We woke up this morning feeling so tired. Not tired in the usual way parents of a newborn feel. Baby Judd did not stay with us in our room last night. He probably won’t stay with us tonight either. We are emotionally tired because this beautiful and precious birth is so very complicated and bittersweet. Last night was a night we will never forget. Our NBFF is one of the most brave people we will ever know.
Her labor was progressing so slowly throughout the day, that around 7:00 we thought we should run out to regroup and grab some dinner because we thought it was going to be another long night of waiting. While ordering food for her mom, she called, “How close are you? It’s happening.” We got back just in time, Judd was born at 7:44. When we ran in, she was hoping we were the doctor, disappointed and almost naked she yelled “WHERE IS HE?!?” and she raised up her right hand like a high-five and said “You! (to me) Momma, you hold this hand, and You! (to Hayes) Dad, you hold this hand.” (gesturing to her other hand). Once we were in our places, obedient to her every wish and desire she looked up at Hayes and said, “WHERE is the doctor? I’m tellin’ you…when he gets here I’m gonna KILL him.” Hayes and I glanced back and forth at each other, my eyes laughing and apologizing to him for the graphic scene before him (the poor guy was staring at the back wall for most of the time) and his eyes back at me in awe of this woman – her boldness and tenacity, and clear head (and humor!) in the midst of the chaos and pain.
The doctor arrived, she yelled at him, he yelled back in good fun…something about traffic, she pushed three times, and Judd was out. It was the most glorious and amazing moment. He was a bit bruised because the cord was wrapped around his neck. His apgar was a 7 when he was first born, an hour later he was a 9. Praise be to God for this unfailing gift.
Since then we have spent our time loving on them. I didn’t leave my NBFF’s side for a long time after the delivery. Hayes followed Judd wherever he went, but something kept me glued to her side, squeezing each other’s hands as she delivered the placenta, and got clean and warm, shaking under her new blankets. I told her that she was amazing. I told her that she was brave. I told her that he was perfect.
She held him first, he was able to nurse for a little while. It didn’t bother me one bit. He was beautiful and was doing the thing that was best for him. She was loving him and doing what she could in the time that she could do it. Then her mom held him, we took pictures and laughed at his little nose and dimples. Her mom handed him over to me and took the same pictures and then I passed him on to Hayes, who hogged him for a little while. There was so much love in the room. I looked around feeling so privileged to be in their company. This little boy is so loved.
His grandmother looked at me and asked us what we thought about middle names. I told her about my father and the amazing man that he is, and our plan to name Judson after him, but took the cue to ask her why. She was wondering if we could add the name La-Sean, as it is a family name of theirs. Our NBFF’s middle name is actually La-Shea. “Of course.” I said. OF COURSE.
We fed him a bottle, he took it like a champ, and we said goodnight. I know he wasn’t put down for one single moment that night. They are cherishing these hours. They are counting them down until they are discharged. They don’t want to leave him. They don’t want to say goodbye. We are also counting down the hours. We can’t WAIT to be discharged. We can’t WAIT to have him all to ourselves. It’s bittersweet. It’s painful. It’s impossibly hard.
Yes, we are tired. Mostly because we are fighting our natural instincts to scoop him up, unwrap him, take off his clothes, and breathe in his little smells. But that time will come. We have a lifetime of breathing in his smells, and for now we need to respect their time. They will remember it always, it will help with their healing and grief, and hopefully bring to mind God’s loving hand in their lives.
The clock is ticking and we are thankful.