyway! It was 7 am, and I was wondering whether or not this would be the day, when it occurred to me that my water had broken. Actually, it occurred to me that maybe my water had broken? I couldn't really tell? Because sitcoms and movies make it out to be a gush of bucket-sized proportions, big and forceful enough to soak the shoes of bystanders and cue a dramatic, definitive start to labour, whereas this was far less commanding and decisive. It was more of a trickle: slow, unhurried, not at all urgent. I could not know it then, but that meandering water foreshadowed the theme of your entrance, which would stop and start and resist rushing over the next 24 hours. A call to our kind doctor friend Holly confirmed my suspicions - my water had in fact broken, and the wheels were set in motion. Resist as you might, it was time to come. 

Part two to follow. I'm going to take a page from your book and do this at my own pace. Deal.


  1. Beautiful and moving. I'm sure Sam will appreciate this when he's older, just as we are appreciating it now. Wonderful idea - I'm envious and afraid to try it myself, though perhaps inspired.