Hoorah for the Birthday Boy

As I recall, that's one of the choruses in "Pirates of Penzance"...

One year ago at 11:53p.m., Daniel was born. Rather than doing a long, involved birth story full of TMI and details that, really, no one cares about, I'll share some of the highlights:

1. My due date was Feb. 6. I was completely miserable the last six weeks of pregnancy, and my pessimistic self was fully expecting this baby to be two weeks late. You can imagine my surprise when my water broke at Target at 4:00 that afternoon.

2. I did my shopping anyway (we really needed toilet paper.) When I got home, before I even called Stuart at work, I took a shower. I just, you know, felt a little grimy.

3. Contractions started 2 hours later, we were checked in the hospital by 10p.m., and cheerfully expected to have a baby sometime in the middle of the night. My, were we wrong about that.

4. I endured 20 hours of back labor before I started begging for relief. Back labor, for the less informed in these matters, is when the baby is turned "sunny-side up," and pressing on your back, so you feel the contractions the mostly in your lower back, rather than just the abdomen. It's not pleasant.

5. So despite my great intentions to deliver a baby without drugs (I'd already had a shot of narcotics 12 hours into labor so I could get some rest, not to mention my husband and my doula), I got an epidural.

6. An epidural is the best thing EVER. Never mind that you're confined to the bed, and you can't feel your legs and you can't even turn on one side without a nurse's aid, and you have to get a catheter and be hooked up to all kinds of monitors and machines. E-p-i-d-u-r-a-l spells r-e-l-i-e-f. Oh, did I mention I recognized the anesthesiologist? His daughter had, at one time, been a piano student of mine. Even though I was naked and sweaty and gasping with pain, this registered with me when he walked in the room. Either I was unrecognizable or he is quite the professional, because it never came up in our conversation (which mainly consisted of him saying "All right, now I'm injecting this needle into your spine...").

7. A full nine hours after the epidural was administered, it was finally time to push. Dudes, I was ready. I had been in labor for 29 hours, seen three shifts' worth of nurses ("Oh, you're still here?"), and my doula said I was approaching her record for length of time spent in the hospital for one labor. So even though I really couldn't feel anything below my sternum, I pushed like it was going out of style, and 45 minutes later, at 9lbs even, 20.5" long, immediately demonstrating his healthy set of lungs, Daniel was born.

Now, just a year later, what can Daniel do? Well, he can walk (he's been quite adept at that for a month already), he can clap and bounce in rhythm to music, he can feed me Cheerios (though he refuses to feed them to himself), he can unscrew lids, he can scrawl on the chalkboard (and the wall and the door and the chair) with chalk, he can correctly identify his belly, his foot and the clock at least 75% of the time, and just yesterday he figured out (accidentally, I think) how to turn on the TV with the remote. He cycled through several channels before settling on Dr. Phil. He can also melt your heart with his 4-tooth smile, a wave of his hand, and a Daniel-sized hug.

Happy Birthday, Daniel. We couldn't be prouder of you.


Animal said…
Happy Birthday, big guy! You were born into a fascinating world, where total strangers read about your daily activities and feel like they know you. Great photo, by the way...one to share with your date for the senior prom in 16 short years!

Suze: 29 HOURS of labor?!? Gawd, I'm not tellin' Tess THAT!
Jenn Hacker said…
Animal, you use the nekked baby pics for the prom date. C'mon, you better start boning up on your "blackmail parenting 101" as you'll soon have one of your own.

Oh, and Suze, I bow to you, the labor queen. Jamethan only took 27 hours to come into the world. So Daniel outlasted him by two hours. Needless to say, I can TOTALLY identify with your remarks on giving birth!

Happy birthday, Daniel!
Pam said…
Happy Birthday, Daniel! I was so sad to leave Madison because I thought I wouldn't get to see you grow up, but thanks to the internet (!!) I feel ALMOST like I've been there all along! :-) I'm SO impressed with your labor story, Suze. Yikes!! Ow!
katie said…
Congratulations to you and Stu on the first year! There's something really wonderful about those baby days, but in some ways, it just gets better! I LOVE the 1 year old stage. Enjoy!
Becca said…
Happy birthday, Daniel! I hope I get to meet you someday.

And as for labor, I had five days of induction attempts before CJ entered the world. I win. Not that there was a contest or anything. Epidurals, indeed, are wonderful things.
Suze said…
5 DAYS? Holy crapola, becca. I was glad when my water broke before labor started b/c I knew it meant the baby had to be born within 24 hours (or close to it).

indeed, this isn't a contest. for as long as it took, there weren't significant complications. a c-section was never mentioned and the delivery itself went very smoothly without forceps or other interventions, and i'm grateful for that.
Steph said…
Here are my memories from last year this time: Suze calling me from Target, saying, "uhhh, I think my WATER JUST BROKE." I longed to rush to Target, but as it was in Madison, Wisconsin and I was in Lawrence, Kansas, I just stared at the phone and danced around for around 29 hours. Then Suze called again, and said, "Well, it--," and then we were cut off, without her getting to say "--was a baby," or "was a boy," or "was 29 hours of hell," or anything. So I tried to call back, and got her voicemail, and panicked for awhile, until she called and announced that it was a boy and his name was Daniel. And I think after "woohoo!!" I said something like, "Does that mean the name Thomas is still up for grabs?"

Happy birthday, squirt. :)
andre said…
Happy birthday, Daniel! Hope they only get better and better for you. . you're parents seem pretty cool, and seem to have pretty good heads on their shoulders, so that bodes well for ya!
Mrs. Ann said…
Happy birthday!
Thorny said…
Happy (belated) birthday, Daniel!
Bobita~ said…
What a beautiful tribute to an ADORABLE little Daniel!

I am sooooo with you on the epidural front! I have had 3 tiny people make their way out my nethers. THANK GOD for the genius who, years ago, thought it might be a good idea to poke a needle in someone's spine!! That genius ought to be sainted, or knighted or something-ed!!

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