Scott's sister Krissy and her husband Wade, had their first baby this past week! They call her Ruth. Isn't she beautiful!? Her dark features and the amount of hair she has reminds me of both Charles and Nora.
In thinking of Krissy's first time experience of being a mother, I took some time to reflect on when our first was born almost ten years ago. Life was very different then. Scott and I were going to BYU. He was working part time and I had recently finished working my last day. I was going to take summer off of school since Elisabeth was due July 2nd, and I would finish my studies over the next year and a half. We didn't have much, we were poor college students, but all we had to take care of until that point in time was ourselves. Life was good, we had a good marriage, but it is amazing what children can teach you about love and sacrifice that make life so much more satisfying, fulfilling and joyful.
The day before Elisabeth was born I remember feeling my first contraction. It didn't hurt. It felt more like a brief surge of power moving through my abdomen and lower back. It made me feel excited and happy, knowing our baby would come soon. That is, if the contractions continued, which they did. I felt them throughout the day but didn't take them seriously until that evening when they were causing me serious pain and they were a few minutes apart. We went to the hospital and got checked in. I requested an epidural immediately. Once the epidural was in and working, my entire body relaxed. I was able to rest and fall asleep. I woke up when I felt a strong pressure down low. I called the nurse in and Elisabeth was born after a couple of pushes. The sensation of her coming out was amazing. One minute there was a human growing inside of me, folded in half, squished, taking up a lot of room, making me feel pressure in all areas of my stomach at all times. Then the next minute I could feel her moving out, the pressure was leaving and then my stomach felt as it had 10 months prior; empty, normal. Of course my stomach wasn't the same, it was a lot bigger now, but you know what I mean :).
The nurses immediately whisked her away to bundle her up and put gooey stuff on her eyes. I remember sitting up, wanting to get a peek of her, hoping the nurses would hurry up and bring her back. I thought it was kind of mean that they immediately took her away from me, and on top of that made her cry! I understand now the reason behind it all. As they walked her back to me, I held out my arms to take her, wanting to comfort her and was overcome with a feeling of love and emotion so strong that tears came to my eyes. Scott's eyes were not dry either. Giving birth, creation of another human is beautiful, miraculous and amazing! An amazingly, wonderful gift from God. She was ours. We had created her and this little infant who had been growing in my belly for so long was now in my arms! So soft. So tiny. So beautiful. Absolutely perfect in every way!
We learned a lot during our short stay at the hospital. I learned how to nurse, Scott learned how to change a diaper, we learned how to suction the gunk out of her throat that she kept choking on, we had doctors come in and teach us about caring for the baby, safety and hygiene, warning signs for health issues, and on and on. And then they said it was time to go. Were they crazy?! I knew nothing about caring for a baby, besides what they had just advised me. Did they really expect me to remember it all? And what about all the stuff they didn't cover? I needed to study some sort of manual. But there was none. And so we strapped her in her car seat, which she didn't come close to filling, put her in our car and drove her to our apartment, our home. My mom arrived that day and it was comforting to know she'd be with me over the next week, that she had done this 5 times before, even if it had been 18 years ago.
People sometimes ask now since we've been blessed with four more children, "is it not as special the second (or third, fourth, fifth :)) time around?" My answer is that it is always special. It changes because it's not a first time; you've done these things before. We learn and grow over the years which changes perspective. But the opportunity we are given by a loving Heavenly Father to bring a sprit into this world to inhabit a body that you and your husband have created will always be a joyful, sacred and miraculous experience.