The first Saturday in May
Greta was born on the first Saturday of May 2011.
Citing my large belly and projected baby size, my OB/GYN set an induction date of the first Saturday in May. On the first Friday in May, I finished the last of my nesting, resigned that my body must not go into labor, ever (Maren was induced also). I settled down to sleep at 9:15pm, hoping for one last big sleep before meeting our baby girl. Brad had a terrible cold, so he loaded up on Nyquil in hopes that he, too, would get a good night’s sleep.
A few minutes after I laid down, I felt a contraction.
A few short minutes later, I felt another. This time, I opened one eye to look at the clock. 9:27pm.
I settled back down to sleep thinking, “C’mon! Last chance! Sleeeeeeeep! Glorious sleep!”
I closed my eyes. Until the next contraction. 9:31pm.
I reluctantly called the doctor on call, expecting her to say, “Nah, we’ll see you in the morning as planned.” Instead, she actually said, “Well, you’d better come to the hospital.”
I’ll never forget lumbering over to the balcony that overlooks our family room where Brad was sitting on the couch and saying, “So, I think I’m going to go ahead and have this baby tonight.”
He did his best to shake off ill-timed Nyquil-induced haze, and scrambled around to get us ready to leave.
We dropped Maren off at my parent’s house, and went to the hospital. I paused to grip the railing in the corridor each time a contraction hit, so we made slow progress once inside. In between contractions, we bounced baby names back and forth. Ainsley, Cecily, Bridget, and Rosemary were all on the table, along with Greta.
I was settled into a room by about one in the morning. Brad awkwardly reclined in a hideously uncomfortable Daddy recliner, and managed to take a short nap. Unable to sleep myself, I lay in the quiet room and reflected on the beauty of this moment in my life.
I don’t remember now what happened in between that quiet moment of peace, and pushing. I remember it was a quick delivery; three or four pushes, and she was out.
Immediately, the doctor’s hand was waving at me from between my legs saying, “Whoa. If you ever have another baby, you need to be induced before 39 weeks; that baby is too big!”
Even at the time, gazing at my (big) sweet girl as the nurses rubbed her clean on my belly, I remember thinking, “Why is she yelling at me? Shouldn’t I be getting like a High Five Mama for delivering this giant child?”
They took her away and put her on the scale: “Ten pounds, eight ounces! Wow!” No one, upon hearing her birthweight, failed to say “Wow” in response. All of the nurses on the floor came in a steady stream to see the big baby. “Wow!” they all said. Incidentally, none of them offered me a high five, either. Harumph.
Brad and I looked at each other and agreed, “Greta.” Greta Rose just fit; we knew it as soon as we saw her. Strength and beauty.
Greta then proceeded to cry for the next ninety minutes straight. I remember looking at her round red face and thinking, “Girl, this is not how we roll. You need to chill.” I had fleeting visions of friends’ colicky babies and shuddered, pleading and praying that Greta would not be one of those babies.
I was transferred to a new room, and unfortunately, it was a shared room. I can’t imagine my roommate was too thrilled either, when I was rolled in at 5am. Brad was left without even a Daddy recliner, and went to find somewhere to sit down. Greta, finally quiet, lay next to me in the bassinet. I prayed prayers of thanksgiving for this perfect, quiet child. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, marveling at His creation.
We spent the day entertaining family visitors. Maren came with them and met her little sister. We chatted and people came and went. There were lots more “Wow’s”.
The nurses took her to the nursery; Brad went down a few minutes later, and marveled at how many babies there were. He counted: twenty-three, lined up two deep in bassinets all around the periphery of the room. He looked for his Greta and didn’t see her, but did wonder why there was one “one-year-old” in with all the newborns. After another survey of the room, he realized that the “one-year-old” was, in fact, a newborn, she just happened to be twice the size of many of the other five and six pound newborns. And, she was his ten pound newborn.
At then end of the long, long, long day, our visitors left. I encouraged Brad to go home with just-turned-four-year-old Maren, and said that Greta and I would be fine for the night. We were alone by five o’clock that night.
Still not ready to sleep, I turned on the television, and watched coverage of the Kentucky Derby with Greta nestled at my side.
That day, Greta’s Birth Day, became one of my favorite days. Today, I find I love watching the Derby, remembering those first moments with her, and celebrating my sweet girl on the first Saturday in May.