Finding myself in my daughter’s labor and delivery room was somewhat surreal. I can’t begin to describe the indescribable love and closeness I feel for my daughter so the very idea of witnessing her in abject pain was something I didn’t know if I was really prepared for.
Because my daughter’s pregnancy was considered high risk, from the moment of conception, we were cautiously optimistic that the next 9 months would be uneventful. Being of a certain age, and might I say, very detailed, smart and with a little hypochondria thrown in for good measure, my daughter left nothing to chance. All verboten foods never touched her lips. Sushi good-bye, wine not even a whisper, soft cheeses in her beloved Greek salad, banished to a faraway kingdom.
My daughter’s job involves traveling to many of the states east of the Mississippi so driving and airplane travel several days per week were her norm. I was in awe when she met with her boss and explained that because of her pregnancy, she was unable to fly for the next 9 months. I’ve seriously wondered what I would have done faced with similar circumstances. Brooke became a road warrior, mapping out her route so that she could maximize her time on the road and achieve her desired results. For those accounts she was unable to drive to, she became the queen of delegation and FaceTime. My daughter’s company was and is so supportive which is a testament to them both.
We waddled through the various aches, pains, weight gain, no weight gain, thrush (false alarm), Braxton Hicks contractions, hormonal fluctuations, baby names, changing baby names, baby reveal party, no baby reveal party (because we’re bad at keeping secrets), and baby shower culminating in the labor and delivery room at Hackensack Medical Center.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to have a baby, you will probably acknowledge that on the very day of your baby’s birth you are filled with emotions, one of which is fear. Knowing how the baby was conceived is a given but how in the heck is that 7 or so pounds of joy making his entrance into the world??? All thoughts of a “natural” labor and delivery are quickly relegated to the back burner. When that angel, Nurse Florence Nightingale, offers medication to ease your labor, the yes is almost inaudible as you quietly thank God for the miracle of modern medicine.
At 12:20 pm, my daughter began active labor. She was 5 centimeters dilated, which for anyone unfamiliar with this process, means she was half way there. We all knew we were well on our way. Kelly, Brooke’s wife and I waited for the outpouring of intractable pain, screams, moans, or some other expected outward display of emotions, but to our surprise there were none. We kept glancing over to the monitors displaying the vital signs of baby and mother including her rhythmic contractions to make sure all was as it should be. Brooke was amazing, and yes, everything was moving ahead like clockwork. When the anesthesiologist came in to start the epidural, Kelly and I took a cafeteria break. When we returned the procedure was finished so we resumed our watch.
At approximately 7:20 pm Brooke’s obstetrician examined her, and it was show time!
The next hour and ten minutes were grueling as Brooke was learning full well just how a baby is born! I have never felt such pride, awe, admiration, and love for my child. Knowing all the personal sacrifice, grit, determination, discipline, love and devotion she undertook in preparation for her soon to be born child was something I will never forget. As Brooke pushed and pushed and pushed, with Kelly assisting on Brooke’s right and I on her left, I thought, how symbolic. Kelly is truly Brooke’s right hand, deeply committed in every thought, deed, and action, and I, as Brooke’s mother, friend, and whatever role she needs me to be, is supportive to the end.
Suddenly, at 8:41 pm, Brooke and Kelly’s little bundle of joy, made his way into the world. His cries, mixed with ours, were absolutely music to our ears, as Kelly cut the cord and the nurses got him ready to meet his mother. I will forever remember the moment that the baby was placed on Brooke’s chest for the first time as the definition of pure joy.
A mother’s love for her children is indescribable, the love a grandmother feels for her grandchildren is pure bliss.
I’d love to hear from other grandparents. Please respond in the comment section: Let us know how your life has changed since becoming a grandparent.