My baby boy is 21 today, and I cannot believe it. Twenty-one years ago, at 8:10 am he made his silent entry into the world. Premature, cord wrapped around his neck, tiny face as blue as a Smurf. The pediatrician who was in the delivery room immediately began resuscitation and after 12 of the longest minutes of my life at that point, he wiggled and made a tiny sound, like a little whimper. It reminded me of the sound a newborn puppy makes.
I was alone in the delivery room since his father had abandoned us months before. I remember lying there looking at this huge clock on the wall, as it ticked away the minutes, tears streaming down my face, and (funny now) steam rising from the oxygen mask. At 8:35, they finally laid him in my arms and he opened his dark eyes for a minute, looking at me as if to say "well I am here, I'm not impressed, and I am going back to sleep"! (He still looks that way pretty often... :-) He then snuggled up to me and slept for the next hour, with a miniature oxygen mask on his tiny little face. I was so worried because he hadn't cried, but believe me, when he woke up he made up for it! He let everyone in the area know that he was there, alive, and very unhappy! But after getting his tummy full and more snuggling, he drifted off again, happy as could be.
He weighed 8 lbs, 2 ozs at birth, and yes he was 3 & 1/2 weeks early. We were at the pediatrician's office for a checkup on his "due date", and he weighed 10 pounds on-the-nose. The doctor looked at me and said "this is what you would have had if you had gone full term!"
The night I was in the labor room, there was a bomb threat in the hospital. I was not told anything about it until the next day, but my family and friends had to be evacuated, and I heard the "bomb dog" walk through. I asked the nurse why there was a dog in the hospital and she said "must be a service animal". Quick thinking on her part! She stayed with me the entire time, which was risking her life had there been a real bomb, but she never complained and later told me it was her duty. That is dedication! I have never forgotten the kindness that she and the others at the hospital showed me that night.
So today, as my baby boy turns 21, I am reminiscing... thinking back over the past 21 years which have gone by in a blur, faster than I would have ever thought possible. We've had our ups and downs, but through it all we had each other and I could not ask for a better son. He is spirited and questions everything, handsome and strong, kind-hearted and chivalrous, born 3 decades too late (he would have loved the 50s), and one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of talking with. He is also quick-tempered and grumpy at times (lest you believe him to be perfect!) hates to mow the yard and refuses to keep his room clean, but he has become a young man of whom I am very proud, and I love him with all my heart.