Michael. Is. Awesome.

I guess February is a popular time of year for us. Or maybe more like May/June-ish. Another birthday today! This time it’s our middle son, Michael. I still remember vividly showing up to my beloved friend, Lisa’s, home with a meal. We were pregnant with our second kids at the same time. Her sweet Aeva arrived February 9. Darrin, Jonathan and I drove over with Chinese stir fry to their apartment in downtown Los Angeles.

Lisa and I bought and wore matching polka dot pregnancy tents  shirts. Where were all the cute pregnancy clothes back when I was pregnant?? All we had back then were polka dots, overalls and other flappy, floppy unflattering clothing!! Anyway, Lisa didn’t need polka dots anymore and looked amazing. She was in the no-epidural delivery category. She, and my other friends who go sans drugs/epidural, have my utmost respect. I still wore my polka dots and moved about in the Clydesdale horse pregnancy state–the so pregnancy-big you can’t reach to shave your legs and clomp around causing teacups to shake on the shelves state.

Darrin and I took turns holding Aeva and marveling at her delicate features. She was beautiful from the start and has grown today into a stunning young woman. Throughout dinner I started feeling a squeezing kind of feeling around my mid-section. As we left Lisa asked, “When do you think yours will arrive?” I answered, “Who knows. Maybe tonight or tomorrow!”

We headed home, put Jonathan to bed and the squeezing continued. I was excited to finally experience contractions. After our scary birth experience with Jonathan, we welcomed having a birth story closer to the ones we learned about in our Lamaze class. We were able to get some sleep. I woke up to the sun shining and took a shower and even put some make up on. The squeezing kept growing in frequency. Our bags were packed and we called our doctor. He said, “I guess I won’t be making it to church this morning! Thanks for waiting until morning to call! See you soon.”

We grabbed the Sunday L.A. Times and bagels from our favorite bagel shop across the street and drove to the hospital. Since it was a Sunday morning, there was ample free parking in front of the hospital. And for those of you familiar with West L.A. parking, that alone fell into the miracle department.

Once we arrived the nurses checked on me and said, “You’re at five centimeters. Looks like you’re staying. Any requests?” Oh, that was easy: “Epidural, please.” I was happily hooked up and Darrin read to me from Max Lucado’s book “Tell Me the Story.” We both had tears in our eyes as he read. Grateful, happy tears. Since we had to have the emergency c-section with Jonathan, my doctor wanted to make sure there wasn’t any tearing from the scar tissue so he broke my water to see if there was blood in the fluid. It was clear and the contractions started building more after my water broke.

Soon enough it was time to push. My eyes were squeezed shut trying to concentrate on the task at hand. Finally my doctor said, “Open your eyes. He’s coming out!” I opened my eyes and watched my long-awaited son take his first breath. Darrin, amazing Darrin, cut his umbilical cord. I wept as they placed his slimy, bloody body on my chest and kept saying, “He is beautiful! He is so incredible. So amazing.” In many ways, this was my first birth experience since I was unconscious during Jonathan’s arrival. Words can’t adequately describe the depths of the feelings of elation and love I had for my new son.

Darrin wanted to be able to see our son before we named him. Boy names were harder to pick for us. While we were pregnant one of us would mention a boy name and the other would say shake our head, “No, I went to school with a guy named ______. Not a good name.” After the nurses washed our baby and bundled him up, we were finally able to take a good look at him. Darrin said, “He looks like a Michael.” And at the sound of “Michael” our son turned his head our way. Michael pulled the light brown hair, fair skin and long finger traits from Darrin’s mom’s Portuguese/Hawaiian side. We gave him her maiden name for Michael’s middle name.

Michael’s name means: Who is like our God. The name fits him. He reflects the brave, protective, adventurous, thoughtful, generous, loyal, tender, active, fun-loving parts of God. I see this as he plays football, interacts with the preschool kids at church, shares his candy with his siblings (and mom), takes the hardest classes in school, and seeks to be a good friend.

It’s Michael’s birthday today. And Michael is awesome.