Thirty-two years ago, on Christmas Eve, I went into labor. My husband Barry wasn’t feeling well and jokingly (more or less) said, “Please don’t have the baby tonight.”

Around midnight, I had no choice but to wake him up. He was my support team. My timekeeper. My ride to the hospital. I needed him.

We worked hard together all through the night and early morning. The labor pains waxed and waned with no clear pattern. Sometimes they were minutes apart and sometimes the gaps were much greater. We didn’t think birth was imminent, but at 9 am we left for Maine Medical Center. Not because we thought we should, but because we found out our doctor was on call until noon and wanted to get there before he left.

I insisted on taking a shower first. The fact that I couldn’t easily lift my leg over the edge (only a few inches) made me worry that maybe we had actually waited too long. That and my inability to get dressed by myself. Barry helped me into my clothes, managing to get my overalls on backward, which I discovered at the hospital when I was trying to get out of them. He took a picture of me having a contraction just before we left the house.

Christmas Eve 1983 Labor has begun!

Christmas Eve 1983 Labor has begun!

I crawled into the back seat of the car because it was uncomfortable to sit. Not a good sign. We started off on our 1/2-hour trip to Portland. It was zero degrees and icy. Thankfully, no one else was on the road. My husband deserves a lot of credit for getting us to the hospital safely, especially because somewhere along the way, I began exclaiming that I had an incredible urge to push! We arrived a little after 10 and were whisked off to maternity.

Stephanie Atwood birth day

Welcome, Stephanie!

Two hours later — 12:06 pm on December 25, 1983 — Stephanie Lane Atwood was born.

Stephanie's first birthday

First birthday

Stephanie Atwood 5-years-old

Turning five

Being born on Christmas Day may seem special, but it can be a challenge when it comes to birthday celebrations. From the beginning, we were diligent about making sure Stephanie’s birthday didn’t get lost in Christmas.

Merry Stephmas

Image courtesy Katharine Atwood and PhotoShop

In 2005, our family took a bold step and decided to rename Christmas. As you can see from the holiday card we mailed that year, we got special permission.

2014 was another big year, only in September instead of March, when Stephanie married Keegan and became Stephanie Albaugh. To celebrate their first anniversary, this September they took some fun pictures in their wedding clothes.

MERRY STEPHMAS everyone! May your blessings be as great as ours have been since that Christmas day in 1983.