For those of you who are not on Facebook, this post may be a bit delayed. For that, I apologize!
Anyway, last Wednesday evening, I became an aunt of 12. That's right-- a dozen nieces and nephews.
I got the call around noon.
"Well, we're going to the hospital," my mom announced excitedly.
"Really? Well, keep me posted," I told her, thinking it would likely be awhile. After my last sister's baby, I knew that labor can sometimes take hours... days, even.
I spent the afternoon at work, and then went to pick up my sister-in-law at her house around 5pm to head over to the hospital. My mom and other sister had been there all day, serving as cheerleaders to Tonya.
By the time we arrived, things had progressed. Tonya was definitely a bit more uncomfortable, and her contractions were taking her somewhere. Her midwife was continually monitoring her status and would tell us. As it got closer, I stepped outside of the room to call my dad. He had a previous appointment but had not yet arrived, and we knew it would be soon.
"Dad," I said when he answered, "You need to get here. It's going to be anytime now."
No sooner had I hung up, and a nurse came flying out of the room in a panic.
"Get everything! NOW!" she was saying.
Bewildered, I looked into the room. Melissa was standing there, motioning for me to come in.
I thought back to my other sister's last pregnancy, and how I had stood outside in the hallway and listened. It sounded terrifying... and painful. I didn't know if it was something I could hear again, much less witness in person.
However, after overcoming my initial fears, I strode forward into the room and stood near the back with Melissa.
Tasha, my mom, and Brad were all up with Tonya, as well as a team of others-- the midwife, several nurses, etc. to help deliver.
I must say, watching this was so neat. A lot of people witness a birth and are grossed out. I have a tendency to be squeamish around too much blood and gore, but this was so far beyond that... it was the witness of a miracle! It was truly an amazing experience. Brad was able to help deliver little Liam as he breathed his first breaths.
Halfway into it, I snapped out of my trance and remembered that I was a photographer. I tried to inch my way up and capture this as best I could. I was able to get some really special first-moment shots of everyone seeing this precious baby boy for the first time.
They told me that I had a choice: I can have 2 children, or 6. Tate & Melissa had 3, Tonya & Brad have 4, and Tasha & Tom have 5. That leaves me with 2 or 6.
"I'll have 2," I told them.
But who knows what the future will bring?
I have now officially watched someone leave this life and die right in front of my very eyes, as well as see someone take his first breaths of this life. Two totally different experiences, but each extraordinary in their own way.
It reminds me of how truly powerful God is... He weaves us together in the uttermost parts of the Earth before we are born, and we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. And in the end of our life, when we can breathe our last breath with the assurance of Heaven, what a hope that instills in everyone involved.
Love you all!