Tate Elliot is my only child whose birth weight I cannot recall due to being entirely out of it. He was about 9 pounds, and that’s all I know, as I can’t find the hospital details. It seems rather typical seeing as he’s the sixth kid and all. I remember the anesthesiologist coming in an hour and a half before he was born, wearing a sports jacket and a diamond earring, and me slumping over to offer him my back with great relief. The hospital was swarming with babies that day and he was called in on his day off to assist the likes of me. I was relieved to see him but felt he was really too late; I had already done most the laboring by then.
The days leading up to that moment were unbelievably intense. There were places in my living room I couldn’t sit for a couple weeks after, as it reminded me of the crippling back labor (shooting pain down my legs like severe sciatica). The places you go in your mind to endure pain like that… I knew something was amiss, and I feared another hard labor that would tailspin me into fibromyalgia once again. Bodies and minds can break, that’s for sure.
I had started labor 2 days before, and hadn’t slept a wink since, thus my desperate shuffle into the ER as a person off the street. It was not our birth plan. I had already labored on my bed, a birthing ball, the couch, in the shower, and in a birthing tub. Tim made some frantic calls and raced over to Tontitown to pick up the tub late in the evening of night number 2. It was our last ditch effort to get the baby out. I remember sitting in the tub he had inflated and filled, in the middle of the kitchen, watching the digital time on the microwave and counting contractions. Still 5 minutes apart and hard as hell, but nothing closer. I never moved beyond that. At that point, had my contractions picked up, I doubt I would have had the strength to push. I was absolutely depleted of all resources. I cried the fire tears that are reserved for mama’s exhausted by labor. The burning kind that make no sound for the fear they would hurt.
We finally decided, it was time to go to the hospital. Tim googled his insurance to see if a birth was even covered. You’d think we would have had the plan B in place after being aware of what can happen – but no – we were just as clueless as if it were baby number one. Childbirth has a way of making you feel as though you’ve never done it before, and maybe because each child is a new and different experience. So, I threw some things in a bag and hobbled to the car in the pitch black of twilight.
Now to my youngest son: It was the afternoon of that day, December 13th, before you were born, Tater Bug. That part is still fuzzy. I remember two pushes and the cheer of birth. I didn’t even feel my legs, much less your exit. I only felt relief that you were there, and well. Sunny-side up babies can take awhile to come; guess it was fitting that you came when the sun was out. We had done belly sifting and all sorts of concocted things to roll you in utero, but to no avail. Babies do what they want.
Nothing has changed six years later. You’re the pickiest, most particular, and stubbornest little guy (yet, so tender and affectionate). There are just a few things you will not bow to, and I only hope those come in time as you MUST eat better foods, and not hold your poo. I can see you now, reading these words as a teenager, and cringing that I even alluded to such taboo. I’m sorry in advance, but you must know how hard we have tried to cure you of these. I promise to foot the counseling bill, if you find yourself in need of therapy for having us as parents.
Tater Nater, Widdle Mister, Brother Bear, Doopa, Bro… you are still a joy of a boy. You are now reading words and using impressive ones in your every day talk. Your tiny frame simply means you seem younger longer, and I guess there’s nothing bad about that. I’m sure in some ways you’re getting the leftovers of a mom and dad who’ve already been parenting for 20+ years. And yet, you also reap the rewards that are exclusive to the babies of the family. That mostly translates to more screen time than the others, less resistance from us, and getting your way more often than not. Please turn out amazing, OK? We love you a million thousand. Happy 6th Birthday!