As I prepare for my son’s birthday next weekend, I can’t help but become a little emotional thinking about the last four years. I will never forget the feeling of pure fear mixed with elation and disbelief the first time that Positive appeared on the pregnancy test. Standing over my husband’s sleeping body at 6:00 am on Friday, March 4th, 2011. Wondering if I should wake him immediately, or if I should dry my hair first? Maybe I should take a second test just to be sure..
That feeling didn’t go away with each test. Yes I took about 27 tests those first few days. A girl has to be sure of these things. Most girls spend years trying not to get pregnant (so I’ve heard) – so it’s quite a shocking feeling when you DO try and it happens right away.
I’ll also never forget the feeling of despair driving home from our first (emergency) OBGYN appointment two weeks later, when we learned that our baby’s heartbeat should have been found on the ultrasound – and it wasn’t. Our doctor prepared us for the worst. My HCG levels should have been higher. The heartbeat should have been visible. This was quite common. We could always try again. So sorry.
I thank God every day for Cooper. We didn’t think we would ever get to meet him. Miracles happen every day, and he’s our amazing miracle. To this day, one of his favorite games is hide and seek. Our next ultrasound two weeks later was a day we were dreading. We would know for sure after that appointment what fate had in store. We left knowing: a beautiful, beautiful baby with a beautiful heartbeat, right there on the screen for us to see.
So you see, my little man has been extraordinary from the start.
To help us prepare for this little genius, Chad and I enrolled in a childbirth class. We learned a lot of valuable information in this class, including:
- The phenomenon of one’s water breaking is extremely rare, especially in first pregnancies. IF, for some strange reason, it does happen – and it really, really won’t – don’t be fooled by what you see on television. Most people don’t even realize their water has broken. There’s such minimal drainage, it’s not even noticeable. But it won’t happen anyway, so why waste time talking about it?
- For one’s first pregnancy, expect to go past your due date. First babies never come early. You’ll be waddling around way past 40 weeks, girl.
- Expect labor to last at least 24 hours. Probably longer. Stay at home. Rent movies. Order pizza. Enjoy those last hours of agonizing labor pain before the real joy of parenthood begins. Don’t rush to the hospital. You’ll have all the time in the world.
Here is what I experienced:
- My water broke at 3:00 in the morning. Trickle, my ass.
- This event happened 2 weeks and 1 day early. Which is noteworthy because the triage nurse at the hospital had to run MORE tests to see if it really was amniotic fluid and I wasn’t just wetting myself. I was pretty annoyed by that.
- My entire labor, from water breaking to screaming, smushy baby on my belly – lasted about 8 hours.
Cooper, you’re always full of surprises 🙂
I could go on, and on, and on, and on about my pregnancy and childbirth. I could tell you that I went through a phase where I ate nothing but oranges for about 3 days straight. I could tell you that it was the BEST sleep I’ve ever had in my life coming home from work that first trimester and sleeping from 5 pm until 6 am the next morning. I could tell you about the dreams, but I think I’ve only shared those details with my bff Lindsey. I could tell you about the hippie book I read that empowered me to deny epidurals, pain medication, and strive to give birth naturally on a farm. (Thanks, Ina May). I could tell you every last detail of what it felt like to give birth (don’t worry, I’ll save that for another time). I have so many memories during that time, but nothing compares to all we’ve experienced now that Cooper is here with us.
My baby says and does things every day that fills my heart with happiness and pride. That is also something that I could go on, and on, and on, and on about. I love absolutely everything about this little man. To celebrate him turning “the big four,” I want to share some of the very special things that have made us laugh, made us proud, made us wonder – where on earth did he learn that?! In other words, some of the things that make this little boy so amazing:
- He could roll over by 2 weeks of age. Baby. Genius.
- When Coop was a few months old, Chad used to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider to him. He would stick out his lower lip and start bawling. Every time.
- Coop was sleeping through the night by 6 months of age. Always so considerate.
- When Coop was 3, his favorite movie was the Lorax. One night, without being prompted, he dressed himself up like the Onceler, grabbed his guitar, and put on a concert of How Bad Can It Be? He nailed it. Knew every word. I just know this kid will either grow up to be a surgeon, or a rock star. It’s going to happen.
- His all-time favorite song is Bye Bye Bye – by NSync.
- His second all-time favorite song is That Girl, by Justin Timberlake. He knows every single word. I’m not exaggerating. He even has all the “hmmms” and the “oh yeahs” down.
- Last Easter – his preschool had an Easter-egg hunt. When the kids were finished, Coop noticed that a little girl didn’t have very many eggs in her basket. Without being asked, he dumped a bunch of his eggs into her basket. <3<3<3
- He is the best soccer player I have ever seen. Beckhams got nothing on this kid.
- He started going through a phase this year in which he wants to grow up and marry me. In a non-creepy way, I’ll be completely heartbroken when he finds another true love and takes back his proposal.
- He loves yoga.
- He’s obsessed with working out. Loves the “tread-meal.”
- He can count in Spanish.
- He uses words like, “fantastic!” and “marvelous!”
- He tells me I’m his best friend and that he loves me “eleven.”
- He can eat an entire container of strawberries in one setting.
- He can throw a football better than anyone his age.
- He throws the most powerful temper tantrums I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of. They’re horrendous.
- He once called Chad a “goose bag.” Think about it.
- He puts on the best superhero concerts.
- He tells everyone that God built him this way – when they ask where his red hair came from.
- He wants to pray at every meal, and now at bedtime <3<3
- He’s way too into girls, already.
- One day (somewhat recently) I came home from a really bad day at work. I might have been crying just a little bit. I kid you not – this is the conversation that transpired:
- Coop: “What’s wrong, mommy?”
- Me: “I’m just a little sad.”
- Coop: “Why are you sad?”
- Me: “Work makes me a little sad sometimes.”
- Coop: “But why does work make you sad?”
- Me: “Oh, honey. It just does.”
- Coop: “But mommy. You should do things at work that make you happy.”
- ————- Best advice I’ve ever received.
- He is the best thing I’ve ever done. We’ve ever done. Chad. Thank you for him.
I could go on for days. These last four years have been the most exhausting, challenging days I’ve ever experienced. And they’ve been the best. I wouldn’t trade one minute for anything. I am so excited for this birthday celebration and every birthday for years to come. This little man is a miracle <3.
If you have a favorite Coop story, please share in a comment!