It wasn't until late afternoon on Jack's birthday when my thoughts went there. Although I find myself dwelling on it less and less as the years go by, it's still there in the back of my mind. I went to the moment when I was told I would have to deliver him so, so early or I would die. Around 4pm on May 15, 2009 the nurses brought in extra pillows to surround me in the bed (they were concerned I was about to experience eclamptic seizures) and through tears the doctor told me that Jack was not viable as a 23 weeker, but alas, I could not remain pregnant. Such is the scourge of preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. Delivery of the baby is the only way to save mom's life. Or you both die. Even as Jack was turning seven, I briefly paused, remembered, looked at the clock, and then went on my merry way. I only thought about Jack's birth one more time, around 8:45pm. That's right around the moment when he was born. When we heard his tiny voice wail. It shocked everyone that a one pounder could make such a noise. Then he was quickly intubated and our four month crash course in the neonatal ICU began. But enough about that. We have a seven year old boy to celebrate.
Birthdays are tricky, bittersweet things. Thoughts and memories come and go. But birthdays get better. In fact, a lot better.
Since Jack could care less about loud celebrations and birthday cake, we did what he likes. After a quick search for "big indoor pool at hotel" (which is kind of a hard find in Montana) we headed over to Bozeman for a weekend of swimming, Jack's favorite. Pure joy in the pool, I tell ya.
I kept looking at Jon wondering how in the world we happened to get the best child in the universe as our very own. I wish everyone could experience his joy, his sparkle, his love, his affection. He is sweet in every sense of the word. And he's also fiery and opinionated. He's so strong. He clears every hurdle with gusto. He had a hard year with his hip surgery, but he takes what life hands him and continues to be that same fighter he was when he was born.
Seven years old is a big deal. There were so many days when Jack was younger where I imagined, longed, and pleaded for him to get to be a kid. I prayed for the day where he would be strong and healthy enough to just live his life free from hospital walls or our own walls of RSV isolation. And here we are. There is so much to celebrate.
Happy Birthday, Jack. We love you so much.