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The Miracle of Life.
Last week was exhausting. Just two weeks after hosting a very fun baby shower, one of my best friends, A, gave birth to an incredible baby girl, Isabella Cristiana, right in front of me.
Yup. I was so special that I got to be in the delivery room. Why was in the room you may be asking? Let’s just say that this was not a traditional pregnancy and, circumstances being as they were, I was the pseudo-father for the first five months of A’s pregnancy. I was ever-ready to take her to the hospital. We spent so much cherished time together -- we had breakfasts, lunches, and dinners together multiple times per week. In the beginning she was all alone, and it felt remarkably rewarding to help her out in any way possible. Lots of great memories! I even knew the gender of the baby three months before anyone else.
At some point, I think A mentioned in passing that it might be cool if I were in the delivery room. The seed was then planted. It became more and more real as the months progressed. Finally, a few weeks ago, she asked me with her husband, S’s, permission, of course. I was overcome with joy and accepted the invitation right away. She figured it would be one of the only experiences in my life that she could give me as a gift.
Monday. After going for a routine 35-week check up, A was advised to go to the hospital straight away, as her blood pressure was extremely high. A took her time getting there. She went home, had lunch, told me what was going on, and then went to the hospital. In her defense, she had no idea of just how serious her preeclampsia situation was. Remember, Sybil, in “Downton Abbey?” It is a very serious and dangerous issue for the mother more than the baby inside. They proceeded to monitor her blood pressure every fifteen minutes for the next couple of days. That cannot be fun. It was indeed no joke.
Tuesday. 4:10am, her water broke. Yikes! Let’s just say it was a very long day. When I finally arrived at the hospital on Tuesday late afternoon (after an intense work day myself), I stayed for a few hours, kept A and S calm and collected. I know it was NO fun for either of them, but it was one of the most exciting nights of my life. I assured them various times that they could have the baby without me and I would be okay with it, but neither of them would have it. (Tear!)
Intuitively, I knew that she would most likely start labor in the middle of the night. Therefore, after I left the hospital, I went straight to bed at 10pm. I cannot even remember the last time I went to bed that early. I slept with the phone right next to my ear just in case they called.
Wednesday. 6:42am. The call. S telephoned and said, “You might want to get here soon!” Oh my god. Was it time? Yup, it was going to happen that morning. I could faintly hear A, from the back, saying something about my conference call at 9:30am that morning. I said tell her not to concern herself with my conference call. Um, once in a lifetime event vs. a conference call that could be postponed by a few days. Not even a consideration in my mind.
The Birth. 8:18am. I arrived at the hospital at 7:47am. The details of pregnancy are sacred, private, and hidden -- with good reason. I will keep them just that. Let’s just say it was eye opening especially considering, as a gay man, I am not frequently around vaginas. Good times!
Once the doctor pulled the premature baby out, she immediately began to cry. That was reassuring because, for a couple of seconds, based on the raisin-esque shape of the head during the birthing process, I was concerned for her life. He immediately handed her to the incredible pediatric team.
She was so tiny at eighteen inches long and four pounds twelve ounces. They were poking her, prodding her, cleaning her, and I was in complete awe. So much so, that I was completely not paying attention when S asked me to cut the umbilical cord for the second time. What an honor!
Talk about imprinting. I have never loved anyone so much that I had never met, except for my adorable nephew and newly born niece (who, I finally get to meet in the next few days). I was immediately in love. See, love at first sight does exist, despite my bitter feelings toward love at the current moment.
I checked on “mom” every few minutes, after capturing incredible photos and video. At one point, still groggy, she said, well, now you can make your conference call. I just laughed.
The baby was a little premature, but thank god, she just went under special observation in the nursery for a few days.
Wednesday. 9:02am. 45 minutes after the actual birth, I was holding the baby (after “dad” of course) while “dad” was making the mandatory phone calls to the fam. What came next, I would have ever expected. It was time for “mom” to hold the baby. I had the absolute honor and privilege of handing Isabella Cristiana to her mother for the very first time. It was one of the biggest and most magical moments of my life. It still brings goose bumps to my skin and tears to my eyes.
(By the way, I made my conference call at 9:30am.)
It was truly one of the most special moments in my life. Thank you, A and S, for allowing me to have that special moment that I will never ever ever forget.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I visited the family at the hospital after work all three nights. Each night when I came home, I was beyond exhausted. I can only imagine how they felt.
Saturday. They came home. A friend suggested I buy them dinner, after all, it was a super long day and week for all. We had sushi, at A’s request, of course, with lots of spicy tuna. Yum!
Sunday. They left Isabella Cristiana with me for a few hours while they ran some errands. It was awesome. I look forward to sharing many more evenings with this precious being. She is amazing and beautiful, but then again I might be a wee bit partial. (Wink!)
As a single gay man, my options are limited for children. I kept thinking, in the delivery room, is this the closest I’ll be ever to a newborn child? In that moment, I wholeheartedly decided that I wanted to have at least one baby the “normal” way. I cannot imagine the absolute elation mixed with paranoid feelings that come along with knowing that this baby is now “mine” and completely under my care. It is not a dog. It is not a chicken or a goat. It’s a baby. Wow. I absolutely cannot wait.
I’m happy to report that everyone is doing healthy and well. A still needs to take it easy for a few weeks, given her severe condition.
As you can tell, I’m a very proud Guncle (gay uncle).
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A Smile From The Inside Production :)