From time to time I think about my delivery and brief stay in the hospital. I close my eyes and try to recall all the feelings and sensations of the process…well, not all of them. Even with an epidural, some of it just isn’t all that pleasant… But, I try to remember the final feeling of him leaving my body with a warm, ticklish “Whoosh,” and those first few moments of his life with us.
I go back earlier in the day and think about the experience. Waking up at almost exactly three in the morning to an internal, “Pop.” I replay those early, groggy curiosities and phone calls to the on-call physician, and the waiting…a lot of waiting. And, while I waited, my husband went back to sleep; how nice to be able to do that. I spent the hours until nine in the morning crocheting and watching the same Law & Order: SVU episodes that kept me company throughout my pregnancy when I didn’t have the motivation to leave the house. The surreal quiet between me and my husband…after he decided he felt rested enough to resume the day… The casual conversations that spoke of our near future, yet avoidance of all the questions elephants held on cue cards in the backseat of the car.
I remember the call to my parents as I was about to enter the second stage of labor, and telling them to fly up in the morning, knowing full well they wouldn’t wait. They missed the first word of their only grandchild’s birth.
I think of the exceptional nurse in the delivery room. I think of my husband who was told to eat before it was too late, only to be called back within fifteen minutes. I recall the sudden onset of intense pain when induced, and the equally sudden relief after the anesthesiologist’s success on his second try. I think of my husband entering the room, expecting to tend to me north of the border, yet was enlisted to hold my leg. I remember him saying, “Such a beautiful baby,” even though he can’t. Then, I was holding him, this exquisite, tiny being who made it known he was not having a good time of things.
I was taken to my room after various hands assisted with things I never imagined would require a team.
My parents taxi to their gate with a voicemail greeting of my son’s birth, and my mom’s elated proclamation that they were on their way to the hospital. Even a year later, I’m not sure how I managed to hold her off until the morning.
I remember all the other nurses whose personalities became more rugged as the shifts progressed, but there was something comforting about the snarkiest one on the overnight shift my second night.
Having brief, but the best night’s sleep I had in months to awaken unable to contain my excitement to see the little person with perfect lips and a sleepy gaze. Looking at my little man’s features as he slept, and wondering if it was okay to hold this sweet little boy who was resting bundled in his Tupperware container with his name printed on the back. The overwhelming memories of holding my son when I was alone in the room, in the quiet. The strangeness of being pregnant mere hours before, and holding him, finally, in my arms. Realizing that my voice alone gave him calm in this new, scary world. Unable to imagine him in the future, but feeling no rush for him to grow.
Now almost a year of firsts have passed, but I think to my first the most. Whoever he is and will become, he forever will be my son.