Monday, November 22, 2010

happy birthday, dear tatum

Birth. It's an amazing process. How it is that we come to be, how it is that we enter into this world, this life.
I waited and waited, patiently praying, soul searching, at times (I must confess) pleading with Erik, to bring a new life into the world; a life that I knew that God had planned. It was only a matter of time.
9 months of a beautiful pregnancy, and a labor that had me guessing all the way.  When would this gift arrive? My water had broken with Kieran and Anna. Each time, 2:30 in the morning, on the due dates. I knew what to do-call the doctor, go straight to the hospital. I attempted to eat my traditional preggo pizza and drink my root beer, as it worked with the other two. November 8th came and went and it was then that I knew this birth would be different.  Contractions aplenty, I kept thinking, "this could be the day!". November 9th? November 10th? Surely it would be the 10th as my contractions were strong and steady (that is, until I got up out of bed), and then nothing. 

November 11th, now that sounds like a great birthday! 11/11/10, Veterans Day! I woke up to contractions more powerful, more steady, than any of the others. 4 minutes, 10 minutes, 4 minutes, 10 minutes, nothing regular. I breathed through the pain while my mother kept track of the time. A movie, a Mexican food run from Erik, and watching Kieran's last soccer class of the season, we called the doctor at 3:30 in the afternoon to let him know that I was fairly certain that this was the day. A check at the office revealed that I was 4 cm dilated and fully effaced. Further than I had made it before and much more relaxed than the other two times, Erik, my mom, and I drove straight to the hospital. Yes, this was different. Unlike racing up the elevator with a towel and being hooked up immediately, this was more like checking into a hotel. I had time to take some pictures, and get everything in order. Checked again and now 5cm, the anesthesiologist (aka my best friend for the evening) came in to administer the epidural. At last, relief. My water is broken at 6:30 and my friend Melissa arrives to document the miracle that is about to occur.
Conversations in between contractions, a few games on the ipad, jokes and laughter even, all amidst the Lakers (no, Erik doesn't miss a game if he can help it!) vs. Nuggets. I ask Erik if we can turn off the TV. Dr. A asks me if it's distracting. "No, it's not the Lakers, it's the commercials". In particular, this one:
I debated as to whether to include the commercial pictures in this post, but there's only one way to understand what I mean and that's to see it. Seriously though, how can anyone concentrate on having a baby when this is staring you in the face? Disturbing! Shortly thereafter, I thought that Erik was being so kind and considerate when he turned off the TV. Though my husband is absolutely wonderful, seconds later I found out it was because the Lakers were going to lose...and they did (bummer).
I find Erik turned with his back away from everything in the corner by my bedside. "What are you doing, Erik? Are you in the time out corner?"
Again, wonderful husband, it's only after the baby's birth that I learned he was feeling as though he was going to pass out. Erik can barely handle the sight of a needle, let alone child birth. Somehow, he makes it through, the adrenaline kicks in and he is in full father mode. It's the miracle of life. It changes you in an instant. You do what you need to do, and nothing else matters.
10:00 pm and it's time to push. Melissa has the whole room take a poll. What time would she arrive? How much would she weigh?
Like Anna's birth, I ask the anesthesiologist to dial down the medication, as I can't feel anything. Some would say this is a good thing, but the work I needed to do was not possible unless this happened. And Lord, was the medication dialed down! The hour passed by quickly and 11:00 pm was here. Had my doctor been in the room, the baby would have been born right then. I was ready, she was ready. The moment was here. The nine months of patience? Gone.
At 11:05 pm, she took her first breath...
and she took mine away.
She was beautiful, perfect, and healthy...
and she was finally ours.
We waited to name her until we saw her. Once thought a family name, Ashley was a contender. Just weeks before the birth, we learned that while it was Erik's dad's middle name as well as his sister's, it was a "family name" pulled straight from Gone With the Wind. I told Erik that he could make the final decision on her first name, but her middle name would be Frances. Frances, after my grandmother, who meant the world to me. Francis, is also Erik's (living) grandfather's given name. We recited the different combinations just before sending the mass email. 
"Our beautiful baby girl, Tatum Frances, safely arrived into this great big world on Thursday, November 11 @ 11:05 pm. A healthy 7 lb 4 oz, 19 3/4 inches long, she is perfect. Her name, "joyful" or "full of spirit"-exactly how I feel when holding this tiny little miracle. Blessed beyond anything I could ever fathom, our family of five is now complete."
And so, I say to you, Happy Birthday, Dear Tatum. Your daddy and I are so thrilled to finally meet you. You are a dream baby, eating and sleeping like a champ-Daddy really appreciates the sleeping! You are as sweet as can be. You are everything I hoped you would be, and then some. Your big brother and sister absolutely adore you, and I feel as though you have always been with us. 
God Bless you, my love.
I am honored to be a part of your journey.

1 comment :

  1. Beautiful post & a beautiful baby girl! I am so glad I was there to witness & photograph her birth! So happy for you!


It's a beautiful noise-And it's a sound that I love- And it makes me feel good-Like a hand in a glove -Yes it does, yes it does-What a beautiful noise

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