I'll never forget how gracious the timing was of Lottie's arrival. I'd always skip over the chapters in the baby books that had anything to do with a c-section, expecting that information never to pertain to us. A section to meet our little stubborn, breeched babe was the beginning of unmet expectations that momentarily rocked my world. But the sweetness that it brought was a consolation prize: Lottie's long distance grandparents and Aunt Molly were all able to arrive the night before, enjoy what we called "the last supper" together, and be there anxiously awaiting Lottie's entrance into the world. We were also able to spend the morning before her birth with our church family. I'll never forget how I felt when we left both the service and Sunday School that day - supported, cared for, and that so many from our community shared in our excitement.
I'll never forget the quiet nervousness between D and I as we waited in the prep room. We prayed, we laughed about how D's "scrubs" looked more like a hazmat suit, and we more just stared at the mounted TV instead of actually watching whatever HGTV show was on at that moment, our minds too full of expectation and thoughts of how this whole process would play out. I remember this because of how it stands in contrast to when D and a nurse rolled Lottie’s little bassinet into the recovery room where I was anxiously awaiting their arrival. All of that nervousness had melted away, and he was – for lack of a better word – beaming. I’ll never forget the look on his face.
I’m certain that I’ll never forget the moment I saw our girl for the first time. Her birth was such a quick process – I had an extra good dose of anesthesia so I literally felt nothing (including my arms and chest) and didn’t expect to see a quick flail of purply arms and legs so soon. They whisked her to her little bed and told D to follow. While they checked her out, D backed up to where I could see him and gave me the most reassuring thumbs up, letting me know that she was as perfect as we prayed for. It wasn’t long before the moment I had waited for – being face to face with our baby girl. I’ll never forget her beautiful scrunched little face between her swaddle and hat, eyes squeezed shut because of the brightness of the operating room. She laid so still, only letting out a few tiny squeals from her perfect rosebud lips. In the days to follow, I found myself so wishing that I could relive that moment over and over again. Being together for the first time as a family of three, we were full and complete and more in love than we ever knew possible.
I’m sure I’ll always love watching people fuss over Lottie, but there is nothing like watching your parents and in-laws and sister hold their granddaughter and niece for the first time. I’ll never forget the pride and excitement in their eyes as they responded to each new little move and noise. It’s such an extraordinary thing to watch your family grow before your eyes, knowing that it’ll never be the same as it was just a few hours before. Knowing that these are the people that will love your daughter so deeply throughout her life.
I’ll never forget how obsessed I was with the hospital staff. Every single nurse and aid that we came in contact with was incredibly kind and helpful to us novice parents. I had never stayed overnight in the hospital and did not know what to expect. By our third night there, I was really wanting to stay. Or pack them in my bag and bring them home with me! I’ve always said I’m completely impressed with anyone in any kind of medical field, but I’ve never been so appreciative of their work until now. Shout out to Jean – my first nurse who let me eat much sooner than I was told to expect to be able to because I was feeling better than expected (praise the Lord!). Sixteen hours is a long time for a McMahone to go without food or water. You’re my girl for life!
There are plenty more details scribbled in my journal for Lottie to be able to read one day that I won’t bore you with here. What is most unforgettable to me from this entire experience is watching Dustin transition into fatherhood with such grace and filled with so much love. I still feel rather clueless at times as a mother, but I’m convinced that I could write the book on how to be a supportive new daddy just from watching D during our days in the hospital. And since then! I fell deeper in love with him with every diaper change and every encouraging word. I’ve never felt so loved by him serving his new family of three without any complaint and by him being so intentional to be so uplifting to me, always knowing exactly when I’d need it. And watching your husband, who you fell in love with as a young college dude, fall deeply in love with your daughter so instantly – there are no words to describe it.
We are thankful for such a positive experience of meeting our Lottie. In the grumpiest of moments, I try to remember what a blessing it is to have had such an experience and to have gotten to bring her home from the hospital just as we had prayed – perfectly healthy and whole.
Lottie, you have split our hearts wide open and have caused us to experience a love like we've never known before. A love that causes me to physically ache with pride and concern and to stare at you and cry the happiest of tears. For the time being, you are all we can talk about, all we can think about. We hang on your every squirm and noise and sleep grin, and we can't think of anything we'd rather do than watch you grow and discover. We understand now why children are a blessing from the Lord. He blessed us far beyond anything we ever deserved when He gave us you. This parenthood thing is a whole new world for us, a completely new realm of emotions and experiences. And we're so glad we get to experience it with you (even if it's 3 o'clock in the morning).