But then...oh, wait, I did experience those things (minus the pitocin), only it was seven long months ago and for all the wrong reasons.
When I got a text just after 3:00 p.m. that she was dilated to 6, it hit me, and the tears started rolling as I sat at my desk. He's coming. This is really happening. I don't know if I'm ready.
Traffic was stupid-slow on my 30 minute drive home (what *is* it with people who drive 40 in a 50 mile per hour zone when you're in a hurry?!), but when I got home Paul was almost showered. I changed, he dressed and we got ready to leave for the hospital.
Then I got a text at 5:18 p.m.: "C section" - nothing else, just that. Then Paul's phone rang...it was his mom, filling him in, his dad talking in the background, me trying to text Paul's brother back to find out whether his text meant now or already happened or ?? We hit the road and got there as fast as we could...only to find the place deserted. All the family was gone. We got our wires crossed...that text meant *NOW!* and the waiting family, having been told they couldn't see the new family for an hour or so, all left for dinner. We got to see our brother-in-law, thanks to a somewhat cranky-looking nurse, for few minutes and learned things were good, baby was in the room with mom...wow. We missed it. Our support group meeting was an hour from then, so we decided to eat first (novel concept, we never get to do that), go to our meeting (thank you, God and baby, for the great birth-on-support-group-night timing!!), and then visit afterward.
Honestly, we were both thrilled and nervous to go back into that room and face reality, to see this baby we've been waiting for and that our hearts had been in such anguish about for the last seven months. But...
Oh, my...God is SO good. This baby is perfection, and I'm not saying that out of bias. He is one of the most beautiful newborns I've ever seen, with a straight little nose, chubby cheeks, fuzzy hair, and this perfect little mouth that looks like it'll crack into a smile at any second. We both held him for a long time...and for me, those feelings of fear disappeared in a fraction of a second, and I was just in awe and love. I've never been an auntie before, and our circumstances make the position so much more blessed.
On the way home, we talked and talked...both so in love. Paul commented that he'd never had the opportunity to even think about holding a baby so new and tiny. I commented on how I'd felt that twinge of "What if never?" and how it had been replaced with "Yes, it will happen, that will be us again, too." I'd told the support group how my new counselor [oh, yeah, I'm seeing a counselor now for feelings validation and mild to moderate post-partum depression...more on that later] reminded me that this baby will have just come from where my babies had been...where they might still be, and to listen for the heart message that our nephew may bring. I fell asleep full of all these thoughts of our nephew and how our lives have changed...content.
But this morning, "Oh, hi, grief!" Crying mess. Funny how last night I could calmly muse about whether Bennett would have resembled his cousin...and this morning, that same thought hurts so bad. And this morning, smiling and crying as I looked at his picture, then looking at my babies' picture. So much love for all three. What really killed me, though, was watching the little video I shot of Paul rocking our nephew with a look of both love and heartbreak on his face...and hoping so hard that he will get a chance to rock our babies, too. So...big realization that work would mean a day of nothing but trying not to cry, and probably failing since I know at least one person will ask after the new baby. I called in sick. I'm typing now with the beginnings of a headache. (Stupid crying...why is that always a side effect for me?)
A day off to care for myself today is a good thing, but rather than hole up like I normally would, I will do what has worked in the last couple of months, and embrace that which hurts. I will go to the hospital and fill myself up with more baby time. The love can help mitigate the hurt. I know that. And, oh, you guys, the love.
Finn Thomas, on Auntie Amy's lap
and holding Uncle Paul's finger.