Happy Birthday Ryder Cash

I have been thinking about writing this post for a while.

And with R1's birthday tomorrow, what better way to celebrate him than to relive his birth story?

Ryder Cash Herron came into this world pretty much just like he's still living in it 5 years later. Like a frickin' whirlwind of excitement and noise, all the while making me a nervous wreck.

The day I found out I was pregnant was just a few months after my 21 first birthday.
Big R and I had been living together for a year, I was in college and working part time at the local newspaper. We had never talked about marriage or where we wanted our relationship to go in the distance future.

Scratch that. I think once or twice we had a drunken conversation about me not wanting to stay with someone who didn't want marriage or kids, to which he replied by pouring me another drink probably. (Little did he know he would be the best dad in the history of coolness and a great husband on top on that).

So you can imagine my shock when I remember I hadn't had a period in a month in a half. I remember sitting at the computer, counting back the days, my mind reeling.

Half an hour later, we had our answer.

Here's a really hard thing for me to admit. (tears are coming as I prepare to type it.)

Do you know what I said? 

I said "My life is ruined."

I did. I said that. Out Loud.

I had no idea what I was talking about or about the joys that lay ahead. How could I know that the MEANING and purpose of my life was just about to begin? All I could think about was friends, school, our social life and the fact that Big R would only want to be with me because I had his child, not because he loved me and couldn't live without me.

My pregnancy went fine. 

There were many awkward moments, as you imagine, with me being pregnant and trying to attend classes with a belly the size of some of my fellow classmates. The male professors looked at me out of the corners of their eyes during a lecture like I was a ticking time bomb.

I was on a strict low or no sodium diet for the second half of the pregnancy due to high blood pressure. I ate PB&J sandwiches, whole wheat pasta with no sodium tomato paste and plain eggs for three months. It was awful.

When it came time to deliver, we were scheduled for a typical induction. Nothing happened that first day. We walked the halls and put together puzzles. That night, I told Big R to go home and get some sleep.

At midnight, I went to the bathroom and came back to sit on the bed. When I did, someone pricked a water balloon that was in my stomach and I started peeing and couldn't stop.

Or least that's what it felt like. Turns out my water had broken. After that, contractions started quickly. Big R arrived at 2:00 a.m. and I barely remember him rubbing my back. I started to pass out, waking up only for contractions to rip through my stomach. What happened that morning, I can't remember. I know that there were machines beeping and nurses and our doctor. And my concerned step grandmother, who was also a nurse on duty that day, rubbing my back and holding me.

I remember hearing whispers. Heart beat was low. I had a 105 degree temperature. There was no anesthesiologist on duty to give a spinal for a c-section. 

I don't remember anything after that until Big R hugged me right before they wheeled me into surgery. Apparently, he wasn't allowed in the OR for an emergency c-section. 

This is Big R waiting for the c-section to be over.

I remember shaking uncontrollably as they strapped down my arms and legs. I was completely conscious and aware that I was strapped, naked like a Christmas ham, on the OR table with people racing around me.  I realized then that they had to put me completely under for the c-section. Seriously, scariest moment of my life. They had to make the incision right as the medicine took effect on me and get the baby out before he would be effected.

 And then, they put a mask on my face, and told me to count back from 100. I made it to 97.

The next I thing I remember is this: 

Here's Big R meeting Ryder Cash Herron for the first time while I was in recovery: 

And you know what happened?

I was exactly the same person I was before.

Only better. 

And what would I say to that poor scared little 21 one year old girl who said her life was ruined?

Oh honey, it's only just begun.

Happy Birthday Ryder Cash. 

I love you beyond words.

You make me a better person.

Everything good about me comes from me striving to be a better person for you. 


  1. I seriously got all teary and a little worried for some odd reason. Happy Birthday little one!

  2. Such a beautiful story ~ You truly have a gift for telling a beautiful tale!

    Thank you for linking up to the Raising Imperfection Sunday Link Up. Please come back Friday to see if you were featured :)


  3. This was seriously the best post EVER!!! Thanks for sharing. SO SO sweet :)

  4. I am going to blame it on the pregnancy hormones but I just sobbed reading this. Your so right about life just beginning. I love seeing life through my little mans eyes. Christmas has become more fun. A simple snow storm is now the best thing ever. I think motherhood is the most amazing thing ever. Not to say I don't have my cranky moments but this post reminds you what a precious gift a child is.

  5. This post was beautiful! As a child to a mother who also did not plan on getting pregnant and thought her life was ruined (and she was 37!), I know your son will appreciate your story one day. It's amazing what a transformation motherhood is.


  6. My eyes are filled :) God Bless you and your family ! xo

  7. I love this line

    And you know what happened?

    I was exactly the same person I was before.

    Only better.

    Beautiful :)

  8. Lovely. lovely. LOVELY.
    I am so blessed to read your words.


  9. so so so sweet!! Happy Birthday Ryder!

  10. This reminded me of MY story..At 19 years old and extremely unhappily married, I was devastated to learn I was pregnant with my second child. I had no idea how I was going to take care of two babies. God knew better - this second child was exactly what I needed. She would spend the next 16 years being the best friend to her sister - the crazy to her calm - the rock to her emotional uncertainty..everything her sister would need which I was too busy to provide. She never required much - never asked for much. Until the day she needed me in the biggest way ever. She was sick. Very sick. But even in her illness, she didn't complain..and in an interesting "God moment" it was her being sick that forced me to face my own fears and leave a crippling, abusive marriage. Sometimes I think she got sick in order to save my life....fast forward a few years...I remember telling her she was ruining her life. I remember being terrified for her future. I remember being so angry at her that I could barely catch my breath. I remember saying things I can never take back. But then I met my daughter all over again. My daughter the grown up, my daughter the wife, the mother, the writer, the best friend. And five years ago I met her son. My grandson. When he talks about "his mom", it is like he is talking about a rockstar. He adores her. He worships her. He knows how blessed he is. And because of all those hills and valleys and stops and starts, and because of him, I am reminded of how blessed I AM. Happy Birthday Ryder Cash - my first grandson...my own little super hero. Thank you for all the happiness you bring to our family.

  11. What a story--I'm with Sara...these crazy preggo hormones have me sobbing like a baby. Thanks for sharing! Happy Birthday Ryder!

  12. Aww this thing made me so emotional. I love every word you typed! Wish your son a very happy birthday and may Lord give him so many happiness in his life :) May you all live always happily together :)


  13. Aww this is such a beautiful story! I love the look on Daddy's face holding his son for the first time! Happy Birthday Ryder!

  14. TEARS!! happy birthday buddy!

    girl i was right there with you. 22 and pregnant. my life was over. but my goodness it's been the best thing that has ever happened to me. changed me for the better. i muttered those SAME words. ahhhhh. kids are amazing. amazing! love this!!


  15. I'm a blubbering mess...I can't even type.

  16. Happy Birthday, little man!

    Such a beautiful story.

    I got pregnant at 19 and cried for days.

  17. Such a touching story! Happy Birthday little guy! :)

  18. Awwww, what a beautiful story. My sister in law just had an emergency c-section that she had to be put under for, scary!
    Thanks for linking up to Raising Imperfection!

  19. He is adorable!
    Love all the pictures. Great, REAL, post about being a mom!

  20. Awww, Jen. So sweet! I'm tearing up over here. What a birth story!!! Happy birthday to your big 5 year old!