On January 27th there are three.
It’s 9:57 pm on Wednesday night and my husband is snoring. I tap him lightly on the shoulder and he wakes up and stares at me–he’s half out of it and half annoyed. I tell him to go back to sleep. He sets his head back down on the pillow and shuts his eyes. He’ll snore no more. Our nightly dance.
I turn back to my iPad–100 € per person seems like a lot for a food tour in Vienna, doesn’t it? I know I should move on to Words with Friends. There’s a system in place, and if I move on to the game now I’m looking at eyes shut at 1030. 6 1/2 hours sleep. Not bad.
10pm. Every Apple device in our apartment is lit, vibrating, and beeping. I slide over to the messages in my iPad. It’s my little brother:
Don’t know if you’ve been told by anyone yet, but Laura had to go into triage today for a racing pulse and blurred vision. While there, they found protein in her urine and decided to induce her tonight as the benefits of letting the baby cook a little longer don’t outweigh the risks as the baby is at term.
Immediately my mind starts racing. Racing. Racing pulse. Blurred vision. These are signs of preeclampsia. I remember from Downton Abbey. I flip off the covers and start to get out of bed. Then I stop and lay back down. You are in New York, they are in Michigan, you are not going to “do” anything.
I return to my messages. I learn my Mom is on her way to the airport to catch a red eye from San Francisco. Laura’s parents are searching for flights as well. My brother and his daughter Isla have spent as much time as they can at the hospital, and are home now, looking ahead to a sleepless night.
My siblings and I offer as much support and encouragement as we can. My brother Jonny thanks us and insists that while the situation is tough and chaotic, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I imagine that there could be something to worry about. Lady Sybil died from preeclampsia. But that was 1915.
Before my mind can get too far away from me, my phone is vibrating again. This time it’s my Mom. She’s calling after having received the text I sent her a few moments earlier. “I’m at the airport!” She shouts, her voice full of anticipation. I have to restrain myself from matching her excitement. I whisper as I glance back down at my husband, still sound asleep; their energies are polarizing. “Fly safe Ma, I love you.” We hang up and I’m there in the dark again; I don’t know how I am going to get to sleep. EBH is coming.
EBH is going to be the little sister. I’m the little sister too.
I awaken Thursday morning after only a few hours of sleep; the sun is shining the way I think it should be–the world is ready to welcome my new niece.
It’s 8am. I’m just finishing prepping and packing my breakfast. Soon I’ll be gathering my things to head off to work. I’m thinking of my other niece, Isla. I want smooch her little cheeks, then take her head in my hands and look at her very seriously and say, “After today, your world will never be the same.”
It’s 835am, I’m heading out the door. I turn left out of my building and begin the walk down the hill towards the water. I’m thinking of my brother Jonny now. I’m thinking about when he ran across our yard to beg me to come watch him jump off the picnic table; he was wearing his Superman cape and I had just missed him flying for at least 7 seconds. My little brother is going to be the Father of TWO little girls today.
It’s 845am, I’m walking onto the ferry. I don’t get my usual seat because of the woman in the white coat who has gotten there before me. She forces me to practice letting things go a couple times a week. It’s easier than normal today. EBH is coming.
It’s 906am, I’m just outside my office. I’m about to walk in when my phone dings and interrupts my podcast. It’s my brother:
Mom got here a little bit ago and we dropped Isla off at daycare. I just got to the hospital and the nurse told me that baby’s coming today, most likely by 7pm, maybe early afternoon.
I’m thinking about my Mom now. She had texted me at 634am–Just landed, love you. I think about how she dropped everything and got on that plane. I worry about her getting exhausted but I know she’ll be fine; she’s running on an unbelievable combination of adrenaline and love.
I think about her driving us all to Tae Kwon Do when we were younger. She was always driving us somewhere; always doing for us.
I could hear such life in her voice the night before at the airport. She gets to be there. I get to witness the joy that being a grandma brings my Mom. It is a new joy; a different one. Life has so many things. I see my breath in the air as I blow out and try to stifle the tears as I walk into my office.
I settle in and let my coworkers know that the baby is coming; they agree my productivity outlook for the day is low.
It’s 933am. Another ding. Brother again:
Things escalated, they are setting up for the epidural and will probably start the delivery soon.
I am thinking about Laura, my sister in law. I’m thinking about how tough her pregnancy has been. I remember at Christmas, her telling me about the relief of the birth, about how good it feels to suddenly not be pregnant anymore. I can’t wait for her to have that feeling again.
I think about a party I met Laura and my brother at, 10, maybe 12 years ago. Laura was wearing a baseball tee and sucking the foam off of a beer in a plastic cup. Laura is going to be the mother of TWO little girls today.
They’re setting up for pushing now.
This whole time my sister and I are texting back a million “thumbs up” and “love you guys!!” Group text. Birth in real-time. 2016 is pretty amazing.
Her and I are steadily texting between just the two of us as well:
C: Why did I get all teary-eyed when he said EBH is coming today? So crazy.
J: Cause there is going to be TWO of them. We can each take one!
I think about a conversation her and I had about a month ago. “I hope when they’re older, they let them come to New York and visit us!” My sister squealed, excited about a shopping spree that’s 15 years away. “I hope so too,” I admit, I’m just as enthusiastic.
Evie Blythe Henderson is here! Laura was a rockstar and pushed her out without an epidural in one push!
There are four.
Life is so full.
Birth. In real-time. January 28th is pretty amazing.