Happy Birthday, Daniel! I can't believe that it's been 13 years since I gave birth to my son, but it's true! July 2nd became a very special day in our family back in 1995. It was a Sunday. And it was hot outside! I remember wearing my favorite pink maternity shorts set to the hospital. Thankfully, I didn't have to give birth outside, but in the nice, air-conditioned, well-equipped hospital room at Centennial Medical Center.
I woke up early that morning (probably 4:30 or so), needing to go to the bathroom. When I took care of that urgent need, I realized that my water broke and it was going to be the day that my baby was born. I went back to bed and told Cary that I thought my water had broken (it's hard to be sure when you are taking care of other business and have never had a baby before). He's not a morning person, so it took him a couple of minutes for my news to sink in, but then he sprung into action: Are you sure? Should we call the doctor? Are you feeling any contractions? We decided to wait a little while and see how things progressed. Around 6:00 a.m., I called my mom, who was living in NJ at the time and had a plane ticket to come to Nashville that afternoon. When I described what had happened and what I was feeling, she told me that I was in labor and that she'd be there to meet her grandbaby that afternoon. Somewhere in there we called the doctor and were told to go to the hospital. We arrived around 7:00 a.m., just in time for the shift change for the nurses, so we had to wait a few minutes for our nurse to come on duty and get me settled. Then the waiting began.
My contractions were getting stronger, but I wasn't dialated very much, so they wanted me to wait to get the epidural. Cary tried to "talk" me through the painful contractions by helping me to remember fun trips we'd taken. One of our main activities when we'd travel would be to find good places to eat, so he'd start telling me to think about such-and-such restaurant, or some particular food we'd eaten. I couldn't handle thinking about food, though, and had to say, "No food, no food!" Poor guy was then hard-pressed to help me think of other images to focus on. Thank goodness for beautiful Santa Fe sunsets to set my mind on.
We hadn't told a lot of people we were at the hospital, since it was Sunday morning and everyone we knew would be at church, but the word started to get out and we had some visitors right after church. I was still pre-epidural, so I wasn't too social, nor did I want any food, which friends brought to Cary. My dad had some down to TN early, hoping to be there for the birth of his first grandchild before he headed to NC for a conference all week. Since my due date had been June 30, he got to spend a couple of days watching and waiting with us. He and my sister arrived at the hospital after church. Soon after that, I finally got the epidural and life/labor was much better. In fact, I called one friend who had come by when I was being unsocial, and told her that I felt like a new woman!
Labor progressed pretty well the rest of the afteroon and it was finally time to get that baby outta there! I don't know how long I had to push, but at 5:10 p.m., Daniel Lane Ryan came into the world. During pregnancy, we didn't know if we had a boy or a girl so it was exciting to hear, "It's a boy" and to be able to give Daniel his name (I don't think he would have appreciated being called, "Emma Joy" which was our girl name). I think that my dad was the first family member to see Daniel, and Jay Smith holds the honor of being the first friend. My sister was off at the airport picking up my mom when Daniel was born, so she used to joke with Jay that she held a grudge with him for getting to see her nephew before she did. I think she's over it now. :-)
So, there you have it, Daniel's birth story. I will always remember when they had gotten me moved to a regular room and had given Daniel his bath. They wheeled in the bassinet and inside was a little baby swaddled in a blanket. All I could see was his dark head of hair and his big brown eyes looking around and blinking. He had already captured my heart while in the womb and when I had seen him and held him right after he was born, but that scene will be forever in my memory as the defining moment of when I realized that I was a mommy and had a beautifully created son.
Thank you, God, for Daniel. Thank you for giving him life and for allowing me to be his mom. He's your child, Lord, and I give him to you once again, as he turns 13 and moves into this new phase of his life. Have mercy on him and bless him beyond anything he could ever ask or imagine. Thank you, God!