We traveled to New Jersey to be with our son and his wife for the birth of their third son. We tried to pick a date that would get us there as close as possible to the baby's due date, but we really didn't want to miss his birth. When her contractions seemed fairly regular, we packed the camper as quickly as possible, and headed east.
We arrived, and her contractions stopped immediately. The larger wait began. While we waited, it seemed like a nice vacation with the grandsons and we enjoyed wonderful weather. We surfed, we looked for awesome shells, and Mike even caught a 6 ½ inch blue crab from the Atlantic Ocean. We took a lot of pictures, ate at some pretty cool restaurants, and every evening when we tucked the kids into their home-away-from-home beds, we would encourage our daughter-in-law that “tomorrow we'll have the baby!!”
I was able to go to two doctor appointments, and one we even saw another ultrasound that gave us a wonderful profile picture of our new little grandson. “Soon”, we would say every day.
Finally, on the 13th, we visited the doctor's office again, and dear daughter in law said, “I am ready to have this baby. Today.” With an understanding smile, Doctor said, “Go to the hospital and we'll have that baby today!”
Pa Pa settled in at the camper with all 9 kids (ours, plus 2 grandsons) and we registered mama at the hospital for the delivery. It probably wouldn't take long, this being her 5th day overdue, and her third birth. At 11:00, we were hoping for a quick delivery.
We chatted, laughed, grabbed a fast food lunch (for daddy and gramma!) while mama ate ice chips and drank clear liquids. At 5 pm, she was tired of sitting, baby was taking his time, and Doctor decided to induce labor. As Doc broke her water, started her labor inducing drugs, contractions came on strong. By 6:15, poor mama was begging for the Epidural, and “where is that anesthesiologist anyway?”
By 6:30 the kind man had gotten the injection and catheter inserted in her spine, and relief should have been coming quickly. Instead, baby Keane decided it was definitely time to show up, and mama dilated from 5 to 10 before 7 pm. Epidural was numbing her leg, making the urge to push go away while the pain stayed! Guess who delivered au naturale?
I held her leg, urging her to push and saying stupid things like “you are doing great” and “you can do it!!” when finally, his head appeared, and doc lifted the umbilical cord off his neck twice wrapped, cut it, handed him to the nurse and finished his business.
“Why isn't he crying?” mama asked.
My son watches tentatively towards the bassinet that holds his new son, and a collective breath is held by all in the room.
Nurses work quickly and speak softly, one putting tools away as cleaning up the birthing area, while 2 others rub life into a quiet little baby. A squeak, a soft breath, and a slight cry, as the pinkness lightens his body. Suctioning his tiny mouth, every noise allows us to breathe deeper, rest easier.
My son says, “Mom, take pictures!!” I had totally forgotten my place in this birth. Overwhelmed by the process of the miracle taking place this room, at this time, I grabbed my camera and snapped photo after photo of the little life we had waited for nearly this whole year. Why we were so far from home. Who we had known for months by name, and now could learn to love anew upon meeting him for the first time. I touched his hand, thrilled by each cry and breath he took, and looked for all the familiar characteristics that labeled him part of our family, part of us forever.
This is the miracle of life. The waiting for his birth was the hardest part, until we waited for his first breath and his first cry. And now we have to say goodbye until we see him again.
Then a new wait begins.