Guys, my nephew is here!!! He was born at 8:48am this morning weighing 7lbs 5oz and measuring 21.5″ long! He is absolutely perfect and so incredibly beautiful. I cannot WAIT to meet him next month when I visit my sister during Spring Break!
It’s been an emotional day. Mostly happy feelings, but a lot of other stuff as well. I was very anxious as I waited to hear how things were going with the baby and with my sister. I kept panicking over and over again on my commute to school this morning. I didn’t calm down until I got text messages saying that both baby AND Mom were doing well.
A little backstory (caution: may be triggering for mention of medical stuff and death):
Several years ago my cousin died from multi-system organ failure two days after her fourth child was born. She was nine months pregnant when she caught the H1N1 virus. She went to her ob-gyn group twice to tell them she didn’t feel well, but both times they sent her home (despite the fact that a new, dangerous flu strain was making rounds). When she finally got to the ER, she was so ill the doctors needed to induce a medical coma. They also wanted to keep the baby in utero for as long as possible (babies actually gestate for 10 months).
My cousin had this strange premonition when she was about six months pregnant. So she told her husband that if anything should go wrong and he had to choose between her and the baby, she wanted him to choose her. They both agreed that this was the best decision since they already had three children to take care of that needed a mother. So when things started to get very bad, my cousin’s husband asked them to deliver the baby in order to allow my cousin to have a better chance at survival. However, it was a Catholic-affiliated hospital, so they refused to deliver the baby earlier than absolutely necessary (which I guess by their standards meant once the baby was in distress). They waited too long. The end result was a dead mother and a child who now has severe cerebral palsy.
I was actually in a psychiatric hospital at the time for suicidal ideation. I was in bad shape. My Wife had the unfortunate job of telling me that my cousin had died, which was just as awful and traumatic as you’d imagine. The hospital staff told me that I could go to the funeral, but I’d have to be discharged. None of us thought that was a good (or safe) idea, so I did not go to the funeral. I wasn’t discharged until over three weeks later.
I don’t regret my decision, but I regret that the situation happened as it did. My grief has been a long and complicated process. It was such an unnecessary loss to this world…and to those children. Even now, over five years later, it’s difficult to talk about her without crying. I have this disc that has a slideshow someone put together to show at a benefit event they held for her children about a month after she died. I remember seeing the images flash on the screen out of the corner of my eye, but I never looked at them. I still can’t bring myself to watch that disc.
Luckily, my sister was quite healthy going into delivery this morning and is healthy (albeit exhausted) now.
But there’s still this underlying association between pregnancy and death for me that shakes me to my core. And I think that being reminded of what happened to my cousin also reminds me of the fragility of this world and how vulnerable we all truly are to the whims of…life, really. In a moment, everything can be totally different. Someone can go from being alive to being dead. Or a baby can enter the world and take its first breath.
Life can be so fleeting and unpredictable and messy. But damn if it isn’t absolutely beautiful and wonderful and awesome, too.
Happy Birth Day, Little Dude. I love you so much already!!