If I hadn't ever had a baby of my own, I doubt that today would be as magical as it's been. I might be excited and anxious to learn the name of and meet my first niece. But certainly, I wouldn't be feeling the feelings that my sister's early labor has evoked in me.
The minute I got the call yesterday, I went into a tailspin. My sister informed me that her water broke - 19 days early.
I knew the pregnancy was just fine. In fact, let's just call it what it was: perfect. Whereas I suffered from nausea, exhaustion, a subchorionic hemorrhage and extreme weight gain along with two flu bugs and five colds in my last nine-month stint, my sister had experienced none of the above. One might not even know she was with child if they only saw her from behind.
But still, I was so worried that since the pregnancy had gone so swimmingly that might be a bad omen for the delivery.
So I knew I needed to get to her side. But unfortunately, the airline I needed to fly had other plans. Many other plans. So many people, in fact, that I couldn't get a flight out. Or back.
All the while, her labor was progressing beautifully.
Once I came to terms with not being in the city with her, or the country for that matter, I started to focus on when baby might see the light of day.
The baby's father was great at keeping me informed through texts and so I knew what centimeter we were at as we got there.
I say "we" for a reason.
Sure, my sister was the one in the delivery room. She was the one whose labor pains were so intolerable that when she waited for almost two hours for an anesthesiologist to administer an epidural, she was screaming. She was also the one who was up most of the night as her cervix dilated and who then had to push out a beautiful 6 lb 6 oz baby.
But I was right there with her 2500 miles away. I too was up most of the night. When I was dozing, I was dreaming about labor and delivery, baby names and the like.
Once I got the text that read "Here we go...." at 5 am, I was awake. As though I somehow had injected my veins with red bull, 5 hour energy and a Starbucks coffee.
I started to feel so emotional, knowing she was having to push a baby out of a small hole when I (as luck would have it) needed to have two c-sections.
And then when I got the photo of the unnamed baby...I was absolutely elated. Thrilled and exhausted.
In all, she had a pretty good labor, by labor's standards. My parents were also there to meet their newborn granddaughter. I'll be able to go visit her in a couple of weeks and stay for some time. But I'll always feel guilty that I couldn't be by my sister's side.
And wouldn't you know, Annabel Rose is already breastfeeding like a champ!
She going to have a wonderful life and I'm so grateful to be her auntie.