This One’s for Jeremy

Since today is my son’s birthday, I’ll make today’s theme post about him.  When Jeremy was born, my hospital room number was 356.  At the time, Florida had only recently enlisted “Cash 3” in its lottery games.  I’ve never been one to play the lottery very often, but perhaps about once a year, I play for fun.  However, that day, I told my family we should play 356 on a Cash 3 that night.  (This was odd for me, because I’ve never been one to take the numbers given to me by any particular event, but rather I prefer to select them myself.)  No one listened to me, and of course I was in no position to go out and buy a ticket.  Well, you guessed it…  That was the number that won that night!  It was a $117 payout for a $1 ticket.

In 2003, when Jeremy was nine, we lived in Orlando.  Whenever a space shuttle would launch, if it was during work or school hours, his school would go outside to watch as it took off, and my co-workers and I would stand at the windows and watch.

On January 16, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched.  At the time, I was watching out my office window, and Jeremy was with his class out on the field.  A short time later, Jeremy’s third grade teacher called me and asked me to come pick him up.  (This was not unusual, because with his Asperger’s Syndrome, he frequently disrupted his class.)  She said that ever since the shuttle took off, Jeremy started telling everyone that would listen that the shuttle was, “Not ever going to come back to earth,” and that several children in his class were quite upset by his repeating this.  At the time, neither his teacher or I (or Jeremy) had watched the news where it was reported that less than two minutes after the shuttle took off, a large piece of it broke off.

For the next several days, Jeremy was like a broken record as he looked into the sky and emotionlessly said, “That shuttle’s never coming back.”   (With Asperger’s Syndrome, he has little to no empathy and had no clue why he was being offensive or inappropriate.)  He kept saying it so often that his teacher phoned me several more times to try to make him stop.

Well, of course you already know the rest.  On February 1, 2003, the shuttle blew up upon reentry to the atmosphere!  Upon hearing the news, Jeremy simply said, “I knew it,” and he never spoke of it again.

Talk to me:  Do you remember the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster?  What space shuttle event do you remember most, and where were you when it occurred?  If a kid in your third grade class made such a bold prediction, would it have frightened you?

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!

Today, Monday, October 27, 2014, my son Jeremy turns twenty-one years old.

When I was pregnant with Jeremy, just as with my daughter, I had severe hyperemesis, and I was constantly in the hospital getting IV’s for my dehydration and shots for my nausea.  Even water made me puke.  I lost nearly twenty-five pounds during the course of this pregnancy.

I worked as a cake decorator part-time and went to college full-time when I got pregnant, but because of all my nausea, I had to quit the job and rearrange my school schedule.

By the time I was eight months pregnant, I was taking classes only two days a week both mornings and nights. My Tuesday and Thursday night class was Business Communications.  When we started that class, the instructor told us that she’d take a letter grade off if we missed one class.  Furthermore, she said she’d never given an A for that class in as long as she taught it, so we could already only count on a B.  At the time, I was on the Dean’s List and was quite proud of my 4.0 average, so I was already upset that I might lose points just because this teacher was a hard nose.

I had Algebra that Tuesday morning, and during class, I felt a few contractions.  However, I’d experienced so many false alarms when I was pregnant with my daughter four years previously, I didn’t want to go to the hospital and be sent home, not to mention waste my day sitting in a hospital.

By that evening’s class, my labor felt like it was quite intense.  But it was still almost a month until my due date, so I wasn’t sure how to proceed.  I told my friend who was in a different class that I might need her to drive me to the hospital.

As I sat in Business Communications, my mind was not on my work.  Finally the teacher stopped speaking and asked me if I was okay.  I told her I thought I was in labor, and she gasped.  “Well, why are you here?  You should be at the hospital!  Go!”

I said, “I don’t want to be marked down to a C for missing a class.”

She chuckled and told me that childbirth was an acceptable exception to her rule.

I got my friend out of her class, and we left for the hospital.  They admitted me and told me I was in full-blown labor.  My contractions were constant without any downtime in between.  They asked me if I wanted an epidural, and I told them not to bother because it didn’t work when I had my daughter.  They told me the epidurals were improved since then, and advised me to have one since my labor was so intense.

After they put me on the waiting list for the epidural man to come around, I got bumped to the top because I dilated so quickly.  But just like before, the epidural didn’t take, and I felt everything.  Also just like before, I had no desire to push, and there was no way they were going to make me push that huge thing out of me for all the money in the world! Also just like before, the doctor had to break my water again, only this time I knew what to expect.  I knew he’d be coming at me with an eleven foot long needle.  So, when he came at me with a sandpaper hand glove instead, I freaked yet again! More than half a day since I was dilated and ready, I finally gathered enough courage to push, and Jeremy was born at 11:41 Wednesday morning.  His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck three times, and his lungs were underdeveloped, yet for being nearly a month early, he still weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 20¼ inches long!  He was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit, and I didn’t even get to hold him.

As I predicted, the epidural didn’t take, and I felt the whole thing.  And just like with my daughter, afterward, I stood and walked to the other bed because my legs were not numb.  However, unlike the previous time, about an hour after I was settled back in my room, the telephone rang.  I tried to reach it from bed, but it was on the far side of the table.  So, when I stood to get the phone, I fell flat on the floor!  Yes, about a half hour after my son entered the world, my epidural finally kicked in!  I had fallen and I couldn’t get up!  I was completely paralyzed and dead from the waist down.  So I took the phone call then waited on the floor for another twenty minutes or so until a nurse found me and lifted me back into bed.  I was so embarrassed!  (But it was freakin’ hilarious, so feel free to laugh.  Hard.)  The nurse said she’d never heard of such a thing as the epidural being delayed like that.

The following day, I got released in time to make it to my evening Business Communications class.  My instructor walked in and started lecturing when she looked at me and furrowed her brow.  “Wait a minute!  You’re not pregnant!  What happened?  Why are you here?”

I told her I had the baby the day before and that I was afraid to miss her class because again, I didn’t want to lose a letter grade.

She laughed and again said that childbirth was an exception to that rule and told me to go home.

I never missed another class after that, and I was quite excited at the end of the term when she announced to the class that I was the first student to whom she had ever given an A.

And Jeremy was released from the hospital, though he would end up being a very sickly baby and be back in the hospital numerous more times due to his underdeveloped lungs.

I named Jeremy after the song “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam.

So, in conclusion, I’d like to wish my son Jeremy a happy twenty-first birthday!  Jeremy, I hope you’ll remember to be responsible and stay safe in whatever you do.  And while you might feel like a man who knows everything now, just know that in a few years, you’ll look back on this day and laugh at how little you really knew.  But that’s okay.  It’s all part of the growing process.  I love you, Smoodgie Bear, bigger than the moon.  I hope you have a wonderful day and a blessed year!  Happy Birthday, Sonny Bird!

xoxo

Love, Mama Bear