Part of me wonders if my nephew had this sense while kicking back in his warm amniotic fluid bath that his Aunt Sarah was blogging about how it seems like HE WILL NEVER GET HERE and then he got here right quick.
My sister’s pregnancies have a way of putting my life on hold, something I don’t totally mind — I loved being there when my niece was born, and couldn’t fathom not being there to welcome her baby brother. I skipped trips. I kept myself to one glass of wine in case I needed to unexpectedly drive to the hospital. And the sleep. I… stopped sleeping. I was so afraid that the phone would ring in the middle of the night and I’d be in such a deep sleep that I’d miss the call, miss the birth, miss everything. That would be awful.
So I was pleased when my sister’s doctor said they were going to schedule an induction — an actual time to plan around? Awesome.
Except the hospital said, “Nope. Nuh uh. We’re too busy. You can have your baby neeeeeext week.”
My sis was already looking kinda big, they all speculated that she’d be having a big baby. She went to the hospital Thursday morning and the nurses sent her home saying she just had an infection, no baby, not now.
She was, understandably, devastated. So when I talked to her Thursday night (“The roads are bad. They are like, REALLY REALLY BAD.”) she told me not to worry, saying that she was NOT going back to the hospital until her induction or unless the baby was falling out.
And less than six hours later we were en route to the hospital.
There’s something about being on the road at 11 o’clock at night – the roads had thankfully cleared and were mostly empty. I arrived at the hospital, camera bag slung over my shoulder, excitement coursing through my body. Security directed me to her room – she was already dilated to an eight. Yes. This was it.
Someone had posted on Facebook about the Chinese New Year – how the New Year signified the end of the Year of the Rat, beginning of the Year of the Horse. I joked, “Oh, maybe he’s just waiting to be a Horse.”
It seems weird to tell the story of someone else’s labor so I won’t – only that my nephew was born shortly after 1 a.m. with a hearty cry and weighing in just over ten pounds. They immediately placed him on my sister’s chest, and I got to watch as my sister and brother-in-law met their son for the first time.
There’s an intimacy to the whole experience – the primal nature of birth, the first times a parent wrap his or her arms around their newborn, the faces they make, the coos and the way you get to witness unabashed love. The exhaustion and the pain fall away and all that’s left is this moment now, a new baby in arms.
He’s a beautiful baby boy.
And I have known him from his very first breath.
He is named, in part, for my grandpa and that in itself is bittersweet. My grandpa will never know this baby. Won’t get to hold him. Won’t be there to give him Tootsie Rolls when he comes over. None of that hit me in that moment – in that moment, it was all about capturing this beautiful boy, and his parents, and seeing this love, this amazing love.
It was on the drive home it hit me, but I didn’t cry.
I love that there’s this connection and this honor. I know how pleased my grandpa would be. He always said I should name my daughters after him. He was joking, but there’s a part of me that wishes I had found a way.
I cannot wait to see what he becomes.
I will wait to see what he becomes.
It’s exciting, isn’t it? A new life? A new person. Someone to get to know. My breath catches when I think of the honor of getting to be there, getting to be among the first to welcome my niece and now my nephew to the world, to our lives.
I knew at the close of 2013 that 2014 couldn’t be all bad, because we had a baby to meet. I was right.