Today, I got to meet my nephew. He is awesome. What a wonderful miracle new life is!!
The whole day, I was taking notes. My sister-in-law had a scheduled C-section at the same hospital that we will be visiting for a scheduled C-section come February. I showed up shortly after 8, armed with coffee for the troops and my laptop full of goodies to keep me entertained for what I assumed would be a lengthy wait.
Baby S was born at 8:13 am and my brother came upstairs to introduce us all to him around 8:40.
My notes on delivery time: That. Was. Fast.
We all ooh and ahh and cry and fawn and love on this squishy-faced, concerned-looking young man with a full head of black hair and pursed lips. It’s a wonderful family moment together. Except that my SIL was still downstairs getting stitched up, and had to wait in the operating room until she regained movement in her toes before she could come join the family. Which was like, 3 hours.
My notes on this: BRUTAL.
After some of the excitement dies down, I look around the recovery room and I think back to when Hudson was born and we were in this very same hospital for a while. I turn to my mom and ask “My room was way bigger than this, right?”
“No. This is the exact same room you were in.”
My eyes had been drawn throughout the morning to the whiteboard in the room with the number 352, and I could not for the life of me figure out why. That clock had an eery pull for me as well. When my mom said those words – “…this is the room you were in” – I realized why. I stared at that clock and that whiteboard for an entire morning while I waited to be released and get to my daughter. Between morphine-induced naps and the occasional burst of tears at the helplessness of it all, the first 12 hours of my daughter’s life were spent with me trapped in this room, apart from my baby and uncertain about the future.
Suddenly, I didn’t really want to hang out in that room any longer.
I had been able to endure the familiar hall ways, walk past the Special Infant Care room, ignore the door to the delivery room where I pushed for almost 3 hours. This was my first time back in the hospital where my daughter was born and I thought I’d done pretty well. And then we were in the room where I saw my daughter for the first time, and I started to feel just a little bit uncomfortable.
A few days after my niece was born back in March, we drove down to visit and meet her. The Hubs had strained his back and had to take muscle relaxers, so I was forced to drive him, my MIL and SIL for 6+ hours to reach our destination. The drive was relatively uneventful, until my MIL started talking about the night that Baby CW was born earlier that week. The wait. The insistence of my SIL’s mom that Grandma Dub hold Baby CW first. The grainy cell phone pics, the phone being passed around the car for everybody to look at. I started to cry, my tears thankfully hidden behind my over-sized sunglasses.
I was so envious of these experiences that my family had together, and brokenhearted that I had not been able to provide them with these experiences at the birth of Hudson. There’s a picture of Grandma and Grandpa Dub holding Baby CW for the first time, and I almost can’t bear to look at it.
Flash back to today, and now my side of the family is having these missed-out-on experiences with Baby S. In the same room where we should have had these experiences with Hudson.
I first laid eyes on our beautiful daughter in room 352. Hudson was wheeled in by a team of medics for a few quick moments before she was flown to Sacred Heart. Today, my brother and his wife got to give their son a bath in this same room. I watched nurses issue routine medications to the little guy. His limbs were strong and wriggling, free of IVs. His mouth was either suckling my brother’s finger (he was pretty hungry) or pursed in a concerned manner, not hidden behind a breathing tube. I even got to watch my brother and his daughter dress the little guy for the first time… right there in room 352.
It’s easy to get hung up on these kinds of things, if you let yourself. In the privacy of my own home, or in musing aloud to my husband, sometimes I do let this stuff be about me, about us, about Hudson.
But when I take a hard look at things, I know that it’s not the healthiest way to live life… making everything about me, or about us, or about Hudson. We choose to take things like that personally. When we do, we head down a very dangerous road. When I remove the ME out of things, I can celebrate the life of my nephew wholeheartedly, cry tears of joy that aren’t even the slightest bit tinged with sadness, hold my sweet little brother’s baby boy and examine all his parts and not once get caught up on the idea that I never got to hold Hudson this way.
I can let myself be happy because I choose to let Hudson’s life only affect me in positive ways.
It’s all about what we choose.