It is that day again. It arrives always with much anticipation, for him and for me. And now, for the others who fill up our house with chatter and love. It is September 11. Davis was born on this day, or shall I say this morning, at 2:18 a.m. His father Devin and I had been traveling in Portland, Oregon, but upon my hitting my mark of 5 out of 7 sevens of being in labor, we hurriedly checked out of our hotel and raced back towards Oceanside, our little retreat on the Oregon Coast. We didn’t quite make it to our home, which is OK because the hospital was on our way and we thought we should stop there first, and have our baby – considering we had no knowledge of that process ourselves.
As a newborn, Davis arrived in true Davis fashion which over the years, he has come to be known for being first up, despite the last to bed , or at least later than me. He has arisen early, dressed for his first baseball game of the year, then plodded into my room, to let me know he was ready – three hours before the umpires would be.
Davis original due date was October 5, 1996. And now, here he was, wanting to show up a little early, maybe check out the competition, of which there would be none for many years to come, or perhaps he was just hungry.
As a newborn almost premie , the doctor recommended I feed him every two hours. Anyone who has ever had a look at my breasts, with or without shirt on, will testify to the fact that this is nearly impossible. I tried nonetheless. The Tillamook visiting nurse association even brought in a contraption that came straight out of Dr’ Suess’ Horton here’s a Who. We were running out of strategies, so I switched him to formula instead. I promised him as a mother that he could always rely upon me, no matter the situation, but apparently, I forgot about failing him within the first six weeks. The two hour feedings were brutal, in particular, because his father traveled through the week, though helped out tremendously on the weekends.
I have to say, he may eat fast now, because I always encouraged him to drink up when he was a baby, knowing, that I could put him down, somewhere, a stroller, a nap, the floor, and have some time to myself. I also have to say, he still eats every two hours. So it is true that the first five years determine so much about a child later in life.
But what a day it was. Prior to giving birth, Davis was the breech position. There is a well-known technique that doctors can perform which will allow the doctor to attempt through massage to turn the baby in the womb. Apparently, the doctor had lost sight of my frame, what with the extra 28 pounds and all, and did not see that there was really no room for him to move. He head was stuck beneath my upper rib cage, and when Dr. Saylor attempted to turn him, I thought my ribs would bust, and not in a funny way. I soon put a stop to that, loud screaming will do that to a doctor, and we decided to “go for” the C-section instead.
This of course, involved a not so small incision 5 inches below my belly button, the number of inches grows each year, depending on my stomach size. I recall making friends with the anesthesiologist on staff, or maybe he was making nice with me, especially if he heard about the screaming incident earlier with Dr. Saylor. When the surgery was complete, I had delivered a 5 pound baby boy. I could never imagine that someone or thing that had caused so much physical pain, caused me to grimace every time I made a move to the bathroom, that he could bring me so much joy.
He woke this morning to the sounds of his grandparents, grandpa wick playing the piano and the two of them signing Happy Birthday, as recorded on my cell phone. Can’t wait to see the phone bill for that message. Unfortunately, Davis day also began with that fact that his stepsister’s mom had died on September 11, and a suggestion from school that he wear red, white and blue, in honor of September 11th attacks.
“Why did I have to be born on a bad day?” Davis always asks. And I tell him, “First, you came into this world before that happened, and second, you were born on this day, as a reminder, that good things happened too.” With so many dates that we honor for something tragic, we have to find a reason to go on. He is that reason to go on.