You were anxious to make your appearance. Your birth may have been the last thing you were early for — time will tell. It was 4:32am and you were making my back hurt so bad I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t time for you to be here yet so I knew the pain would pass. I decided that if I got into a hot shower you would settle down and I could go on to work. I still remember how great that shower felt, the hot water cascading off my lower back where you seemed to be hanging out — plotting your escape. Forty-five minutes later the hot water started turning cold and you hadn’t released your painful grip on my body yet. I called the doctor and apologized for being so crazy and calling so early and I was sure it was nothing but just wanted him to know — it was 5:45am.
I hung up with the doctor, still in pain but determined that I was only being wimpy and got dressed for work. At 6:30, as I was heading out the door, the pain was unbearable and I was weeping silently — still thinking I was over-reacting and being one of those first time mothers. I woke up your father and told him I thought I might better go to the hospital, just in case. I called the doctor again, apologetically, telling him I was going to the hospital and I was sorry for the trouble. I packed a bag and headed out the door. I phoned work to tell them I would be a little late — I needed to get something for this pain first. It was 7:45am.
I arrived at the hospital embarrassed and apologizing to everyone for being one of those new moms who over-reacts to little false labor pains. The nurse said it was okay and she would have us out of there in an hour or so — not to worry. She hooked you and I up to some monitors and immediately the look on her face changed. She said you were trying to come out and I hadn’t over-reacted. She said it wouldn’t be long before I could hold you. She did an exam and, once again, the look on her face changed… this time to worry. She left the room hastily, saying she needed to call our doctor. She returned and did another exam — her expression never changed. She was worried about you. She told me you were standing up and you shouldn’t be. Your toes were all she could feel and my contractions were closer than first thought. The pace around you and I picked up from that point on. The doctor seemed to arrive instantaneously. He hurriedly explained that several things were going wrong all at once and that you needed to come out — now. It was 1:05pm.
Our doctor was a nice older man who was close to retirement. He was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease and knew he wouldn’t be able to deliver many more babies. Our’s would be a birth by c-section — something the doctor and I hadn’t anticipated. We were whisked into the operating room with many people surrounding us. Their glances went from our doctor’s shaky hands, back to us, and then to each other. I stayed calm and looked him in the eye and told him it was up to him now. I was looking up and couldn’t see, but, the story I was told is that his hands were solid, with no signs of shaking — he was in control of us. There were many things happening at once. It was 2:32pm.
You were here — in the world… in my world. It didn’t take long however for the excitement to continue. Your breathing was shallow and you struggled to keep going. I couldn’t see you. I couldn’t hear you. The nurse leaned over to tell me you had to go to Vanderbilt. They were coming to get you by Angel Flight. I didn’t hold you yet — you were gone. I was alone.
I remember very little about those days when we were apart. I didn’t sleep or eat or cry. I didn’t feel or think — I was numb without you. They finally took me to see you — 3 days later. We spent the next two weeks getting to know each other, you and I — in the NICU. You were surrounded by machines and tubes and dings and lights. When those two weeks had passed, you came home with me — we were finally together again. I watched you breathe. I watched you breathe all night and all day as my precious newborn.
I slipped into your room last night — I watched you breathe. I watched you breathe as a beautiful, healthy teenager.