Two months ago, the world of sadness and fear I'd been living in the past year disappeared.
We woke up early and went to breakfast, as I was aware that it would be my last meal for at least 12 hours. We enjoyed the last few minutes of couplehood before parenthood as we watched snow fall outside the restaurant window. It was October 9, 2009. Thirteen months after delivering our dear Charlotte, we were preparing to take a new step on our journey. It was time to welcome a new arrival into our family.
At 8:30 a.m. the doctor tried to come in and break my water, but the baby was stubborn and was still up too high for the doctor to reach. Instead, they opted to start pitocin to encourage the contractions that I was already feeling very mildly every few hours or so. About an hour later, I got out of bed to use the restroom and realized that my water had broken on its own! I waited out the contractions for about 45 minutes before deciding that the epidural was going to be a bigger blessing than I'd previously thought.
They had warned me that when I put in the request, it would likely take an hour or so for the anesthesiologist to be ready, so I sent my husband out a little earlier than I actually needed so that he could let the nurses know. Fifteen minutes later, the anesthesiologist arrived! They had a surgery scheduled and if I had waited any longer it would have taken a few hours to get the epidural. Very quickly, my legs went numb... that tingly feeling when your leg falls asleep from sitting on it too long... and I no longer felt the contractions more than just a simple cramp. I looked up from my hospital bed, through the window toward the hills, and watched the snow fall slowly onto the trees before me. There was such peace through the storm, and any fears I had about the impending delivery of this child washed away to calm.
It was several more hours before we welcomed our baby girl Natalie into the world. At 2:00 a.m. October 10, 2009, I gave birth to a 7 pound 7 ounce, 21 1/2 inch long human being.
The doctor placed her on my stomach while the nurses cleaned her off, and I was in such shock that I barely noticed what was going on. She'd made some noises, but wasn't crying like babies do in the movies. I was concerned that something was wrong, still unconvinced that this was a healthy baby - that she was alive. Moments later, the nurses took her from me to continue their clean-up process, and to check her APGAR scores - she scored 7/9 - and then they wrapped her tightly and gave her to her daddy and me. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen!
I still felt disconnected, though, from this little person who had not existed only moments before. I'd spent 9 months terrified to love her, and now found that I was paying for it in that the instant bond of motherhood hadn't taken hold. For now, this little girl was still a stranger. I loved her, and she was precious and perfect, but I hadn't understood that this love would start small and grow as she did.
I forgot that I didn't love my husband the moment I met him either, but before long my whole heart belonged to him. It would be the same with Natalie. Two months later, my whole heart no longer belongs to my husband, rather, it is shared between two wonderful people who, miraculously, came into my life accompanied by snow. It snowed on the day we got married - two years ago yesterday - it "snowed" in the form of a dog, the day we had our first baby, and it snowed gently and beautifully the day we were given the greatest gift of all: Natalie Rose.