Yesterday was finally D Day – Delivery Day. We were all worn out but excited. My sister-in-law and niece, mother- and father-in-law, and my parents would soon be heading to the hospital tomorrow to meet my daughter. My daughter . . . what a lovely soI actually feel relieved how this c-section (take two) came about. My cousin had a choice. I don’t feel guilt about her having to go through a surgery she doesn’t want, and she feels relieved that her wish for the end of pregnancy is finally granted. A part of me also thinks that my cousin is a little relieved about not having to worry about natural childbirth and all the questions that come with it. Questions I can only imagine she must have thought are: When will it happen? How long will it take? How painful will it be? Are the hypnobirthing sessions we had really going to help? Although I don’t want an epidural am I going to succumb to the pain and ask for one? Will I be embarrassed with the intended parents in the room during delivery even if they promise to remain standing at the head of the bed? That’s a lot of questions which no longer need to be answered.
Another part of me feels scared to death that my daughter will be born soon because my lawyer is still arguing with the hospital. Will my daughter legally be my daughter ? That’s the lingering question that dampens my pure excitement for today. I wish I could glow and dance and rejoice as I want, but gloominess hovers over Albany and I can’t stop it from inhibiting the pure joy that I should be feeling today. My daughter . . . I say it with a smile, a small tear and a heavy heart. My daughter, may you never know how difficult this entire experience was and why; may you only know how much love we have for you and how much we have always wanted you. I will always be with you, fighting for you, no matter what life brings now and as you grow.
Deja Vu. I hear my name and turn to see a nurse handing me a gown and hat. I know the routine from our “rehearsal” three days ago.
The nurse leads me to a closed room. “Wait here.”
I lean again the closed door, imagining I have bionic ears and strain to listen. I hear my cousin laughing. I hear conversations, but only a few distinct words. Then long silence. They are having trouble getting a spinal to deliver meds so my cousin won’t feel the surgery. Then I hear a gasp. Then everyone cheers. Soon the door opens and I see my cousin lying on the gurney covered with a sheet and trays around her with three nurses scurrying about.
I pull the mask over my mouth and sit by my cousin’s head and hold her hand.
“This feels so weird. I feel a tug,” she explains. “Ahhh. That’s really painful,” she loudly exclaims to the doctor.
“Breathe with me,” and I begin to take slow, deep breaths in and out. She calms.
I say something funny. She laughs. “Oh, it feels weird when I laugh. I feel like I can’t breathe.”
“Is she alright?” I ask the nurses.
“Yes, yes,” a nurse rushes over and stays with us. “You’re doing great.”
The three of us start talking about anything but what is happening. Distraction is great for anxiety.
“God, I don’t know how to explain what I’m feeling. It doesn’t hurt, but I feel tugging. I feel something going on . . . lots of pressure,” my cousin tries to explain.
“We’re almost done. You’re doing great,” the nurse reassures my cousin.
I squeeze her hand harder. A tear falls down my cousin’s cheek. She’s scared.
“You’re doing great. You’re okay. In 15 minutes you’ll be lying down relaxing. And you can rock to all the 80s CDs I brought.”
She laughs. Then clenches her teeth. “I feel pulling. There’s so much pressure.”
Everyone gasps. A new cry releases into the air. My baby!
“Their going to sew you up soon,” the nurse explains to my cousin as I watch them lay down and clean my daughter.
“I feel so much pressure and tugging again,” my cousin says scared.
“You’re doing great. Almost done,” says all the nurses. “Do you want to come look at your baby?” One of the nurses look at me.
I desperately want to see her, to meet her, but I don’t want to leave my cousin when she is still scared.
“It’s okay, ” the nurse reassures me as if reading my mind. “ll be here with your cousin. Go meet your daughter.
“I’ll be right back,” I say to my cousin to let her know I’m not abandoning her.
Then I quickly walk to the corner of the small surgical room. My little one is crying so hard. The nurse says she swallowed fluid on the way out and tries to suction her. I lean over the table and hold her little hand in mine and tears flow. My little, beautiful, sweet child. God how I’ve waited to meet you.
She keeps screaming. I worry. “Is she ok?” I ask the nurse.
“Her skin is actually such a good color for a newborn. Take a picture of her and you can send it to your husband.”
I take three. Then I head back to my cousin to make sure she is ok. The surgery is almost finished. The nurses are giggling and gently place a small, wrapped bundle into my arms. The nurses take pictures with my phone and help me send them to my husband’s phone to show him and family in the waiting room our new addition.
“I love you. Thank you. Thank you so, so very much. I can never say thank you enough.”
“I love you too,” my cousin says as tears fall and we both stare at this miracle of life, my daughter.