August 4. At long last.
I went to work. I blogged. I felt sick. I worked. I tried to ignore the date every time I wrote it or looked at a calendar. I felt sick. I tried to pretend it was just another day, not the day. I made a few hopefully-final notes for the temp that would cover my job during my maternity leave. I hoped he would need them soon. I kept my phone absolutely glued to my hand. I charged the battery every time it got below 80%. I carried it to the bathroom, to the water fountain, to the copy machine three feet away from my desk. I checked to make sure it was working, that I had service, that the volume was on. I willed it to ring.
August 4. Our due date. Her due date. Our due date.
It was J's first pregnancy, and a healthy and typical one at that, for which we were so thankful. So I knew that the odds of the baby actually coming on her due date were slim. She wasn't planning to be induced or anything. But still. It was August 4. I've never waited for a day like I waited for August 4, 2014.
The workday came and went and my phone was damnably silent, save for the four thousand texts from well-wishing friends and family members: Any news?? What's going on? Have you talked to J? Any sign of baby? Have you picked a name yet?
(Yes, her name had been picked for weeks. J had asked if we'd be willing to use Ann as her middle name before she ever even officially chose us; it's a family name with great meaning to her. So all we had to worry about selecting was her first name, which was harder than we'd expected. We had finally tentatively settled on Camilla, and when J asked one day if we'd chosen a name, we told her we were pretty sure we would name her Camilla. She told us that she loved it, that it was perfect, and that she felt like the baby really was Camilla. So we all started calling the baby Camilla that day. We just didn't tell anyone.)
We went to the gym after work. We did that most days back then (oh, the days of daily workouts...a faint memory now, ha), and it seemed as reasonable a plan as any. The phone stayed as glued to me during my workout as it had been the rest of the day, and I was constantly creating and recreating my game plan for what would happen if we got The Call while working out. Shower first, then rush to Atlanta? Skip the shower and get there sooner? Did I really want to meet my daughter in my sweaty gym clothes? So many choices that I ultimately did not need to make...the workout hour concluded with nary a call.
August 4 was drawing to a close and life was depressingly identical to any other Monday.
I don't remember as many details about the rest of the evening. I'm sure we ate and walked the dog and double-triple-quadruple checked our packed hospital bags. I can guarantee I did whatever I could to not think about the only thing I could think about. There would have been TV watching and internet surfing and the constant, unceasing praying of a mother waiting on another mother's phone call.
We went to bed on August 4, disappointed that the day had turned out to be so ordinary. I congratulated myself on not texting J all day with the same questions people had been annoying me with: any progress?? (We'd texted about other things, don't get me wrong...I'd just refrained from asking obvious questions. Ha.) I trusted that if there were anything worth reporting, she would have reported it. So we went to bed, expecting to wake up the next morning and face yet another endless day of waiting. Obviously, before I went to sleep, I plugged in my phone, made sure it was working, and turned the volume all the way up. Then I went ahead and just put it on my pillow. Better to err on the side of safety.
August 4, 2014 was a huge letdown.
But then my phone rang. It was just after 1:00 a.m., early on August 5. My phone rang and it was J. I answered on the first ring.
Hey, Erika? I...I think it might be time. My water broke a few minutes ago. We're on the way to the hospital. I think you and Matt should come.
J, you don't have to tell me twice. We quickly dressed, threw our bags into the car, and kissed Lola goodbye. As we pulled out of the garage, we hoped against hope that we wouldn't pull back into that garage without a baby in the car seat.
August 5, eh. August 5, 2014. I hadn't given much thought to August 5- I'd never thought past August 4, but August 5 was starting to show a lot of promise.
We made it to the hospital in record time, where J had indeed been admitted. We stayed with her in the room for the next 9 hours or so of labor, as family members from all three of our families trickled in and slowly filled up the waiting room. By lunchtime, J was ready to push. It didn't take long.
At 12:23 p.m., Camilla Ann was born. Matt cut her umbilical cord. The nurses weighed her, wiped her off, and upon J's request, handed her to me.
August 5, 2014. The day another woman made me a mother. My heart (and my eyes) overflows when I consider the depth of her sacrifice and love.
Tonight I played with my beautiful spitfire of a nearly-toddler. I laughed as I observed the order she chose to eat her dinner in- tonight the sausage and gnocchi and fresh mozzarella got picked first, the cucumbers and tomatoes tossed aside. She played in the bath and screamed when I tried to wipe her snotty nose. She fell asleep during her nightly breathing treatment and we just held her and prayed for her before we laid her in her crib. This child...this long-awaited miracle...she has changed everything. She is the joy of our lives, and being her mother is a gift that I try to never take for granted.
On August 4, 2015, I laid my baby down to sleep. I baked some cupcakes for tomorrow and wrapped some more presents and was just overwhelmed with happiness as I considered the difference a year has made. Tomorrow my Millie turns one. I have been a mother for a year.
What a glorious, sweet redemption.
Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling...We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. Psalm 66:8,9,12