(Lots of pictures available at: http://picasaweb.google.com/macandchen/Sept08MarcArrives#)
This story starts on Labor Day at around 1:30 am when Lily started feeling strong contractions, there were other signs which I will spare here that clearly indicated the moment we had been waiting for days had arrived. It was time to take the bags, the car seat, cameras and go to the Hospital. If big events and important trips are to have a soundtrack, this one's was Phil Collins' greatest hits which was the CD that was playing on our way there, I will always remember the journey when I listen to these songs: South on Clark, West on Bryn Mawr, South on Ashland then West on Foster all the way to the Hospital.
The admission process at the Hospital was quick, we were placed in what they call a transition room where they immediately started monitoring both Mom and baby, contractions were strong and regular, things really seemed to be developing fast, little did we know...
At around 7 am contractions started to be too painful for Lily to bear, she was feeling very sharp and strong pain in her lower back... At 9 am Lily got the epidural (thank god for medical research!), it worked like a charm, she was able to rest and sleep great, the downside was that the whole labor process slowed down considerably, contractions kept coming, but dilation took a very long time... when I say long I really mean LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG... It was close to midnight when Lily was finally ready to start pushing, unfortunately at that time the Epidural was starting to wear down, she put an amazing effort and both the doctor and the nurses were great, but it was not meant to happen through natural delivery, Marc was just too big and Lily was feeling a lot of pain again, after a couple of hours we decided to go for the cesarean... without any question that was the best decision we made.
They immediately starting preparing the room and the mom for the surgery... dad was given a blue jumpsuit, face mask, shoe covers and hat and was asked to wait in the room until everything was ready... I have to admit, those were some of the longest minutes in my whole life, difficult to even try to express the mix of emotions: excitement, fear, stress, happiness... all at once.
At around 3:30 am they came to get me. They setup a screen so that the dad-to-be can sit close to mom's face and hold her hand without being able to see the actual surgery... time seemed to fly quickly while trying to understand the ongoing conversations, making sense of all the noises around.... then out of the blue somebody said: "baby is out" which was followed quickly by Marc's loud crying voice, I know things will change and what know still sounds like music from heaven may become nerve-racking soon and yet... I had never heard anything so beautiful in my whole life... Lily started crying immediately and I followed shortly, specially once the nurse came around the screen holding Marc, that first glance of his little face and body it's the most intense experience in my whole life to date, there he was, he looked big and strong, already moving and kicking, full of energy... 9 months of illusion, of anticipation had come to an end and the end was that amazing little human being placed there, at the nurse station, being cleaned and weighted, moving and making noises... A little boy full of life with all time in the world in front of him... I could have choked in my own tears as the mask got wet and heavy and I wouldn't have even realized.... All comments and shared-experiences from family and friends don't come remotely close to the real thing; even as I type this I realize I'm not able to convey the energy of the moment... Baby Marc had arrived at 3:50 am on September the 2nd, his weight was 8 lb 2 oz (3.870 kg) and he was 51 cm long, the whole labor process took nearly 26 hours!
After the cesarean was completed they moved us back to our room, it was time for both mom and baby to rest after all the stress and effort... It was time for daddy to look after both of them, to reflect on all that had happened admire his beautiful and brave wife and his big baby boy.... also to take care of the PR portion: take lots of pictures, send text messages and emails, call family...
The rest of the day flew by in between nurse/doctor visits, first breast feedings, diaper changes, more pictures, more text messages and emails... also family and friend visits and phone calls, taking time of their busy schedules to check on all 3 of us, to share their love and support... to all of you, the ones who could stop by, the ones who couldn't, the ones who are really far away and wouldn't be able even if they wanted to... to all of you a huge THANK YOU for your love and support and encouragement through this amazing journey, we love you all, even when we take a very long time to call and/or write, you are always on our mind.
Love from the Carames-Chen family!
Marc, Lily and Miguel