On the phone with your Grammy, I talked through the discomfort, and through my hesitancy to really accept that today was The Day. Your sister came slow, with pauses and halts, as my body learned how to do this miracle for the first time. You came steady and sure from the first moment. Without missing a beat, my body moved with a confidence I didn't feel so sturdily in my heart. I knew you would come, and I knew that the work ahead was something I was built for, but I still felt a quaver, and my prayers for strength and ability flew heavenward.
You see, I wanted to bring you forth myself. I wanted to feel it all. I wanted to truly know what my body did to bring you to our arms. I wanted to experience a strength that was not of myself, and to do something so powerful that one could only give God the glory. I wanted to do the work I was created for, and I wanted to do it holding your Daddy's hand, with no other assistance than that which came from my Creator. And I did. But that was several hours later.
At 4:00 a.m. we decided that we needed to get to the hospital. Discomfort had become pain, and I knew I would not be able to cope in the car as things became more intense. We called a sleeping neighbor to come up to be with your sister, and like a hero, she quickly came. Words and a prayer of encouragement were given, last minute items packed, and then Leilani called out from her room. Relieved, we were able to kiss her goodbye and excitedly whisper "Baby Brother is on his way! He will be here today!" I had not wanted her to wake up without us there to tell her where we had gone. Even in her sleepiness, her excitement was huge. She wanted you to come as much as we did!
Sitting in the front seat of the car, with a pillow clutched tightly to my chest, we sped off onto the empty, dark road. I felt every little bump on that ride, and every red light and stop sign felt like ages. Near the end, your Dada looked both ways, and charged through those empty intersections, as eager as I was to get to the end of the drive.
When we arrived at the hospital, walking felt like an impossible task. So I was wheeled, eyes shut, holding the big ball on my lap, up to Labor and Delivery. How surreal it all felt. Today! Right now! My excitement still lingered, but it was muffled under quite a lot of anxious anticipation. How hard would it be? I slid off the wheelchair and onto the ball at the counter, while your Daddy filled out the paper work. Aware only that I must look a sight and sound a bit frightful, I rode out those contractions, too tired and in too much pain to care much. A nurse came and wheeled me down? Over? Up? to telemetry while Daddy ran to park the car and bring up our things. That was a long hour. I was nervous while I waited for the nurse to tell me how far into labor I was. Worried that I had been fighting my muscles all that time, and anxious that I had not progressed, the announcement of 4cm! at 5:15 a.m. was both a relief and a concern. I had a lot of work left to do. We could hear your heart beating, strong and steady, the reassuring sound would only stop when the belt-monitor would slide down my belly during a contraction. I was riding them out, but they were taking their toll. I was tired, and the pain only increased.
At last Daddy came back and he took me up to the delivery room. As I was wheeled under the door way, I had another rush of excitement in the midst of the discomfort, "I will see my little boy for the first time in THIS room!" The dim quietness of the room was only disturbed every few moments by my attempts at coping with each contraction. The anesthesiologist came by twice, perhaps summoned by my painful exclamations. Daddy answered a firm "No, thank you. We are doing this naturally." when he offered an epidural, and to his inquiry of "any chance you will change your mind?" I was able to mutter a determined "No" despite the doubts in my mind. With your sister, I was heavily numbed by that point, I never got to find out how I would react under that level of pain. We discovered with you, that I am a very vocal birther. I could not seem to visualize anything helpful, or relax, or find a more comfortable position. The only thing that seemed to help was loud moans or yells. My thoughts during this time consisted of "I really hope a new mommy is not anywhere within hearing range of me. I am probably scaring her into an epidural before she has even tried." "There is no reason why I can not do this. Every contraction is one step closer. EVERY contraction? SO MANY. Focus. One. At. A. Time." and frequent "Oh Lord. This is so hard. No more please? I CAN NOT DO THIS." But your Daddy was strong and confident for me, and told me many times, "You ARE doing this. You are stronger than these contractions. You. Can. Do it." and by the grace of God, I did.
As I transitioned, I was left whimpering at the end of each surge. My body was doing powerful things, and I felt like I was being torn apart. Fully aware of every sensation, I began to feel a need to bear down in the midst of each contraction, and I wondered if we were close. Little did I know, you would be in my arms in only 45 more minutes. Perhaps it was the changed intensity in my hollering that brought a nurse quickly into the room, and somehow I managed to get onto the delivery bed. My gasping mind prayed that I would be almost done, and that I would be stretched enough to let you out. Too in pain to let relief register, I heard "Wow! You are a full 10! There is nothing but a big bubble in there. He is coming." and immediately felt struck by the realization that "Now. He is coming Now." Suddenly the room was full of motion. Nurses came in, and an on call doctor began to quickly suit up. I was positioned for the big moment, and everyone waited, expectantly. My doctor arrived and began to trade positions with the on call physician. She seemed to be moving very slowly and I felt as though the expectancy was broken. Not for me. I was bearing down with every yell, and I very strongly remember thinking while the others got things ready that "I do not care if they are ready or not. This baby needs to come out. NOW." and pushing well before they instructed me to. Thankfully, they were ready when you were, and you did not make it out before the doctor was ready to catch you.
I will never forget that half hour. The pain and pressure was incredible. I remember waiting for that feeling I had read about, that it would be a relief to be able to push, but it never came. I felt a building sense of almost panic, the power required to get you out was unbelievable. I have never physically worked harder for anything in my entire life. How could I keep it up and actually get you out? The pressure built to a point where I felt that something would explode, and startlingly, it did. An audible gush, and your warm bubble burst. Within minutes I was informed that "This next part will hurt, you might feel like you are tearing. Don't be afraid, you will be ok." Intentionally, I shoved that bit of unmotivating information to the back of my mind and pushed on towards my one focus, that YOU were coming. And I had to get you out. Right. Now. It hurt. Oh, how it hurt. But you came.
I do not remember what was said, I don't remember anyone else in the whole room, but I remember you. I remember feeling with absolute clarity as your little body came rushing out into the world. I felt you leave. And there you were. 6 hours, almost to the minute, start to finish, and you were here. It was physically the most incredibly difficult thing I have ever done. But oh so beautifully rewarding too.
I can see you clearly, in the hands of the doctor, a purple-pink slippery body covered in hair and varnix. I reached out for you with more than my arms, my whole heart reached out, in that one glimpse. The moments that it took for them to wipe you off and place you on my chest took hours to me. But then your warm, sticky body was pressed tightly to mine again, and this time, I could see your face. Round and puffy, with eyes determinedly shut, you found your way immediately into the deepest place in my heart. Oh how wet with life you were. I could feel your newness in an inexpressible way. It is hard to explain how empty, yet full of you I felt, and a month later still feel.
Every time I feel you sleepily wiggle beside me, I remember those same wiggles from the inside. Every time my shoulders feel sore from the precious weight of you in my arms, I remember the heaviness of what it was to carry you within my very core. You are so very, very dear Ezra. Your Daddy, big sister and I love you so much. Welcome, welcome, welcome.