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The night before my son’s fifth birthday.

Tonight is for me, tomorrow for him.

If you knew me five years ago, I was not a radiant expectant mother who lovingly spoke of The Baby.

I was deeply, darkly depressed from just before I found out until about 18 HOURS after Jeff was born. I threw the most embarrassing fit on Christmas Eve (when I didn’t yet know). Later I would state this in tandem with, “… and I have a dead husband under my belt.” because my pregnancy was so much darker than John’s illness or death even came close to.

I suppose that saying “I have a dead husband under my belt” is only slightly less gross than “I have a dead husband in my trunk” (not true) or “I have a dead husband on my bookshelf” (still true after almost 12 years).

I found out years later that my mom & husband had spoken in hushed tones about plans in case it got any worse when Jeff was born.

He was Jeff as soon as we knew it was a boy. Jeff, while kicking me in the right rib cage, should not be allowed to listen to the olympics because he thought he was a gymnast. Jeff had heard the conversation with the doctor about his planned birthday and so was wreaking havoc on my right rib cage. Jeff. The person who was not me but was living in me.

I’ve heard during, and since, that I rarely looked pregnant. I know that the last time I told someone (who routinely saw me) that I was pregnant was at 7.5 months. They were VERY surprised. I gained 40lbs – ish. I will never be able to do anything but take anybody’s word for it because nearly no pictures of me exist. A vacation, with a few pictures – but mainly what I see in those is my eyes. When I told my first set of in-laws I sent the boxes of bow because of family tradition with a note that explained how depressed I was and begging them not to hope that I would be excited when they called. Everyone who called was gentle and wonderful with me. They are an amazing aspect of my family.

My husband, mom & dad, and my MIL & FIL were there the day he was born.

I loved my c-section and epidural, all births are amazing and I would never question any decision because I know so many would question mine – and they would be wrong to do it.

I loved that he got out of my body. Something that I will never be proud of – but will be true. He and I are a great team, but I am happy that we’ll never again share anything smaller than a Smart Car.

Tomorrow, I want to tell you about him.

(Tonight, I said good-bye to my mom & dad after a 72-hour visit, and I am sad, sad, sad to see them go).