Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sip and See

On Saturday, four amazing girlfriends -- Jen, Jaime, Aimee and Kristi -- hosted a beautiful and breathtakingly elegant shower for Baby John and me. What a wonderful way to celebrate his one month birthday! There simply are no words for how special these women's friendship is, and how lovely and memorable the morning they created was.
The shower was a Sip and See, a Southern tradition where guests sipped champagne while peeking at John, who happily slept in the arms of anyone who held him.

The brunch menu was delicious -- sausage-filled phyllo cups, Greek yogurt tarts, homemade spinach and sausage quiches, fresh fruit, homemade cupcakes, pain du chocolate just like the ones I remember in Paris and a hash brown casserole that just about made me cry. Every guest took home a crispy almond butter treat with chocolate chips as a shower favor.

And the decorations were incredible! There were so many personal touches -- a hand painted frame holding the shower invitation, an amazing diaper cake, tiny seed packets shaped like blue birds, and darling baby clothes hanging from a clothes line. There was even a Wishing Tree, where every guest could write their wish for John and hang it on a branch.

It was a perfect morning. Not only was I so grateful to my dear friends, but I just loved the company of all the women who attended and helped welcome John Thomas in style.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Morning John was Born...

John, here's the story about the morning you came into the world:

On a Friday night ten days before you were due, I counted contractions two minutes apart for an hour and a half. We rang the baby bell, waking up a neighbor in the middle of the night to stay with Madeline and Charlie, and asked Sandie, Rob's mom, to hop on a plane from Chicago. We thought you were coming and drove calmly to downtown Nashville in the pitch dark. We checked into the OB Emergency Room, but you weren't ready yet, so the doctor on call told me to go for a walk. Since the hallway was only about 50 feet long and pacing that more than a couple of times started to feel strange, we ended up walking in circles around the hospital parking lot. Until your dad discovered a newspaper and dropped off, leaving me to wander alone, blathering updates to family on my cell phone, in a green snap up hospital gown with slept-on hair at 4:30 in the morning -- I'm sure I looked like a crazy person to all the construction workers adding a wing onto the hospital. We graduated to circling the block, which I'm sure looked even stranger to the early-morning Krispy Kreme crowd. Eventually though, we were sent home. False labor. We decided to make the best of it and pretend like we were on a romantic date, so we stopped for pancakes at the Pancake Pantry.

After that, I thought you were coming every 15 minutes. It was so exciting! But the anticipation started to wear on our nerves as the days passed by...

And then, at the neighborhood swimming pool on a Wednesday morning six days later, I started feeling something a little stronger. That night around midnight, I started counting contractions again. Only this time, it hurt. A lot (understatement). At 5am, after some serious home labor, it was time to go in again. Charlie woke up to say goodbye.

Rob and I joked that the next part of your story was like a scene out of a movie. I was huffing and puffing, squeezing the door with white knuckles and periodically screaming, "Oh God, here comes another one!" as your daddy sped down Interstate 65 at 95 miles per hour. Inbetween contractions, which were only 90 seconds apart, we saw the most brilliant fire-red sun rise; it was truly one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen and I told myself that I would remember it forever. You were being welcomed into the world.

There was no time to mess around. I continued to labor au natural; we had to wait on my IV and blood work before my epidural. It felt like forever, but it was actually less than an hour. At last came beautiful relief. One half of my body went numb and I had a runaway leg that liked to slip off the bed, but I could have cared less. With the pain gone, we could focus our thoughts on you.

We were giddy, knowing that we would meet you so soon! We still didn't know if you were going to be a boy or a girl! The actual delivery was over in minutes, so fast in fact, that your doctor, Dr. Eileen Cassidy, wasn't sure if she even had time to slip into scrubs. At 9:35 am, your daddy announced that you were a boy and cut your umbilical cord.
I felt the deepest, most meaningful contentment holding you in my arms for the first time. Like some of my life's greatest accomplishments -- finishing the Chicago marathon, singing for the President in the White House, graduating from college -- were almost meaningless in comparison to the honor of being mother to you, Madeline and Charlie. The moment felt truly divine, as if God himself handed you off to your dad and me and said, "Good luck, guys! You can do it" with a pat on the back.

For a little while after you were born, we enjoyed the peace of the moment. It was quiet and lovely. And then we called each of our fathers to tell them your name. John Thomas.

If you could only remember this time for yourself and see how Madeline and Charlie dote over you, giving you pacifiers, singing you lullabies and telling you over and over again that they love you. Charlie tells you he misses you if we happen to step into another room.

We sure are glad you're here, Little Guy.