On January 9, 2012, I had the honor of acting as the “surrogate father” for my best friend Bridget as she gave birth to her second son, Grant. Her real husband, Dave, is in the Army and is serving our country on a year long deployment. I had the idea to make a photo book with all of the pictures I took from that day and include letters from myself, Bridget, and her husband. I thought it would be neat to get the day’s events told from 3 people experiencing it very differently. I am hoping it is something Grant could read when he is older and can see how very special his birthday was. Instead of just writing about January 9th, I am going to post the letter that I will be contributing to the book.
On January 9, 2012 you decided it was time to make your grand appearance into the world. The doctors had scheduled your birth to be later on that day, but I guess you wanted to show up early for your appointment (you get that from your mom). At about 6:30AM your mom called me to tell me that her water had just broken. We talked for a minute about what to do and I told her I would be leaving my house in a few minutes to pick her up. “He’s COMING!” we both shrieked. After hanging up with her, my heart was pounding like crazy in my chest. I had been looking forward to your birth for months (9 to be exact) and couldn’t believe the time had finally come.
I drove 90 mph down the freeway to pick up your mom, her contractions were coming on very fast she warned me. By the time I picked her up and we were headed to the hospital, they were 3 minutes apart and she was in a tremendous amount of pain. Regardless, she was calm and in true Bridget style was cracking jokes the whole ride. “Oh man, I hope I don’t have this kid in your car. Do you have any towels? I KNEW I shouldn’t have worn jeans!”
We pulled up to the Emergency Room entrance and I excitedly screamed at the valet man “we’re having a baby!!! Where do we go?” Once we got your mom in a wheelchair, we started towards the maternity ward. It felt like a scene from a movie; your mom writhing in pain, the nurse sprinting through the maze-like halls of the hospital pushing the wheelchair, and me running behind, suitcases in hand.
The nurses hooked your mom up to a few machines to check on your heartbeat and to see how she was progressing. Your heartbeat sounded great, they assured us. Your mom and I sat in the triage room for about an hour before the decision was made to deliver you. Her contractions were extremely painful but guess what? Your dad was watching the whole thing on Skype and helping her get through them! The USO had set him up in a private room complete with high-speed internet and a basket full of treats to enjoy.
Dr. Oliver (the same doctor who delivered your big brother) came in and said it was time to start getting ready for the C-Section! All of the sudden the room was filled with people giving your mom and I instructions and asking all sorts of questions. Your dad started to get anxious listening to the pre-op rundown. Finally it came time to tell him goodbye, and I would turn on the computer again when we got into the operating room!
To say I had butterflies in my stomach would be a huge understatement. I was told to wait in the hallway while they stuck a needle in your mom’s back to numb her up and get her ready for surgery. I will never forget the feeling of pacing the hospital hallway waiting to enter the OR. A doctor walking by said “you DID eat breakfast today, right?” I lied and said “yes, I ate!” The truth was I hadn’t had time that morning, everything had happened so quickly. I was nervous about how the surgery would go. Would there be weird smells? Would I faint? Was I going to say the right things to make your mom feel less nervous?
I was called into the Operating Room and was surprised to see about 10 doctors and nurses busily checking monitors, IV’s, and your mom. Your mom felt very sick due to the medicine, but only for a few minutes. I barely had time to sit down next to her head and setup my laptop before they started cutting her open to take you out! I got your dad on the computer so he could watch the whole thing from overseas, it was amazing. Your dad is often a man of few words , but boy could you see the excitement on his face. He was BEAMING with pride and joy. The love and support between your mom and dad was such a beautiful thing to witness.
Your mom was so brave during the whole surgery. She would occasionally ask how everything was going, but was incredibly calm. We were talking about what color hair you might have (if any at all) and who you would look like. There was a nurse named Rachel who helped us out a lot. When I took a break from taking pictures to hold your mom’s hand, she grabbed my camera and took over. She would even grab your dad (the laptop) and give him a better angle to see everything going on. Your mom, being the selfless woman she is, even started asking Rachel about her gorgeous engagement ring and when the wedding was. It is so typical of her to be happy for someone and asking about others while she is literally being cut open and in labor!
Finally the time had come. Dr. Oliver said “you are going to feel a lot of pressure, okay Bridget?” We heard a bunch of strange noises, your mom seemed a bit uncomfortable, but then the best sound of all flooded the operating room. You came out screaming your little head off- there is no sweeter sound to a mother giving birth than to hear the powerful cries of her little one. You only cried for a minute or two and then fell fast asleep, it had been a long morning for you! While your tears only lasted a few minutes, mine continued throughout the day. The overwhelming feeling of happiness and gratefulness that you were born so perfectly healthy is an indescribable feeling.
As soon as you were born, it was a like a party in the Operating Room. One of the doctor’s switched on the radio and the song “Bulletproof” by La Roux was playing. They wrapped you in a warm blanket and put you in my arms. I went and sat next to your mom so she could take a look at your beautiful face. She was so in love. She looked at me and said “THIS is what elation feels like.”
Your birth, Grant, was one of the best days of my life. While your dad had to miss it in person, it was really neat to be able to have him on Skype watching the whole thing. I stayed with your mom that night in the hospital and didn’t get much sleep (you cried a lot) but it didn’t even matter. Your mom and I loved you so much and were amazed at how perfect you were. Your mom was super excited that you were born with brown hair, “He got some of my genes!!” she exclaimed. Your brother Nolan was born pretty much an exact replica of your dad with his blonde hair!
So, sweet Grant, that is the story of your birth from a surrogate father’s point of view. It was nerve wracking, exciting, surprising, and to be honest, really fun! Your mom and I both loved it because we got to spend an entire 30 hours together just chatting and swooning over you. After everything was all said and done, I felt kind of sad that it had to be over. If I could, I would do it over again 10 times. However, that is coming from the one who DIDN’T have her stomach cut open and wasn’t on bed rest for almost 3 days afterwards Your birthday, Grant, brought happiness to people in North Carolina, Florida, Connecticut, California, Virginia, and all the way to Afghanistan. Your birthday was perfect because it brought Nolan a little brother, your mom and dad a second son, your grandparents another grandson, and brought your aunt’s another beautiful nephew. We love you!