As my St. Patrick's Day due date neared last year, I tried everything to get that baby out. I installed new mulch around our landscaping and walked on curbs. Yes, I was miserable, but my real motivation was that I had absolutely no desire to have a baby born on St. Patrick's Day.
The reason was two-fold. I was not anxious to have a baby's birthday overshadowed by a holiday. Secondly, we had planned to give our son a very Irish name, and a matching very Irish birthday would just be too much.
I've never been too big on holidays. I was raised in a part Quaker home where holidays were never much of a big deal. I always felt out of sorts at other kids houses growing up that were outfitted with stockings and a fresh tree at Christmas. I never got jazzed on Halloween about dressing up and kind of just found the whole thing to be a hassle. I was always just content in enjoying every day for what it was and not where it was on a calendar.
As the years went on, this evolved to me frowning upon holiday decorations, like Easter table runners and heart lights for Valentine's Day. I know this makes me sound like the biggest grinch ever, but I think sometimes people get so worked up about a holiday that the days around the holiday run together and don't mean as much. I also think I've given this entirely too much thought.
So when my OB/GYN told me my third baby was due on St. Patrick's Day, I didn't go out and buy a ton of green stuff or a maternity shirt that says "My Little Shamrock is sprouting" on it. I was just hoping he would be like my other two children -- healthy and narrowly avoid a holiday birthday.
My first daughter was due on Columbus Day (and my birthday), but she came a week early. My second daughter was due on Memorial Day but arrived the day before.
With my history, my husband and I thought we would be lucky for a third time and avoid the holiday/birthday combo. And just to tempt fate a bit more, we decided to give our son a very traditional Irish name -- Declan.
Our third child also was our first boy, and we had a much harder time naming him than with our two daughters. We went back and forth on the name, but I knew I really wanted to give him an Irish name to honor my heritage.
"Plus, if we name him Declan, there's no way on earth he'll be born on St. Patrick's Day," I remember telling my husband.
This was my third baby, and I had yet to make it all the way to my due date. My OB told me the chances of having a third baby on your due date or after was extremely unlikely since my other two babies came early.
When February turned to March, I was so certain Declan was going to be born any minute. At the end of February, my doctor told me I was four centimeters dilated and probably should stop working. I turned in my maternity leave that day, got all the baby stuff ready and steered clear of all $1 shamrock decorations at Target.
And then absolutely nothing happened. After Googling several times "how to induce labor" and doing everything on the list, short of chugging castor oil, I was still pregnant.
When I woke up at 4 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day, my back was killing me and a sense of dread was creeping up my spine. I was in labor.
This wasn't my first go, so I knew exactly what was happening, yet I couldn't get past the, "but it is St. Patrick's Day" blues. Of course, I didn't have a choice. With the name and previous births, we had tempted the birthday/holiday combo too much. Our number was up.
As I was walking around the hospital room, my doctor came in and said, "A St. Patrick's Day baby! You're so lucky. A lot of my patients asked to be induced today."
I gave him the death stare and went back to my breathing.
Declan was born perfectly healthy at 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and yes, on his due date. After they cleaned him up and I fed him, they gave him a green-knit hat made by one of the volunteers.
When the birth certificate lady came in, she said, "No way! You're naming him Declan AND he was born on St. Patrick's Day! What a lucky guy."
But looking back, I'm kind of thrilled he was born on St. Patrick's Day. Like a lot of pregnant women, I got so fixated on the one thing -- him having a holiday birthday -- that it distracted me from scarier thoughts from overtaking my mind. I think it even helped ease some of my late-pregnancy misery.
And yes, after he was born, we contemplated briefly changing his name to something less Irish to offset the birthday. But my boy is a Declan through and through. The name means, "full of goodness," and he's the sweetest, mild-mannered baby. He's a Declan.
I also have no doubt that when his 21st birthday rolls around, he'll be the most popular guy in the bar.
Still, when my mother asked me if we were going to host a St. Patrick's-themed birthday for him, I quickly said,"No way that will ever happen."