10 January 2014


Katie had a baby. She is my first really good, long-time friend to be pregnant and deliver. Sure I have friends who have had babies – one friend and two family members were pregnant and delivered but I was not around for either big bellies or the births; a few friends I met while they were pregnant – but it’s different when the pregnant lady is my best friend of more than a decade and she is my age.

Having a pregnant friend makes my mind wander. I have a million questions, most of them admittedly stupid, and, thankfully, Katie answers every one, most of the time laughing.

The birth process was different than I had expected. Katie did not deliver the old-fashioned way, so her mom and I sat in the waiting room until well after the surgery. I was expecting more people to be around, and I was expecting to be able to see her sooner than we did. Instead, Katie’s mom and I kept each other company and watched a couple episodes of Downton Abbey until she received the invitation to head upstairs.

Yesterday I felt in the way and a bit awkward because though I am nearly family, I am not family, so part of me wondered if I really should have been there. Katie’s husband later told me that subtlety is not his strong point so if he didn’t say, “Get out,” I should just assume I was in the clear. “Why do you keep asking if it’s OK?” he inquired last night. “Because I was instructed to do so,” I responded, “just in case my visit comes at an inconvenient moment.” "Just come in."

Katie was amazing. People around me leading up to my wedding told me that I was the calmest bride they had ever seen. When my wedding planner was hours late and had not yet shown up with the flowers 10 minutes prior to go time, I looked at my bridesmaids and said, “If she’s not here in five minutes, I will just walk down the aisle without flowers.” She showed up in five minutes but that’s another story.

If I was calm then, Katie was completely placid in the hours leading up to her delivery. At her house 6.5 hours before she was to head to the hospital, she was eating a giant mug filled with organic mac and cheese, giving me a hug and thinking about sleeping like it was any other Saturday night. But it wasn’t a Saturday night. It was Tuesday night and she was supposed to be having a baby in the morning.

I sat on the couch, Van to my left on his phone, Katie to my right on her phone and Katie’s mom in a chair on her own phone. “Am I really the only one who is incredibly excited right now?!” I exclaimed. They all looked at me like I was a bit delusional. Apparently I was.

A few hours after the delivery, I got to see little Colton and Katie, just as calm as the evening before, suggested I hold him. I was pretty much terrified. He was the first newborn I may have encountered since my own brother’s birth 29 years ago. I was 2. I don’t think I was trusted to hold him at that time. Why was I trusted now?

I was nervous but Katie and her mom insisted that I would be fine. And I was. Longer than we all expected, Colton’s skinny body measured more than 20 inches (more than 51 cm). I looked at him, sleeping and snorting, not yet keen on opening his eyes, and I just sat there and thought about the wonder behind what had just happened. “It’s so weird to think that he didn’t exist four hours ago,” I said.

All three of them immediately bantered: “He existed!”

“Well, I know he existed, but he wasn’t here – out here.” Amazing.

Then my brain went on a roller coaster ride, trying to figure out whether or not I wanted to go through this whole process. To be completely honest, sometimes I want a kid and sometimes I just don’t, for a million different reasons.

In the waiting area I saw kids running around and not listening to their parents. No, I’m good, I thought. Later a couple came through the doors. The wife bolted through the crowd and pushed through an older couple, wincing and holding her back with one hand. She was clearly in labor. Her husband casually stood in line, three people deep, as the line continued to form behind him. He stood there, patiently, with a smile on his face as he chatted with another person.

“Do you want to go ahead?” a gentleman asked. “No,” the husband responded. “It’s O.K.”

Cut to the wife on the couch breathing through the pain. Katie’s mom and I kept looking over at her, offering support and trying to get someone’s attention. We even looked over at the husband and tried to insist that he move to the front of the line.

“Uh,” the gentleman murmured. “I think you’d better go ahead.”

At that the husband casually moved to the desk and quietly inquired about the delivery area. The wife yelled from the couch, “I called ahead!” The next thing we knew, she was on her way to the desk, answering all the questions as she used the counter to support her while she bent over during a contraction.

Poor girl, I thought to myself. A few minutes later, she and her husband were directed to the delivery area. As I watched her turn the corner, bracing for another contraction, I felt something inside me perk up and say, “I want to be her.”

WHAT!? Where did that come from?!

I sent Paul a message. “Being here is not healthy.”

He laughed. At least he typed a little “lol.”

Being with Katie and her family in the recovery room, my mind went back and forth. I became anxious thinking about them going home in a couple days to an empty house where only the four of them will be. And then they are stuck with this kid for the rest of his life.
But then I think about his actual birth and what that must have been like for Katie and Van to witness, and how this little person is a product of the two of them, a new life. And then I want one.
And then I think about how much money a child costs and how much more stuff needs to go with the kid and then how life has now changed for them. And then I might not want one.

And now, on day two, I am completely in love with the idea. Paul is toast. In all fairness, I did warn him days ago after his first flight on his long journey back to PNG. “Once I hold him, you’re done,” I said. “Yeah. I know,” he replied.

1 comment:

Katie's Mom said...

What a wonderful memory to have! What will your future hold? Can't wait to see. Keep me posted.

Mommy Vickie