This is Where Christmas Magic Is

When I recall special holiday moments, one of the most magical was the birth of my son in December of 1974.

When my pregnancy was confirmed in the spring of 1974, I was 22, single and living with my sister in a small mobile home in Tempe, Arizona.  The first doctor I saw told me I was due around the end of November (I was later given a couple of dates in December, of which one was right on target). I was scared and nervous, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was no longer involved with the father and my job as a maid at a nearby hotel was minimum wage without health insurance. Completely unprepared for becoming a parent, I could only imagine what being pregnant during the extreme heat of the desert valley in Arizona and walking to work was going to be like.

After talking with my sister and my mom, I came to the conclusion that I was going to become a mother. I knew I couldn’t remain in my current living and employment situation. It would be in my baby’s best interest to move in with my parents who lived in the suburbs of Mesa. Our family was close, so convincing my parents that I should live with them was the easiest part of my journey to parenthood.  Excited with my decision, I quit my job, packed my belongings and moved. It felt strange living with my parents again because I had been on my own since I was 171/2.

The first two trimesters of my pregnancy were tough as I dealt with a serious case of morning sickness. For some reason all I could eat was ice cream and drink milk shakes, not the best thing for a healthy pregnancy.  What I loved most about being pregnant was feeling my baby’s body move and seeing his little hands and feet push outward as he grew bigger.  I spent part of my time allowing my imagination to flow I read, embroidered and the artist in me emerged; I created several drawings in pastels and charcoal.

When I got to my third trimester, I felt great.  I made up for what I couldn’t eat in the first two; I gained weight and began waddling like a duck. My baby gained weight too, I was huge.  In my eighth month my mom hosted a baby shower for me to be sure that I had everything I needed to have a sweet baby‘s room.

December 5th was my 23rd birthday, my due date was December 7th.  I decided to celebrate on the 6th so my sister, who would have that day off from work, could join us for the festivities.  At my visiting midwife’s suggestion I had been walking around the block daily, mopping the floors on my hands and knees and doing whatever I could to encourage labor.

When my sister arrived, we sat down to a beautiful steak dinner.  As soon as we finished our meal, mom brought out the birthday cake. I suddenly felt a strange pain and an urge to run to the bathroom.  Just as I made it to the bathroom my water broke and my labor began.  My “pains” were three minutes apart from the start.  Completely unprepared for this to take place so soon, I called my doctor who told me to go to the hospital immediately.

After nearly 24 long and arduous hours of labor, the nurses identified a problem because I wasn’t making progress.  They brought in a monitoring machine to observe my baby’s heart rate and track his breathing.  I was in tears and exhausted when they finally wheeled me into the delivery room.  I began to push and nothing happened.  The doctor called for an anesthesiologist to “put me under” so they could help my baby out with forceps. I had no idea, but the doctor realized that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my baby’s neck.  Scott Aaron was finally born in the wee hours of December 7, at 8lbs, 8oz.; his beautiful little face was blue so the nurses took him to the room with the premature babies.

I was nervous but elated and couldn’t have imagined a more perfect time give birth to my son.  When they finally brought him to me, he had all of his fingers and toes, a robust cry; he was very healthy. My first Christmas gift from my beautiful son was when he smiled at me at just a few days old.

Even though it was a couple of weeks before the actual holiday, Scott was the best Christmas present I had ever gotten.  Our first Christmas was spent in the “arms” of my loving family; it was the epitome of a perfect holiday dream come true. Everyone was wonderful, they had put gifts under the tree for my new baby along with the couple of small gifts that I’d bought for him.  As I reflect back on that beautiful holiday season, I still feel the incredible joy and love that transformed my life forever.

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