But then the doctor went on to tell me that, since I had had my first child an entire month early, it was very likely that I would have this baby early as well. Talk about an incentive to get your Christmas shopping done!
Sure enough, by Dec. 1, all I had left to do was wrap and wait.
But the week came and went, and another week passed.
In the meantime, my husband was freezing his rear end off, since I had confiscated all of his winter gear, as I could no longer fit into my own. He had to put my boots on for me, and it took an excruciating amount of time to wrap since I could only bend forward long enough to place a single piece of tape at a time.
As the days went by, I became more and more anxious — worried about things like a lifetime of two-for-one birthday gifts, and my daughter having to spend her Christmas morning in a maternity ward instead of running downstairs to open her presents.
Before I knew it, the week of Christmas was upon us and I was as round as the peanut M&Ms I couldn’t stop shoving in my mouth. It occurred to me that I was the perfect size to take a job as a department-store Santa.
But I had to hold that thought. Because, one night, just as Monday Night Football was ending and a huge snowstorm began, I went into labor.
A neighbor came over to stay with our daughter, I crammed myself into the car, and my husband made his way through the blizzard to get us to the hospital. Soon after, the doctor proclaimed, “It’s a boy!”
As elated as my husband was, he couldn't help but mention that it was a "bad hockey birthday." I sighed and made a mental note, adding it to my laundry list of reasons why not to have a baby in December.
But, after all was said and done, I can tell you this — that year was the most special Christmas anyone could ever imagine.
When we took our son to the Christmas Eve candlelight service, he was just 5 days old. It was nothing short of magical.
And I will never, ever forget the beautiful feeling of carrying him downstairs the next day, wearing his tiny little Santa hat, to watch my daughter open her presents on Christmas morning after all.
The birth announcement read, “We have received an early Christmas gift …” We sure had.
My son is turning 12 tomorrow. And while he’s now old enough to know that his birthday isn’t exactly at a great time of year, I am proud to say that I have always made sure to have a family birthday party for him that is separate from the holiday ones. I’ve even had a half-birthday party instead so that he didn’t get all of his presents at once.
Yes, he has had to play in a higher age group of hockey than kids in his grade, but so far it has gone just fine. And besides, we did get a tax break, I was not featured all sweaty on the front page of the paper, and, best of all, we have a heart-warming memory that is truly priceless.
Maybe a December birthday isn’t so bad.
Merry Christmas, baby — and happy birthday, too.
— By Kelly Kalis, Tribune community columnist