My friend Genesis asked me last night to go with her to visit her pregnant friend Katie at the hospital. Katie’s water had broken earlier in the day, and it was thought that the baby could be mere hours away.
Over 24 hours later, I am finally getting home, pretty exhausted, yet so totally consumed with joy and happiness that I have to tell you about it.
An Unexpectedly Awesome Experience
I have never spent a day with a family anticipating a newborn.
When my 10-years-younger brother was born, I was just 10 years old and spent the day playing cards with my grandma until we drove over to the hospital. I was not there for any of my cousins or other family members being born. I’ve had friends welcome beautiful new babies into the world, but I wasn’t there to see them.
And frankly, I wasn’t really expecting to be around to experience this one either.
I’d met Katie, the mother-to-be, and had hung out with her a few times. So we are friendly, but by no means close. Same with her fiancee Matt. I’m sure we’d be all be great friends if we hung out enough, but you can only get to know people so much over a single dinner party, a poker night, and a few random chats here and there.
So obviously I didn’t know either of their families very well. In fact, I met both Matt and Katie’s parents for the first time just last night, while hanging out in the room where the beautiful Addisyn Marie would be born just a couple of hours ago.
Yet despite my utter lack of familiarity with the family, connected as I was only tangentially via Genesis, I was welcomed with open arms as one of the select few people to share in this incredible occasion.
My initial motivation for going was simply because Genesis asked me to.
My motivation for staying longer than I expected was because I was Genesis’ ride, and I didn’t want her to leave before she was ready.
And my motivation for going back this morning was because I wanted to be a good friend and give Genesis someone specific to share the experience along with her.
But my motivation for staying all the way through Addisyn’s birth tonight, and for writing about it now, is because it turned into one of the most unique and enjoyable experiences I can ever remember.
Many-Much Memorable Moments
It’s not often you get to immerse yourself in pure, uninhibited, absolute love and joy. But I did over the last 24 hours. And it’s why, quite frankly, nothing could have pulled me away from that hospital waiting room.
There are so many moments that stick out in my head.
Chief among them: Katie’s dad Steve, the gruff but tender Texan, walking into the waiting room with tears in his eyes and saying simply, “She’s here.”
Then there was Matt, bursting into the waiting room about 15 minutes later and exclaiming…something. And doing so at startling volume.
It might have been, “The baby is here!” or “Addisyn has arrived!” or anything of the like. I couldn’t tell you the words. But I can tell you that the excitement in his voice was unlike any voice I’ve ever heard, and the smile on his face was about as pure and genuine as any that I’ve ever seen.
How could it not be? He had just walked out of the room where his beautiful, brave fiancee had given birth to his beautiful, perfect little girl.
In that moment, Matt was the picture of pure happiness. My heart couldn’t help but swell up with happiness for him.
There were so many other little moments too:
-Steve regaling us with stories about songs he wrote for his girls, Katie and Ashley.
-An impromptu game of paper toss – which involved tossing torn and wadded up napkins into faraway receptacles – to pass the time.
-Listening to the hilarious “many-much moosen!” skit by Brian Regan.
-Learning about the essential function of doulas in the birthing process. (My future wife will have one of these someday. It’s been decided.)
-Then, making the inevitable joke about “dudelas” who attend to the needs to the man. (You know, like bringing him pizza and beer, setting his fantasy football rosters, and making witty observations to lighten tense moments.)
-Dinner at Pei Wei while Katie napped and everyone stretched their legs and refreshed their energy before the big moment.
-Katie’s parents and Matt’s parents sharing stories and smiles and laughs, further sowing the seeds of what sure appears like a wonderful in-law relationship for the future.
-Stretches of time just sitting quietly on the couch, friends cuddled close to friends, not needing to say any words as anticipation and joy (yes, I’m using that word again), even some anxiety at times, palpably filled the room.
And so many more. I could go on and on.
You might be reading this and thinking that it doesn’t sound so exciting.
Perhaps. Perhaps it’s not so exciting to read about. Perhaps you had to be there.
Well I was there, starting out awkwardly on the periphery and then being welcomed into the middle, and let me just tell you that it was 8,000 times more special to experience in person than my words could ever do justice.
Because at the end of it, there was Addisyn.
Pure Joy, Happiness, and Beauty
Beautiful, sweet, precious Addisyn (or Petal, should you be into nicknames).
Six-point-two ounces of helpless flesh, possibly curly hair, and still-developing organs who relied on everyone in that room for everything…yet who somehow still had the omnipotence within her to fill every single person in her presence to their absolute brim with the purest kind of joy and happiness that we as humans can experience.
I know I’m using words over and over again in this post. Joy. Happiness. Beautiful.
You’ll forgive me, I hope. You sure would had you been there.
Sometimes one’s vocabulary doesn’t need to be very diverse to accurately describe a scene, a situation, a moment.
Today was, simply put, one of the most joyful, happy, and beautiful days I can ever remember.
I didn’t get to sleep much last night, I skipped yoga this morning, and I have plenty of work to make up tomorrow. I couldn’t care less. Some experiences are just too unique and memorable to pass up. This was one such experience.
I can’t thank Genesis enough for wanting me to be there with her, and I can’t possibly express my appreciation to Matt and Katie’s family for welcoming someone they didn’t know with open arms into one of the most intimate and memorable days their family will ever share.
How often do you get to see and experience joy, happiness, and beauty in their purest forms, all in the same place? Not often. I feel so lucky that I was able to today.
What a day it was.
Twenty-four hours immersed in the miracle of life and the miracle of family.
What a wonderful world.
What a beautiful, perfect little girl.
And what a memory that I will never, ever forget.