Meeting an Aiden

I’m currently visiting the US for work.

My boss-equivalent at the overseas office here said she’d like to meet over dinner. I was happy to. She added, she might get her kids as well along. I really wanted her to, because I knew her son’s name is Aiden, with an ‘i’.

I’ll get to meet an Aiden/Ayden – that thought was bittersweet.

Aiden is her younger one – 6 yrs old. With a missing front tooth and freckles on the cheekbones, he smiled wide every time he spoke.

I so wanted to tell him that my son’s name is Ayden too, but didn’t want to end up answerless with any of his innocent questions that could follow.

A while later, Aiden asked me to spell my name. I did. He said it sounds musical. He said he likes my name. That’s when I let it out – “I like your name too. That’s my favorite name.” He smiled wider.

I turned to his mom – “our son was Ayden too.” She said – “I know that. With a ‘y’ right?”

“There’s another Ayden?” A visibly excited Aiden asked.

Without touching any delicate points, his mom explained – “yes, that’s A-Y-D-E-N. You’re A-I-D-E-N.”

“When was he born?” He wanted to know if he was his age.

“June 2016” – I said.

“So he’s 2 yrs old now.”

“He was born in 2016. This is 2017” – I tried to pick his brain.

Confused, he opened his fingers and tried to count and get his math right. His 8 yr old brother, Nick, tried helping him too.

Thanks to the short attention span of kids – he went back to his tacos.

I told his mom how we chose the name for Ayden. Turns out, it’s a similar story behind naming her son too.

Selective hearing – Aiden lifted his face from tacos every time we mentioned his name.

“Does he also play soccer?”

“No.”  I just answered safe.

“He’s just 2 yrs old, he can’t play soccer.” Nick came up with the logic.

They were pretty convinced that 2017 minus 2016 is 2!

We went for ice cream after dinner.

When asked what flavor I wanted, I said – I’ll have what Aiden’s having.

It was refreshing to see him glee everytime I gave him more importance than his brother.

I sat next to him. I asked him a few things. He said he’ll answer after finishing his ice cream. Kid’s got his priorities.

I did try to include Nick in the conversations, so he doesn’t feel left out. But, selfishly enough, my focus was on Aiden. I wanted to get a picture with him, but wasn’t sure if it’d be appropriate.

Let me admit – it was indeed tough calling him Aiden – a name that I never got to call enough. A name with a rich story, and even richer memories. A name that I wish I could shout out ‘mummy is home’ to, when I’m back home next week!

Realization – not all birth announcements pinch the same way

This week, a very close friend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He’s a rainbow baby after 2 traumatic pregnancy losses.

This friend & her husband has been with us throughout our hospital days, before & after. They are more like family. Probably she understood me the most than others with her experience of baby-related heartbreaks. I’ve shared a lot of emotional moments with her.

With a lot of ups & downs, they finally reached the delivery stage. I was worried for her throughout & was very happy & relieved that she carried the baby to full term without major complications.

With her history of unsuccessful pregnancies and fluctuating health, it was a planned C-section. When she told me about this, I immediately offered that I can take the day off and be at the hospital on the day of C-section. And, I did.

It was the same hospital Ayden was born in. It was the same Ob-Gyn that she was consulting too. Too many things came rushing in to my mind when I saw familiar faces & corridors of the hospital.

I bumped into the neonatologist who diagnosed Ayden’s heart condition. He recognized me. Later, he called me inside, and we had a chat for 10-15 mins. He asked me how we are doing, how I know his latest patient’s parents… We spoke about TGA, the surgery, etc.

My friend’s baby was taken into NICU since he had mild breathing issues. I saw him from outside the glass wall of NICU. It gave me a jolt. The neonatologist who saw me there told me that I could go inside & see him. I did. My stomach churned upside down looking at that 4 hours old baby boy with a cannula, an over-sized diaper, sleeping sideways in the basinet in front of the beeping monitor. Déjà vu!

This little boy came back to his mother after a day of his NICU stay – all healthy. After 3 days of hospital stay, they came home today.

Her brother & I planned to decorate the house before they came in. I bought balloons, banners, pompoms, other danglers… we decorated their room. It looked cute. We welcomed them home with all our hearts & positiveness.

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I held him in my arms for a good 10 mins. I held Ayden in my arms for the first time when he was 3 days old.

Everything seemed surreal.

Did all these pinch me? Yes, it did a little bit. But I’m sure it was different. It wasn’t the I-can’t-face-a-newborn-when-I-don’t-have-mine pinch. It was I-totally-understand-the-emotions-and-heartbreaks-that-went-into-finally-getting-that-baby-home pinch.

I was concerned of my friend. I knew she wouldn’t want to celebrate yet. I’m sure her priority would have been to ensure that this baby is going to stay with her, before even thinking of any sort of celebration.

This was the 3rd baby birth in my friends & family circle after Ayden. I didn’t even attempt visiting the first 2. Maybe, I’ll think twice before even doing a courtesy visit for the near future ones to come, unless they mean different.