As some of you might already know (thanks to the convenience of email, text, Twitter and Facebook), our baby girl has made her debut! After an admittedly rotten week of false labor, she decided to join us at 9:31am on the morning of Sunday, March 6th. Turns out the ultrasound predictions of a sizable baby were right on as she entered the world a full two weeks early at a whopping and wonderful eight pounds and eight ounces and twenty one inches long.
Oh, did I mention that she is absolutely beautiful? And that she looks just like her big sisters did when they were born?
That is the short story. She is here. Gorgeous and healthy. Feel free to stop reading.
Or not. This is not a post I can keep neat and tidy and concise. Because I am here, in this stunning and wrought moment hours from her arrival and there is just too much to say, to feel, to remember before it slides from me. So, really. The rest of this? It's for me. It's for Husband. It's for my three little girls. It's so that we know what this time was, what it really was, what it felt like and tasted like. And if you are curious, or care, it is for you, too. And read on...
I sit here. In a big hospital room that overlooks Central Park. From my mechanical bed, I can see the gray blue sky over the buildings. Husband naps on a small couch in the corner, his face peaceful, his feet dangling over the edge. She, my newest love, is swaddled in standard issue stripes in a bassinet next to my bed. There is a pink card taped to the plastic. I'm a Girl, it says.
And she is. A girl. My third. And she is lovely as she sleeps, her eyelids fluttering, her lips pursing and relaxing into accidental smiles. She squeaks as she slumbers. And I watch her and wait. Wait for her to wake up and need me. Because she already does. She needs me. And it is overwhelming and exhausting and exquisite to be needed so profoundly, so utterly, so suddenly. I am a mess of nerves and hormones and doubts and dreams and fears, but even so, I am up for the challenge.
I should be sleeping. That's what everyone says. But I can't. Not right now. Because the sun is bright and this is a day and a room and a subtle but remarkable moment I will not get back. This slice of peace and anticipation, this quiet canvas of celebration marred with car alarms and baby coos and the thunderous beat of my own swollen heart.
I said it to Husband last night as we were trying to fall asleep. I said, It's crazy to think she was inside me and now she's not. I got choked up as I said this, this simple observation. And then I said something else, also true. I said, I can't believe I might never be pregnant again. That I will never feel life inside me like that again. Again, the tears were there.
But. As soon as these emotions came, my mind danced to equally true things. Amazing things. She was inside me and now she is here. Here. In this little room. This big world. This family.
And she is. She is here. And she is a tiny thing, pink and powerful, but she already has me - and us - in her glorious grip. In two days, our lives have tumbled upside down. We haven't slept. We are shaky and wildly tired. But we are also in love. Madly. Deeply. Uniquely.
When Toddler and Baby met their sister for the first time, they were a mixture of smiles and suspicion. As they peered over that little bassinet, I could see it in their faces, that something, that sense of awe and amazement and overwhelm. When they found out the bassinet has wheels, the game was on. They wheeled their little sister around the room. She slept through it all. And I watched.
And now. I am here. In this very happy and very hazy place, riddled with exhaustion and full of love, awash in tiny details of a room I will soon leave behind... The big beige rocking chair with the happy polka dots, the old school Zenith jutting from the ceiling, our bags and empty soda bottles strewn about, the soft sunshine of an early March day. I will not be here for long, but I am here now.
Soon, we will head home. We will pack our things and sign our forms. We will put our little one in the pale green onesie with tiny flowers. We will strap her into the car seat her sisters once used. We will hail a yellow taxi and say it: Take us home.
And then we will be home. And our old life will resume and our new life will begin. A life with three little blue-eyed girls. A life full of life.
That's it for now. I must go.
And feed her. And make my way home. And live this life.
Alas. She is here.
And I am too.
Thank you all so so much for sticking with me and supporting me during my pregnancy. It means a great deal that I've been able to share this experience with you. And now? A new story begins. A story borne from exquisite exhaustion, endless affection and the newest of life.