This post has been written for a while. For some reason, I didn't publish it. And how, for some reason, I want to. This is the story of when I met my niece a few weeks ago. Middle of March. If you haven't read the beginning of the story, you can do so here and here.
We got to Tennessee on Sunday night about 6:00. I thought we would just hang out with my parents and work up the nerve to go see the baby on Monday. The minute I stepped in the door, I saw the car seat. My stomach dropped. I walked on in and my mom told me that my SIL and niece were next door doing a little work at the winery.
Deep breath. I have time.
We sat down and began making small talk about the work trip I had just been on, the drive home, our plans for the week. My mom was in mid-sentence when I suddenly let out the biggest sob. It came from deep and it was uncontrollable. I sobbed for a couple of minutes then got it under control again.
As the minutes ticked on, my chest got tighter as I knew they would walk in any minute. I heard the door open and my heart started racing. I panicked. It was my dad. Calm down. More chatting; hear the door open; heart racing...my other sil and 7 year old nephew. Calm down. More chatting; hear the door open; heart racing...my bil. Calm down. More chatting; hear the door open. I can tell by the look on my moms face that it's them. The only thing I hear is the sound of my heart.
My sil walks in the room and says "who wants a baby?" (punch in the stomach) and headed straight for me. Luckily Max, sweet Max who had his own hurt to deal with, quickly intercepted and took baby Sage into his arms.
I wasn't prepared for the pain I felt watching Max hold her. I'm so grateful because it gave me time to get used to her presence in the room, but it was so bittersweet to see that baby in his arms.
Soon after the pizza got there and everyone got busy with dinner. My sweet dad was the last person to leave the living room. He came over to hug me and we both stood there with silent tears. I then called Max back in.
We stood there and stared at each other, him holding Sage, for what felt like an hour. And then I nodded at Max, forced my arms to take her, and I met my niece. The tears were still flowing, but in a moment that seemed like pure joy (but was probably in actuality gas) she smiled at me. Super cute.
I held her that night a good bit and some the next day. Each time was easier, but carried its own pain as well. On Monday, I was sitting down and Max was standing as he handed her off to me. I had a flash forward of Max giving me our baby as I lay in a hospital bed. One day.
Overall I would say it wasn't as bad as I feared, not as good as I hoped. But i did it. I'm glad we didn't wait. And I think we handled it the right way.