There are certain occasions in my life when inability to express myself through writing feels like a real handicap. It seems like these experiences have been happening more and more lately. It all started 9 months and 9 days ago when I married the mother of my children. I don't know if the words exist to explain how I felt that day, but I do know that I didn't have them. I love my wife more than I even understand, but somehow, that experience still pales in comparison to the the last 30 hours.
We got to the hospital yesterday around 10:30 am. I still couldn't believe it was happening. I wasn't able to shake the possibility of nothing happening, even with the inducement, and having to go home baby-less. About 2 pm they broke Camille's water...and then it all started to sink in. I knew that we weren't leaving the hospital without a baby...no matter what we had to do to get her out.
The next 14 hours were pretty uneventful. We hung out with Kathy and Tonya most of that time...chatting about politics, our families...and playing Phase 10...while we waited for Camille to dilate to a 10 so she could start pushing...so we waited...and waited...and waited...
At about 1:30 the nurse finally told us Camille was fully dilated but the doctor wanted us to wait for an hour to let the contractions push Molly down before the hard part really started...so we thought. Despite the epidural that Camille received about 5 hours early, the pain and pressure started to intensify. So, at about 2:15, we called the nurse in and told her it was time to push.
This is where it gets very difficult to express my emotions. Within about 30 minutes I had a clear view of the top of Molly's head and Camille seemed to be doing fine. Molly was stubborn though...and she was stuck. Things started getting worse and worse and I got a small taste of what it would have been like for fathers before modern medicine as Camille screamed in agony, begging for more medication...and there was nothing I could do. I tried to help her get more comfortable, but that was just not possible. Camille tried so hard to keep pushing, but the pain wouldn't let her. I can't believe women had more than one child before epidurals...but I am 100% sure that women are divinely designed to tolerate pain that most men would never voluntarily subject themselves to...even if it was to create life. I have never felt love like I felt watching Camille suffer so much for the sake of our child. And after all of that, 9 months of discomfort and 3 hours of the worst pain of her life, she still considers this child as both of ours. I feel like I have done nothing up to this point. I owe my deepest capacity to feel and the most love I have ever experienced all to my lovely Camille.
At 5:09 am Saturday August 30th Camille was finally done delivering our first child. Camille was out of it, I was a zombie...but I was torn down the middle with the desire to stare at our baby and comfort Camille. The baby won. I had to watch our daughter. I had to watch her turn from purple to pink as she took her first breaths. I had to see that first yawn, and see the first little sneeze. I had to watch her eyes scan the room, stopping at each person hanging over her to investigate. I know babies can't see well, but the doctors said they can see blurry shapes...and I know she was looking at the people consciously. I know she was aware.
The hyper-aware phase didn't last long. Before it was over, however, I had the first chance to stare into my daughter's eyes and let her take in mine. We stared at each other for what seemed like forever..but was probably only about 45 seconds. But she was looking into me as I cried. I have never in my life imagined that feeling in a way to do it justice. I was holding a child that needs me. She has been given to me for eternity. She is half me.
Camille did a great job breastfeeding for the first time. Molly is sucking on anything that even comes close to her face so she was definitely pre-programed for this. Her eyes closed and haven't really opened much since the first hours. She is crying a lot and we have no idea what to do with her. I did change her diaper for the first time, which was eventful. We have learned to wrap her up like a burrito (thanks to Rikki) which she likes. She is always hungry. She is wiggly. She is beautiful.
She really is beautiful, by the way. She is gorgeous. She has dark hair and olive skin. She has chubby little cheeks and long toes like her mother. She is wonderful.
So, that is it. That is how the most magical and emotional experience of my life happened. Finally, my life has truly begun.