A year ago, on this day, my wife and I thought we were about to become parents. A routine ultrasound turned quickly into a “you’re being sent directly to labor and delivery” day. Nothing was ready, in fact, my wife had her work bag and was ready to head from the hospital to the office. I don’t remember if we’d had a good night’s sleep the night before (we mostly likely didn’t, being as freaked out in general as we were in those days wondering when the boy we fully thought was going to be a boy was going to decide to show) and I don’t think my wife had had anything to eat that morning. She wouldn’t have anything to eat for the next day and a half.
In short, exactly a year ago tonight, my wife was in the beginning of 32 hours of labor that ultimately changed our lives forever with the birth of our daughter. In the beginning, thinking I knew what would happen, I took pictures of the clock in our birthing room. I have so many pictures it’s tough to remember if the clock’s hands represent a.m. or p.m. I have vivid memories of the morning we were admitted and the ice pops that turned my wife’s lips blue, and using the bathtub sometime very late into the night. I remember shifts changing and other babies being born, and I remember wishing I could take on more of the work my wife was doing. I joke a lot now about how “I did most of the work,” but that’s nothing but comedy. I gave her my support and I did everything I could, but she did all the work.
She has her first birthday–with a full-on family party, of course–tomorrow. But today, and especially tonight, I’m thinking of my wife. I was at her side throughout it all, except for one moment when the midwife urged me to slip out and get myself something to eat in the hospital cafeteria (I chowed down on a burger and felt quite guilty about it) and the second time, after the birth, when the surgeon doing my wife’s unwanted and unexpected c-section asked me to leave the operating room. After all those hours of labor–the majority without any pain meds–the surgery was complicated and, for me, terrifying.
I had family behind me–and my Dad who snuck his way somehow to find me, staring at the doors to the surgical suite, allowing me to break down and cry–but through it all, my wife showed me what strength and courage and parenthood looked like. She raised the bar so high. And so tonight, as we wrap first birthday presents and prepare to have a fantastic fun event all for our daughter tomorrow, I will toast my wife. The word “labor” doesn’t quite capture what she went through to bring us our unbelievably amazing little girl.
I love you babe. You amaze me and I’m proud to be your husband. Tonight, we toast your labor. Tomorrow we spoil our little girl.