Friday, March 20, 2015

Welcome to Earth, Henry!

Introducing Henry Donald Cusimano, the baby also known as Huck.
I am not sure that I'm up to the task of finding words for all of the emotions of the last three weeks, but I will try. I heard once that having a child was like suddenly having your heart outside your body, and that comes as close to describing how I feel as anything. It feels raw and vulnerable (you were right, Dad) but also thrilling and awe-inspiring. 

I could sit and stare at Henry for hours. The funny little faces that he makes in his sleep are endlessly entertaining, and just when I think I have memorized every plane of his face, he changes and I begin again - committing him to memory. I know that there are still hormonal issues at play, and sleep deprivation certainly plays into things as well, but I could cry just looking at him.

Ok, onward. When our attempts to get him to flip failed (Tom's favorite joke was that the baby obviously has my sense of direction), we knew that Henry's birthday would be Friday, February 27th, so no surprises there. On Thursday night, we headed around the corner to Fig and Olive for our last childless date night. We went back and forth on names and stuffed our faces with crostini. It was the perfect end to what was a pretty wonderful pregnancy.

The next morning, I distracted myself with Scandal and Grey's Anatomy until it was time to leave.
{I kind of miss that giant belly.}

We drove the eight tenths of a mile to Cedars, checked in at Labor and Delivery, and settled into room 17.

My parents arrived shortly after we were settled in, and I was so glad to have them there. My mom was her inimitable, soothing presence - calm and reassuring, as always, a model of the mother I hope to become. My dad distracted me (and entertained our nurse) with tales of playing "Box That Star" wherein one person provides the name of a deceased celebrity, the more obscure the better, (George C. Scott) and the other person must correctly identify the cause of death (abdominal aortic aneurysm, which also took out Einstein, should you ever find yourself in a game of Box That Star). They were exactly what I needed, as usual.
Before long, it was time to do the damn thing. Tom suited up. I took deep cleansing breaths and tried not to think about the impending rearrangement of my insides.

Tom had to wait in the hallway while I acquainted myself with anesthesia. I got a spinal and a healthy dose of Versed. I was in and out while what felt like a lot of people buzzed around the room. At some point, Tom was allowed back in. I just remember that he suddenly appeared by my head and was holding my hand. Not long after that, I heard Dr. Walden say that he was really wedged in there, and I remember feeling pressure and tugging when they pulled him out, but all in all, the whole experience was very...low key? 

And then, all of a sudden, he was here.

I have a very clear image in my mind of Henry, seconds after he was born, eyes wide open, looking right at me when Dr. Walden held him up over the drape. When I heard his first cry, I let out the breath I didn't know I'd been holding, but when I saw him, I became a mother. They immediately whisked Henry to a nearby warmer to be weighed and measured, and Tom went with him to cut the cord and take a lot of pictures.

I was on the other side of the room in somewhat of a daze, but I will never forget Tom's first exclamation on holding our son - "He's the softest thing I've ever felt!"
{This whole being out in the world thing is highly suspect...}
Then, finally, he was in my arms.

It was at that moment that we decided on his name. We had pretty much settled on Henry the night before, but it wasn't until he arrived that we officially chose Donald for his middle name. As it turned out, that was a pretty appropriate decision since he bears a striking resemblance to his namesake.

As soon as my insides were all safely returned to my inside, we were wheeled into the recovery room.  

It was one visitor at a time in there, so after a little while, Tom sent my mom in.

Next my dad came for a visit. As you can see, he was pretty unmoved by the whole thing...
Again, I have no concept of how long anything took, but after some unknown period of time, we were wheeled into the postpartum wing and the room where we would spend the next couple of days. The rest of the day consisted of a lot of cuddling.

My sister and Tom's brother arrived to love on Henry.
{Michael brought Tom a purple cow when he was born and decided to continue the tradition.}
This picture, taken by my dad, pretty much sums up the day. So much love.

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