The above pictured is my oldest son. His name is Ayden and he is 6 years old. He was born in October of 2007 – and in my first encounter with him – I was not awake.
I am one of the 2% of the population that fails when it comes to enduring an epidural. My body did not take the medication. When my induction did not go as planned and we headed for an emergency c-section, all I remember was I felt being sliced open and began screaming. I was screaming for help – yelling to stop.
I was immediately put to sleep.
I woke up two hours later to see my first born son by my side. I had missed his first breaths, his first cries. I had always dreamed of seeing and feeling a baby born – and I missed my very first experience.
Today Ayden is an active and passionate child. After myself and his father divorced – Ayden began living full-time with his daddy and not me. As heartbroken as I was – it’s the way things were at the time, and still are, 3 and a half years later after the separation.
I now have 3 children total. Ayden, his sister Mina who is 4, and my son by my now husband – Jonah is 10 months old. Ayden and Mina come for visits every other weekend for two days. I cherish these moments with their precious hearts – the way they reach for me.
My first encounter with a person this morning was, in fact, with my son, Ayden. He has always loved to sleep near me since he was 7 months old. The past years without being able to do so on a daily basis has been difficult for him. This morning I found myself at the foot of my Queen bed – Ayden’s feet in my face while I was in a fetal position trying to remain comfortable. Both him and his sister had wet the bed.
In an attempt to clean this while sleepwalking I apparently changed both of them, but left a towel underneath instead of changing the sheets. I giggle snorted a bit waking up with his feet in my face, while my legs were hovered over the side of the bed – feet curled in a painful position. My back was cracking, aching – my neck was stiff, and my head felt like I had taken a few blows from Mike Tyson.
Yet as I awoke and turned to move his feet – his little face was staring back at me.
“May I have Fruity Pebbles?” he asked.
“What time is it?” I grumbled.
He picked up my phone, turned it on, and in his smart – 1st grade voice – retorted “it’s 7:30. I’m hungry. You’re sleeping late.”
I remember laughing that deep, low sneer of mine that I often do when I’m being sarcastic. Yes, I wanted to sleep late, as a parent – he’s right, the kid is a smart dude, 7:30 is late.
“Sure, sweetheart. You may have some Fruity Pebbles.”
He smiled. He grabbed his sister in excitement and told her he would be back with their favorite breakfast and they would then choose a movie to snuggle up with mommy and watch.
It’s those moments I cherish, I thought. Despite being tired, having missed a dose of my medication, hardly slept at all without being overwhelmed with the scent of urine and dirty socks …
I woke up to my baby – the baby boy that I never heard his first cries, or saw his first breath – and I was never the first person to hold him.
But I will always be his mommy – and when he came back up with his Fruity Pebbles, he grabbed me and hugged me.
“I love you, Mommy.”
“I love you too, buddy.”
He knew that the moment he popped out – even if it wasn’t my words that he heard first. Mine will always mean the most – even if it’s simply a “yes, sweetheart” – when asking for his favorite cereal. These are cherished encounters.