One year ago, at this very moment, I was standing in a hospital room, fetal monitor beeping and the wooden rocking chair hard against my back as I swayed and waited. It was a place I never thought I’d be. A chair I thought I’d never sit in.
The delivery room.
I had longed to be here. To feel the contractions ripple my belly and watch the rise and fall the the heartbeat as it danced to it’s own rhythm across the strips. I had always anticipated being the one in the bed, not the one in the chair. But as happens so often in this life, what I had anticipated was not what was meant to be.
Just a few hours earlier I had been at work, wrapping up the year and filing away health records and emergency supplies. Then the text came it. She was having contractions. My heart speed up as I waited for further news. She would take a warm bath. She would go for a walk. She would text me when she decided to go in to the hospital. At 1015 the message came: meet me there. I ran into a meeting in the library, my face tight with a smile and tears brimming. It’s time!
The day was long. The contractions came, but labor still seemed far away. It wasn’t until after a late night pizza run and change of shift that they broke her water. I called my hubby and told him he should come, the babe would be here soon. And we waited, my feet tired from standing. Our friends offering encouragement. The doctor making rounds.
And then it began. It was nearly midnight when labor came on full force. I offered comfort as best as I could. I held her leg and congratulated her effort. And at 0205, when he pushed his way into this world, my fourth child and only baby stole my heart.
Steady hands took the silver scissors and I sniped the cord. With a wavering voice I turned to my husband in the hall and whispered the words I never thought I would be able to say. Come, meet your son.
The nurse cleaned him and handed him to me, skin to skin and I marveled at his long fingers and head full of hair. This was the beginning of a new life.
I cannot believe that it has been a year. 365 days of diapers and formula. Late night feedings and learning to walk. For a long time I gave up on the thought of a baby every being part of our life. When he came in by storm, he took us all by surprise. And now I can’t believe that tomorrow this baby will leave my life.
Tomorrow I will have a toddler.
I’ve been noticing the signs. The goofy grins and the babbling that are showing the boy he will be. The temper tantrums that have me worried for the future. The independence. He is soaking up this world like a sponge. And it is so fun to watch him learn and grow. But my heart aches for what we leave behind.
I have the outfit that he came home in. Now it seems so small. The hand print that hangs on his wall is just a whisper of the past. But this is the measure of life: growing and stretching. Leaving behind what no longer fits and becoming the person we are meant to be.
So tonight I kiss my baby goodnight. I watch his eyelids flutter over the deep blue pools of his eyes and I wonder where his cheeks have gone. And tomorrow I will kiss my toddler and strap on his big-boy shoes that he is oh so proud of and watch him suck frosting from his fingers.
And I will look across the table from my husband and remember those words I spoke just yesterday. Come, meet your son.