Friday, November 30, 2012

And Then There Were Four

I am wearing just my wedding band as I type this. I had to take off my engagement ring before I went to the hospital for the C-Section and I left on my wedding band in hopes that they would let me wear it into surgery, so that Jon would be there with me in some small way. It's been two and a half weeks, but I keep forgetting to put my diamond back on. I've been up a lot at night.

They even didn't let me wear the ring. I make jokes when I'm nervous and having a baby cut out of me without Jon makes me nervous, so I was cracking up the whole operating room. I'm a hilarious terrified person. Truth is, C-Sections scare the crap out of me. I become convinced that something will go wrong and my precious baby won't be alright. That the room will go silent and no one will tell me why. It's not really rational, but that's what comes of the unhealthy habit of putting off fears instead of facing them when they occur. They all smother you when you can't put them off anymore and your arms are strapped to a table and your baby's life is in the hands of someone else who raises goats in his spare time. No joke. My doctor is awesome. He raises goats. I even joked about it during the surgery. (I was nervous.)

While I was trying to figure out how the smell of the alcohol swab the anesthesiologist put in my oxygen mask took my nausea away, the doctor said, "Oh! She's breech! When did that happen?" Then, over the sheet he asked me, "She wasn't breech, was she?" and I tried to figure out if that's bad in a C-Section, but it was followed by, "It's okay, Just grab her behind the knees like this..." and a few moments later, the most beautiful sound in the world - a healthy (angry) baby wail - filled the operating room. Everything - the stress of finishing my stupid degree before this moment, the pain of not having my husband to hold my hand, the fear that something would go wrong - it all dissipated, showing its weight by its absence and tears of relief and joy rolled down my face, because she was okay. I could have bled out on the table right then for all I cared, but she was okay and the tech said she's so long and look at those feet and I couldn't see her, but it didn't matter, because she was okay. They brought her over and I managed to turn my head enough to kiss the face I could only really half see but already loved more than I could ever speak. She's okay. She's perfect.

Evelyn Kate Butterfield. 8 pounds, 5 ounces. 21 1/2 inches long. Born at 9:10 am on Tuesday, November 13th. And perfect.

Jon called his mom from the ship. She was waiting in recovery with Evelyn while I was still in the operating room, and he got to hear his little girl cry. The same cry that told me everything was okay reassured her daddy as well.

Phone calls can be disappointing during a deployment. What I want is to snuggle into Jon's voice and stay there in its comfort the way I would put on a cozy sweater and curl up on the couch. In reality, phone calls are like trying a sweater on in the store. You can feel how comfortable it is, but you can't receive the full measure of comfort from it, because it's borrowed. It isn't yours yet. It just fuels the longing to really, truly own it.

But this phone call with the newborn, healthy cry was different. It relieved all the pent up worry that something would go wrong and he wouldn't be there to hold my hand. It answered the countless prayers he'd sent up throughout his days flying and studying and eating crappy ship food that God would watch out for his family when he couldn't be there to see how tiny she was. And it reassured him that we were okay. It didn't matter that he'd been up late night after night and it wasn't so bad that he couldn't be there in this moment, because we were okay. I got to talk to him half an hour later, ring back on my finger, and we shared relief and thanks to a good God. It's hard doing things like that over the phone, but in that moment, there was mostly joy.

Evelyn Kate, you are so deeply loved. And we are so intensely grateful for you. "Evelyn" means "life" and Kate means, "pure". You are pure life, sweet girl, from your healthy cries to your wide, observant eyes, you represent the joy of life to us. Welcome.