I keep a lot of lists. I like the feeling of crossing things off. But recently, I’ve started making lists of things I accomplish each day. (Besides keeping a human alive.)
Today, I wrote ‘brushed my teeth’ on that list. At noon. Yesterday, it was 10PM. (And I wish that was something funny you say in a blog, but didn’t actually happen.)
So, the fact that I’m making time to write this blog post that’s been on my to-do list for 3.5 weeks (with one hand on my iPhone and a baby napping on my chest) feels right up there with crossing off ‘learning Mandarin’.
It’s a crazy thing when the hype actually lives up. I can only think of a handful of things where the suspense and excitement you build around an event has lived up. If I’m being brutally honest, off the top of my head, this is that list up until now:
1. Our wedding
2. Trip to Italy
3. Playing Augusta National
I’m sure I have a few more, but I’m tired. The point is, when I’m really excited about something (I mean Christmas morning of 1994 excited), I usually build it up so much in my mind, it’s nearly impossible for the actual thing to be as impressive as I made it in my head. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Disney World for the first time was anything short of freakin’ magical, but EXCEEDING the expectation is really hard when you’ve been hyping something for so long. You expect it to be awesome.
So, of course, there’s a great deal of build up to the birth of a child.
More hype than an ESPN commentator on the phone with Nick Saban around playoff selection time.
A lot. Of hype.
But, it doesn’t matter what everyone tells you. How excited you are. How prepared you are to meet your little one. It exceeds all of the hype. ALL OF IT. In a way most new parents probably understand, that makes these words seem hollow and trite.
How do you put words to a religious experience like that? My dad always said there are no atheists in foxholes. I’m convinced there aren’t any in a delivery room either.
I just wasn’t prepared...even though I prepared. A lot. I built it up so much it couldn’t possibly live up. I set the moment up to fail. But, it didn't.
John Michael's arrival:
This mama was totally done with pregnancy. Complete with a really lovely hormonal meltdown in my doctor's office the Wednesday before John Michael made his arrival. For whatever reason, our viewers recognize me the most at the grocery store and the doctor's office. So, if you saw me covering my tear-stained face with a People magazine, don’t worry. I’m alive. It was just hormones.
So my doctor, (I like to call her Saint Jennifer Morgan. ‘Dr. Morgan’ doesn’t fully convey how great this lady is) says, “You are progressing great. Baby is great. We can induce you as early as Monday, (39 weeks, 1 day), but that’s your call 100%." Believe me. When you get to the end, the lines get blurry. So after about a five gallon bucket of tears deciding what to do, and a very frank conversation with John Michael asking if he was ready, I said, "BOOK THAT INDUCTION."
Mother's intuition is a beautiful thing, because guess who was ready to make his arrival, anyway?
5PM: I went into early labor on the news desk during our 5PM show Friday night. I’d shoot my husband a text from the desk every time one would start. Contractions every 10 minutes. Nothing too painful.
1:30AM: Hello labor. When the doctor says ‘you’ll know the difference when they’re the real deal.’ They 100% are not lying to you. What in the actual hell?!?! Even with the fake screaming, chick flicks do not prepare you for labor pain.
3:30AM: My husband is pulling the trigger. We are going to the hospital. Do not care that contractions are not quite 5 minutes apart. We’re going.
5AM: Waiting to ‘progress.’ No epidural. By this point I have reached ‘cliche pregnant woman status’ and I am ranting to my husband about equal pay for women and basically my disbelief that millions of women do this crap for humanity’s sake with not nearly enough monuments erected in their honor..
5:30AM: Husband still a champion...still has not left me. Still telling me I’m beautiful and strong and wonderful. Spoiler—by this point, I am not.
6:30AM: The clouds part and an angel in scrubs says, "Just got off the phone with the doctor. We are keeping you. We’ll wheel you back now for that epidural."
6:45AM: EPIDURAL. Say it with me people—-TAKE THE DRUGS.
1:00PM: Started pushing, and I knew the Dawgs we’re kicking off at 3:30....
1:20: John Michael arrives. Disbelief. Lots of staring at our perfect human. 10 fingers, 10 toes.
3:30: The Dawgs lost to Auburn that day, but we won so huge. My husband and I kept looking at each other all day saying, “I can’t believe he’s ours...”
3.5 weeks later, we’re still saying that. We’re tired. Sometimes we don’t know why he’s crying. Sometimes I’m curious how such a small human can create three times their body weight in poo. One time I clipped his fingernail too short and he cried for 5 minutes, and I cried for an hour. He peed on everything last night at 3AM. Everything.