Welcome to the world my sweet girl. Remarkably, you turned three weeks old today. The last few weeks have flown by in a complete blur. I am amazed three weeks have already passed us by. Your arrival into this world was a quick one. Just three short hours passed from my first true signs of labor to you screaming out on my chest. It was the most exhilarating night of our lives.
At 10pm on January 18th I stood in our bedroom complaining to your dad about some cramps. I assumed what I was feeling was a digestive issue, definitely not labor. In less than an hour, my water had broken and we realized I was truly in labor. We had assumed we would be in for a long, slow labor so I hadn't even finished packing my hospital bag. We scrambled around the house throwing things together, your dad trying his best to appear calm for my sake, but both of us were nervous. Things seemed to be progressing too quickly and I could tell it was weighing on your dad. I was hoping to go through labor free of drugs and interventions and kept praying everything was okay with you, that you weren't in distress because you were coming so quickly. Still though, when we arrived at the hospital shortly before midnight, I assumed I would be in the very early stages of labor, in for a long night ahead.
Your dad drove as quickly as possible to the hospital, taking care to avoid potholes, honking frantically at the cabs trolling the streets. While we were in the car, I was unable to talk through my contractions, feeling an immense pressure in my lower belly. Once at the hospital, we made our way into triage and sat down in the waiting room. I did my best to hold myself together. Another couple sat near us, smiling and waiting calmly. Your dad tried to express the urgency of our need to get admitted immediately, that I was in a lot of pain and needed to use the restroom. They sensed that I needed to get placed in a room quickly and ushered us out of the waiting room.
The triage nurse seemed to move at a snail's pace. She handed me a gown and told me to get undressed and that they would hook me up to some monitors. She also said she would take a swab test to see if my water had truly broken. After taking the swab, she left to check it under the microscope. This is when things began to get very intense. My contractions were so strong and right on top of each other. All I could do was stand and lean over the bed working through the contractions, trying my best to take calm breaths and focus my concentration on working through the pain. I had waves of hot and cold flashes. I threw up my dinner in a nearby trash bin. Between contractions I turned to your dad and said, "If she comes back and checks me and I'm not far along, there's no way I can do this naturally!"
Still waiting for the triage nurse to return, I decided to lay down on the bed, hoping that would slow things down a little bit. As soon as I laid down I was knocked out by an intense contraction, and for the first time, the desperate need to push. Terrified by the urge, I grasped the side of the bed and told your dad, "I have to push! I have to push!" He looked equally terrified and told me that I couldn't push, I definitely shouldn't push. We were alone together in this little check-up room. Definitely not the time or place to be pushing. I worked through the contraction and then boom, immediately I was hit with another intense contraction and the need to push. "Charlie, I have to push! I have to push!" I yelled, clenching the side of the bed and fighting the urge. He immediately hit the emergency button for the nurse. The triage nurse casually strolled back in and said the slide wasn't ready yet and wanted to know what was up. "She says she needs to push. Can you please check her?" your dad asked urgently. The nurse agreed to check me and immediately said, "You are ready to go! We need to get you upstairs now!" She paged our midwife Carol and began unplugging me from the monitors.
A wave of relief washed over me knowing I wouldn't be laboring in that amount of pain all night long, but the relief only lasted a minute as the contractions continued to come quickly and intensely. At this point our doula Aimee came into the room, her jaw open in surprise that our labor had progressed so quickly (we had initially called her an hour prior to ask her if what I was feeling was contractions). She grasped my hand and smiled wide and told me I was doing great and to just hold off pushing until they could get my to the labor and delivery room.
The journey to the room felt like an absolute eternity and I felt like a caged animal writhing in the bed, trying with all my might not to push. When we finally made it to the room, our midwife Carol met us at the door, smiled, and told me I was doing great. The room had a wonderful energy. Everyone seemed excited that things were progressing so quickly and that you would join us so soon. I asked Carol if I could begin pushing when I felt the urge. She told me I could go for it. Your dad stood on my left side and wiped my forehead, encouraged me along. Carol and Aimee held my knees and coached me through each push. I kept my eyes closed in concentration. When a contraction would pass, I would let my body go limp and focus on relaxing every muscle, saving my energy. Mentally I was preparing myself for hours of pushing, but after just a few contractions and twenty minutes of pushing, you emerged. Emerson, I will never ever forget that moment. With that last push, I opened my eyes and saw Carol grasp you, holding you up for me to see. She immediately laid you on my chest.
I was in complete shock. I couldn't believe seconds earlier you had been snuggled inside my belly and now I was holding you. I was amazed thinking about how in sync my body and yours had to be for everything to go as smoothly and quickly as it did. As I held you on my chest, I breathed in your hair. Your head smelled so sweet and so clean. I examined your hands and I remember being shocked by your fingers. They were so long and delicate. Your nails were perfect with little jagged ends. Your eyes were enormous and glassy. They searched my face and scanned the room quickly. You were so alert and awake. Your dad and I shook with tears and laughter. We were in complete awe of you.
Since that incredible day we have been settling into our life as a family of three. You have easily transitioned into our home and already your things are scattered in every room. A burp cloth is draped over every chair, your little socks tucked into the corners of the couch. In three weeks you have managed to quadruple our laundry pile. Each day I wash your little things, amazed that we have a baby that fits into such tiny clothes. You are growing fast though. Some of those little clothes that were large on you when we first brought you home, now fit snugly over your belly.
This week you've discovered your hands and have taken to lacing your fingers together and clasping your hands, making you appear in very serious concentration. I love your little grunts and squeaks, sounds I know will disappear quickly as you mature and grow.
Your dad was able to take two weeks off of work to be home with us. It was a great two weeks, though it went by in such a blur, we wish he would have taken more time off. It was so great to spend time together, just the three of us. Your dad and I are still new at this parent thing, learning all of your little sounds, habits, and faces. It was nice to have the time together to figure each other out before our families began visiting.
You are mesmerized with your dad. As soon as he begins speaking, you turn your head to find him. He has a gift for calming you. When you get fussy in the evenings, he walks with you around the apartment, patting your back and singing quietly to you. You love the guitar and he has been making up songs and serenading you. He's also been giving you music lessons by playing important songs to you each day. So far he has worked through David Bowie, Johnny Cash, The Velvet Underground, and The Modern Lovers. I imagine you will love music as much we do. You also like to make this face where you purse your lips together and your dad jokes that it looks like your whistling. He whistles for you and someday will teach you to whistle for real. On our second day home together he bought you a perfect bouquet of yellow ranunculus (he wanted to be the first one to give you flowers). You have captured him completely.
In the few weeks since we've brought you home, you have had a steady stream of visitors. Gifts and cards have poured in from friends and family around the country. So much love has been sent your way. Our families have also made special trips to visit and spend time with you. You've made it difficult for people to stay away, no one wants to say goodbye.
I will always remember these first few weeks with you as a very special and sacred time. Sure there is fatigue and exhaustion, but we knew that was coming. What I didn't realize was how much you would change us. My heart has grown so much and I am overwhelmed by the miracle you are. I still look at you in disbelief, amazed that you are here, that I am no longer pregnant, and that we have started this new chapter together.
There is so much to look forward to, so much ahead of us. We can't wait to experience all of it with you.
All my love,