My role this time was different, though I was no less excited. Fortunately for Nikki and Andrew, he’s here for the birth of their second child, which meant he could be by her side in the delivery room. This time, my job was to be with Nia, the sweet angel I saw come into this world two and a half years ago when her daddy was in Iraq.
Nikki was scheduled for an induction last Tuesday, (the baby was being stubborn about leaving the womb), but when I called her on Monday, she was already contracting. By ten o’clock Monday evening, the contractions were still coming so I came on over. Nia was asleep, and soon we all decided that was a good idea, so I settled onto the comfy couch. They weren’t supposed to go to the hospital until 5:30 a.m. – which as it turns out was exactly when she needed to go anyway because she kept contracting through the night.
I slept a little longer, and Nia woke up about 8:30 in a wonderful mood. We played with all her new Christmas toys (Santa was very good to her), and my mom joined us at the house. I called Andrew. Nikki’s contractions were getting stronger and they were waiting for the epidural. I could hear in his voice the concern he had for his wife, and the feeling of helplessness that he couldn’t do anything to ease her pain. But I knew he was making the difficult task much easier by being there, holding her hand and telling her he loved her.
A few hours later, Nikki’s mom called to tell me they had taken Nikki back for a C-section. Turns out the baby was tangled up in his umbilical cord and didn’t want to let go. Can you blame him? I could hear the worry in her voice too.
But soon after, I got another call from Andrew. A much happier sounding Andrew announcing the birth of his baby boy, Nathaniel. Nikki was fine, the baby was healthy, and everyone sounded relieved and excited. I was too.
Throughout the pregnancy, they’d called the baby “Spud,” because he looked like a little potato in his first ultrasound. They didn’t find out the sex of the baby ahead of time, but apparently Nia had known all along. When she overheard me talking to my mom about Nate, she said, “Nate is Spud.” What a smartie!
After she had a nap and Nikki and Nate had a couple of hours to recover, my Mom and I took Nia to the hospital and Lee met us there. The whole way up the elevator I couldn’t help but think what a momentous occasion this was for Nia, even though she had no idea of the magnitude. She was about to meet her baby brother. The person who would be her friend (and sometimes foe) throughout life. I cherish my relationship with my brother. I hope hers will be just as special. Her life was changing in a major way, and while I know she’ll have to sacrifice some of the one-on-one time with her parents, she’s gaining a whole new member of the family. What a great thing.
When she came into the hospital room, Andrew showed her the baby. “Who’s that?” he asked her.
“Baby Ella,” she replied. Her cousin, Ella, had been born a few weeks before, and it’s easy to see how Nia could think it was baby Ella.
“No honey, that’s baby Spud,” said Andrew.
“Baby Spud!” said Nia. “I hold him!”
I had just picked Nate up. He looked so beautiful, sleeping soundly under his warm blankets. I didn’t want to let him go, but who can deny Nia anything? After all, she is the big sister. I’m just the adoring fan.
Nia crawled into Andrew’s lap, and I handed Nate to her. Then I took the above photo. She was beaming. Even though she can’t truly understand the enormity of the day, I’m sure she could feel the joy and excitment in the room.
Then I took this family photo. What a wonderful group. I’m just glad they let me in on the fun.