I gingerly push open the door and slip inside my favorite room in the house. HER room. She has been asleep for 3 hours, which means she has flip-flopped herself into roughly 20 different sleep positions. I tiptoe over to the crib, careful to distribute my weight evenly. The floorboards will creak. Despite the humidifier humming on high, and my mission-impossible-like maneuvering, the floorboards will creak. I love the creaking. There is something nostalgic about it. I peer over the end of the crib. There she is, blanket balled up around her midsection, arms high above her head, soother suctioned in deep. Her arms will always be out. I love her for this. It reminds me of her entry into this world.
“They want to do a C-section” I said through chattering teeth, tears streaming down my face. Erin and her mom had just gone for a walk when the team of doctors whirled in with the latest update. After 3 hours of pushing, Mabel had descended 1 cm. Her arm was above her head and pulling her out with forceps would be risky. Too risky. Despite my tears, I didn’t feel defeated or disappointed or any of those things that I imagine are normal after laboring an entire weekend, only to have a C-section? I felt the opposite. I felt elated. I felt excited. I was about to meet the product of 3 years of gut wrenching heartache, tears, medications, money, appointments and stress. I loved her. We both loved her. Erin and I would sit in her room after a hard day, turn on theTwilight Turtle Nightlight and breathe in the quiet. And now, she was on her way. “Can you feel that?” Nope, nothing. We are good to go. Erin held my hand. “Just focus on me.” Roger that. Focus on Erin. While focusing on Erin, I decide to scan the operating room. I notice her mom to my left in a viewing room. She has her hands cupped over her mouth in horror. And then I realize her horror. It’s me. In the reflection of the window, I can see the entire surgery. MY surgery. Oh god! Then again, maybe I want to see this? Do I want to see it? As if on cue, the team of doctors move into red rover formation, obstructing my view. “Don’t look over there!” Ah, right. The “focus” nazi bringing me home. But now I can’t see what they’re laughing at? What the f? Are the doctors laughing? Erin and I exchange a look before she popped up to see what could possibly be funny in this magical moment; the sweetest moment of our lives; the moment of 3 years of gut wrenching heartache, tears, medications, money, appointments and stress? “She just did a fist pump!” Huh? “We made the incision and she did a fist pump right through it!” And she had. Well, of course she had? This was our baby. Before the time of birth was announced, before Mabel was an “official” person, we were in love. And what a cheeky monkey….”In HERE, mommies!!” And, thanks to some in utero gymnastics, she was in quite the bind. The umbilical cord had wrapped itself around her tiny, little frame not once, but twice (I didn’t even know this could happen)??? She had no intentions of coming out au naturel. Clever little peanut, probably threw her arm up to protest my pushing? So, just to be safe, I’ll keep my arms out mommies…..always!
I pull the balled up blanket out from underneath her and redistribute it, the same as I had 3 hours earlier. I tuck in all the corners, even the arms knowing she’ll wiggle free in short order. I linger to watch her sleep. She looks so small. Despite weighing triple her birth weight, she still looks so small. I know Erin will come in. 5….4….3…and….there she is. Neither one of us can resist this moment. The best part of everyday. The teary-eyed-in-love-with-this-tiny-puddle-of-flesh, part of the day. I put my hand on her cheek and rub her temple with my thumb. This is her favorite kind of rub, even as she sleeps. She’ll free her arms and bear hug my hand tight to her face. And then, the “love pinches” start. These pinches began when she was nursing. I’m sure it was a comfort thing? And now, it’s our comfort thing. It’s like the floorboards…….there is something so warm and familiar about it? Erin and I exchange “that” look. That moon-and-back-lay-down-and-die-for-this-kid look. She is our world. And, as if we needed any more reason to love her……there she is, arms out, pinching away, breaking our hearts with every suck of her soother.
Goodnight peanut butter.