we met up with some friends a few weeks ago that are expecting their first baby, the entire time we were at dinner, i couldn't stop staring at the beautiful mother-to-be. i remember those last days before baby, i remember the anxiety and excitement, i remember those sleepless nights (very different than these sleepless nights), i remember looking at ina's room and just being so excited for the things to come that i could burst (not literally because with all the baggage i was carrying, that would just be gross) but as i was staring at my friend who is about to experience something that will change her entire life, i was just in awe. i'm not yet ready to be pregnant again but seeing her made me excited to feel it all over again.
i tried telling her about all the excitement i felt leading up to the big day and i tried telling her everything i could remember about the things that helped me get through it all and then i remembered something that i don't think i ever said out loud but it was something that i will never ever forget......the victory lap.
you see, after the rush of labor and sweet fresh baby on your chest and then the clean up (of baby and you), they need to move you out of the l&d (labor and delivery) room and move you on over to the maternity ward. during our hospital tour, they took us to both rooms with a simple explanation, "the l&d room is where you have the baby and the maternity ward is where you will stay the days after your baby is born." but what they didn't explain was the process of getting from the l&d room to the maternity room. at our hospital it was around the corner and down a hallway. so as they took my precious little girl from me to the nursery and daddy followed, i was left alone with the nurses in the l&d room for some much needed clean up and some alone time. this alone time was the first time i was separated from my precious baby in over 38 weeks. it's the farthest i had ever been from her so i was trying to not think about the separation and instead i tried super hard to remember every little detail of the previous 12 hours. the nurse then said to me, "are you ready?"
ready for what? i had just endured the most magnificent thing my body has ever accomplished. i'm ready to take on the world!! what do you got lady?
turns out she was just asking if i was ready to leave the room where my family of three was holding each other just seconds before that, ready to leave the room where i saw my baby for the first time, ready to leave the room that changed my life. with a tiny bit of hesitation i said, "yup, let's go."
she helped me out of the bed and into a wheelchair. as she pushed me out of the room, i took one last look at the bed and the view and soaked it all in one last time. then she wheeled me around the corner and down the hall where all the other nurses where going about their business. what happened next, i did not expect and i will never forget.
for a brief second it was as if i had parted the red sea and time stood still. all the nurses stopped what they were doing to look up at me and smile. because they knew. they knew i was a new mama! that i had just been to the battlefield and back. that i survived and that i was a straight "soldia!" (you know, hardcore for soldier!) and in that brief second i stood up a little taller and smiled back. it was my victory lap, my body was torn to shreds and exhausted but i had never ever felt better in my entire life.
not long after i arrived in my room the rest of my family showed up and we took a much needed nap but i must've dreamt of that victory lap over and over again because i could not stop smiling.
and here lying beside me were my gold medals.