And then, one dreary, rainy day in October of 2009, we had a yard sale.
My OB had warned against it. She was pretty sure that scheduling a yard sale for the Saturday of my 39th week of pregnancy was a surefire way of having my baby on the Friday of my 39th week of pregnancy, and she wasn't going to be in the office that day. Don't worry, I assured her: I'm not having this baby until I rid myself of this unnecessary clutter.
And I didn't! We had the yard sale, made a few hundred bucks, and I went into labor that night.
My baby was proving himself to be a very considerate and convenient baby and I was basking in my good fortune as my contractions came, every hour on the hour, all night long. The next day, Sunday, October 11, 2009, my labor continued very evenly and comfortably. We were at home, enjoying an unseasonably warm day with the Big-Brother-to-Be and a bunch of the neighbors who were getting a kick out of timing my contractions.
Finally, at about 5 pm, Sam and I decided to mosey on into Labor and Delivery for a long night of laboring and delivering.
Oh, no we didn't.
By 5:15 I was out of my mind in labor. By the time we reached the hospital at 5:30 I was 5 cm. My contractions were coming so close together and were so intense that baby's heartrate was plummeting. There were too many nurses in the room and the doctor didn't leave my side. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew it wasn't good. I was given an oxygen mask and told to relax and breathe. Then I heard the words "emergency cesarean" and something bigger than me erupted: "DON'T TALK ABOUT A C-SECTION," I roared, "I'm having this baby HERE." I was given an injection of an asthma medication....something that relaxes the lungs during an asthma attack. It had the same effect on my uterus and was able to slow down the labor to allow the baby to make the progress he needed to.
That was all it took. Calm once again came over me and Maxwell Keenan Harris was born at 9:15 pm...blood in his lungs, partial placental abruption and all. It was fast, furious, chaotic, and frantic....and I was thisclose to emergency surgery. I thought, with an entrance into the world like THAT, we were in for a doozy of a time with this kid.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Max is calm. Max is even. Max is strong-willed and persistent yet flexible and changing. Max is my eyes-sparkling, tight-hugging, belly-laughing, ever-contented little Buddha Baby. He is my brick. He has the fattest feet I've ever seen. His ears have these perfect little imperfect folds in the tops. He lights up when he sees his brother and melts into me when he's sleepy. He is leading us along the way towards becoming a Big Boy....but still lets me rock him to sleep. When he's happy he's ear-to-ear grinning and shrieking with delight. When he's sad, he's absolutely perfected the Offended Baby Sob.
Max is a talker. He was an early babbler...trying to get a word in edgewise with his brother. Now he talks for communication, for self-amusement, and for the comedy. If ever there's a lull in the conversation, you can be sure that a hearty "GOMP GOMP GOMP" is on the tip of his tongue. Max is an artist. Give him a crayon, a piece of chalk, spaghetti sauce on his tray, anything.....and he'll create something beautiful....even if it's just the look of pride and satisfaction on his face as he admires his own work. Max is the kind of baby that turns heads. I'm not just saying that he's gorgeous because he's mine--this baby is the Uncontested Kind of Gorgeous. But it's not just his features: Max is charming. If he catches your glance, he'll reel you in with a Just-Try-to-Look-Away Stare. He looks at you with just the hint of a smile....so you'll work to get that smile to spread, but you won't have to work hard. He had you at Hello.
Max has made me a more relaxed Mommy. He's a laid-back, easy-going, it's-all-alright kind of kid. I want to be just like him when I grow up.....only, not quite so bald.
Max had the ability, in his very first millisecond of existence on this earth, to stretch my heart to twice it's size. I had worried during my pregnancy about Loving Two....how could I possibly love another with the strength and ferocity that I love my One at home? And then I touched him, saw him, and heard him in that first moment of life and the question became: How could I not? The amazing thing to me remains the fact that my love for my two is equal in that I love them both with every ounce of my being....but I love them differently. I am a different Mommy to Max than I am to Evan. That could be because they are of different ages...or in different ranks in the birth order sequence (I'm an "experienced" Mommy this time around)...or maybe it's because they could not BE more different from one another. Whatever the reason: it feels right....and it feels as if it's always been this way. Was there really a time in my life before Max? Maybe not...maybe he was always with me....I just hadn't met him yet.
In hindsight, I still feel like waiting those 15 months to meet my Max felt like an eternity. And, of course, the 12 months he's been with me have passed as quickly as a blink. SLOW DOWN, TIME! Thank goodness for digital photography and the ability to capture those 12 months of memories on film....and set it to music:
Happy, Happy First Birthday to my sweet baby Max. I love you, my little fat Buddha Baby!