As the sun rose yesterday, I sat listening to the humming of air conditioning and the rhythmic thumping of a heartbeat belonging to someone I had not yet met. Everyone around me drifted in and out of sleep, but I sat awake, staring out of the fifth floor window of the delivery room.
Mom and I arrived at 3:30 AM Sunday night/Monday morning, a couple hours after Jessi was scheduled for her labor to be induced. Her mom and Kris were there and I was shocked by the laid back atmosphere as they sat and watched Cartoon Network and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
I've never been present while anyone was in labor before. I know there would be a hefty amount of waiting involved, but I figured it wouldn't be too long of a wait since the labor was induced. I was a little off the mark with my figuring.
The morning went on without a hitch. Dad and Jessi's dad swung through on the way to work to see how things were going.
Mom sipped on tea and I sipped on hot chocolate, staring out into the foggy morning.
After 7 AM, Jessi's daughter, Hanna, and her sister, Kari, joined us. A short while later, things began to pick up.
A little before 11:00, Jessi asked us to leave the room so the doctor could check and make sure everything was going smoothly. We grabbed our stuff and Hanna, Kari, Mom, and I headed to the waiting room.
The girls played their Nintendo DS games, I played around on my computer, and time passed. At 12:30, Kris slid through the doors to tell us "it's go time." Mom kissed him and wished him luck and he disappeared behind the doors.
We waited, all of us nervous and excited. Hanna spoke of the butterflies that had taken up residence in her stomach since the night before.
Just before 1:00 PM, Jessi's mom, Tina, burst into the waiting room, digital camera in hand, and showed us the first picture of baby Matthew. He arrived at 12:54 PM on November 26th, 2007. It had happened, everything went well, and he was here.
The girls bounced off the walls, talking about how cute he is. Mom smiled through teary eyes. I looked at the photo in disbelief. I was an uncle.
Tina ran back in, promising to come get us a soon as everything was cleaned up.
We packed our things and waited for the word.
Moments later, Lullaby and Goodnight echoed throughout the halls of the hospital, a signal to everyone there that a baby had just been born.
I've heard that song countless times before, but it never made me feel the way I did in that moment. Hanna and Kari listened in the hall with enormous smiles.
Jessi's dad, Bob, returned bearing cheeseburgers, knowing nobody had eaten. The girls wolfed some down, but Mom and I were too anxious.
Not much time had passed and Tina returned to bring us back. We followed the winding halls and entered the room to the sound of a tiny cry. I turned the corner in the doorway and saw the little pink source of the cry. There was my nephew. Matthew Robert Drake. All seven pound and seven ounces of him wrapped up in a nineteen and a half inch package.
Everyone took their turn greeting and snuggling the little guy in the order we came into the room. I looked on and before I knew it, it was my turn.
He reached his tiny, long-fingered hand up out of his swaddling clothes and gave me what looked like a little wave before briefly opening his eyes. He was just beautiful. I've never seen such a peaceful and content little baby.
Jessi looked great and seemed serene. Kris was overjoyed and swimming in pure happiness.
They took their turns snuggling and saying hello.
As it approached 6:00 PM, we headed home, but not before we each got one more snuggle in.
We made our way home through the slick, rainy evening. I picked at some dinner and tried to write this blog entry, but only made it halfway through, as I kept dozing off for a few seconds as I typed. I gave up just after midnight, at which point I had been awake for thirty five hours straight. I then slept for thirteen.
I still can't quite believe what happened in one small room yesterday. Parents became grandparents, grandparents became great grandparents, a little girl became a big sister, I became an uncle, my brother became a father, and a new person came to be.
Little Matthew, I'm so happy and honored I was able to be near when you came into the world. I'm glad I was there to welcome you along with the rest of your family. I know your namesake was there with us too.
Welcome to the world, Matthew (and to our hearts.)