Sunday, April 17, 2016
Sunday, April 3rd.
One of those days that will be stamped with SPECIAL and filed under Favorite Days of Life.
Months of anticipation transformed themselves into anxious moments; watching the minutes tick by and dutifully tracking contractions. I feel incredibly thankful to have been the trusted keeper of minutes and ultimately to have been a part of the most incredible experience.
I've been here before, on the other (more painful) side. Just short of 18 months ago, the roles were reversed. I kept track of the time, made time pass with nervous laughter, and I was the one bringing life into this world. It was interesting to note the things that changed when I switched roles in the delivery room, and even more interesting-- the things that didn't.
Saturday was full of clock watching, some walking, some sushi, some pampering, and even some crying. We analyzed the numbers in the possible birth dates for the 12th time in the last two weeks - something Meredith and I discovered we had in common. This would soon come up again as we guessed the exact minute that she would make her big debut. Jimmy made everyone pancakes for dinner, and shortly after, a basketball game became background noise as contraction intensity was calculated.
Those early contractions filled my home with anxious and excited energy superior to that of Christmas morning. I was far more anxious than I imagined (I tucked that away only for me to know). We left for the hospital shortly before midnight - my mind raced in a thousand different directions.
Looking back, it seems like it was days and mere minutes all at once. It was hard to watch my sister in pain, it was hard hearing the lack of progress at certain points, and it was hard being unable to do anything about it.
And despite that fact that parts were hard to watch, it was all sorts of beautiful. My sister's husband was amazing - so involved and so supportive. We had Sam Smith Radio playing - the perfect soundtrack for the intensity, the anticipation, and the love and the laughter. I will forever associate Sam Smith, Adele, and the like to my niece's sweet birthday. There were jokes and laughter, snacks and coffee runs, and a whole lot of monitor watching woven right into all of the minutes.
As most normal people got ready to begin their Sunday, we had surpassed the 24 hours mark of being wide-eyed and wondering. We were getting our breakfast and hoping for a positive progress report soon.
Beyond 9 am on Sunday, the news got better and better each time we received it. The exhaustion transformed into energy; worried faces into smiles.
At 2:08 pm, my sister gave one last rock star push and sweet Brinley Claire showed her precious face. A moment I will never, ever forget - her first breath, her perfect, tiny face, the way she stared at her mama for hours.
So many tears - I don't have words to adequately describe standing by Meredith's side as she fell in love at first sight. It was all so surreal, so breathtaking.
Life is so, so precious.