Rosemary Drake Buchholtz made her world debut on October 17, 2016, a month ago today. She was nine days late, but just a little thing, weighing 6 pounds and 2 ounces. We went to the hospital on Sunday night, October 16, at 5:00 pm, loaded with movies to watch and a take-out pizza. We were to spend the night in the hospital for an early morning induction. I received a medication to prepare my body for delivery at 7 pm and my water broke at 9 pm. No induction necessary! Needless to say, we did not watch movies that night. Thank goodness I did eat pizza before all the excitement started.
By 11 pm I was dilated to a 5 but crawling the walls in pain. Part of me was hoping I could deliver without medications but I quickly decided against that. I received an epidural at about 11 pm and another in the middle of the night. Two for the price of one. Scott and I both slept some and by about 8 am I was ready to push. at 10:02 am, Rosemary Drake was born.
Scott counted to 10 approximately 1000 times in those two hours of pushing. He was brave, peaceful and constant. The nurses were encouraging and made me feel strong. My doctor gave me a huge hug after delivery and was such a wonderful cheerleader. The experience was one I will never forget.
It felt like eternity between the time she was born and when my doctor said, “its a girl!” I burst into tears, turned to Scott and told him what a good daddy he was going to be to a little girl. And he is. They cleaned us both up, took our first family-of-three-pictures and our larger family came in–my dad, mom, sister, and Scott’s sister. We cried and marveled at her perfection. I have never seen God’s faithfulness exhibited so clearly as when I held that baby girl in my arms. And introducing her to those who had prayed so diligently for her was a distinct pleasure. Holy moments.
We named her Rosemary mainly because we both agreed on it pretty easily. Rosemary is used in wedding flowers as a symbol of fidelity and faithfulness. I come from a family of gardeners and naming her for something that generations of my family has harvested just felt right. We call her Rosemary and Rosie. Drake comes from my dad, who was a DJ and newscaster before he went to law school. Because Gary Thornton was a bit nasal, Dad went by Gary Drake on the radio and television. Those who knew my dad in college call him Drake.
Because I opted for an epidural, I expected labor to be a fairly passive process. I don’t know what I was thinking, but even with the epidural, turns out, pushing a child out of your body takes a ton of work. My body hurt from the effort for days. My voice, my arms, everything. I have a friend who told me labor (without meds) was similar to a spin class for her. A spin class is much shorter than what I experienced, but the pushing part did feel a little like that. I took it one contraction at a time (hill, song, or effort from a spin class) without looking ahead to the next. It was more manageable that way and helped me feel strong.
I had a fever when Rosemary was born, which meant that both Rosemary and I had to receive antibiotics, which meant time in the NICU for Rosemary–26 hours. She had an IV in her head. I went there to nurse her around the clock until she finished her antibiotics and could join me in my room. Those 26 hours were long. I got lost in the hospital each and every time I went to the NICU. They need arrows on the floor for bleery-eyed, directionally challenged people like me.
Rosemary is very kind to us. By the second day home, she would sleep for a few hours at a time, sometimes longer. She eats well and as of today, has gained 3 pounds, mainly in her cheeks. She has her fussy moments, and life is not all happy moments, but it is so, so sweet.
I think what everyone says is true. The days are long but the years, or in this case, the month, is short. It doesn’t seem like it has been a whole month. Scott stayed home from work for two weeks. He loaded the dishwasher, made coffee, ran errands, helped me get naps, and spent time learning Rosemary. We loved having him home and he has been a rockstar daddy. The day we came home, he put Rosemary in the jog stroller (with infant carrier, don’t worry) and took her for a walk. He puts her to bed, changes diapers, talks to her sweetly and is tender toward her. I have never loved him more.
Our village of love has supported us well. Mom/Leelee spent two nights with us and still comes over to help me almost every day. She made healing food, made me lay low in the first weeks, and cared for me well. We have binge watched Call The Midwife. She came into my house, took command of my kitchen, held the fort down, and I didn’t get sick of her. I am still not. I can’t imagine becoming a mother without my mother to show me the way. I call her each day to basically ask when she is coming over.
My sister/Aunt Sis has been a regular and such a huge help. She runs errands, brings food, dotes on Rosie, buys her the best hats and eats her up. My dad/Papa comes over most days to remind Rosemary who will spoil her. We FaceTime with Scott’s mom who comes home from Paris next month. When nothing fit Rosemary, Bonnie sent little french onesies that fit perfectly. And of course, a host of additional family and friends have celebrated Rosie’s arrival so richly. We feel rich in love; my heart is overflowing.
Rosie and I have tried to find routine. In these groundhog days, I have wanted to reintroduce parts of my pre-Rosie life with intention. I started to read the lectionary again for my quiet time. The first time I opened it, I was directed to Psalm 139. I read it aloud to Rosemary and wept. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13-14. And yesterday’s scripture: ” May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful….” 1 Thes. 5:23-24. The scriptures are coming alive to me as blessings and instruction to someone I love and feel responsible for forming. I pray over her and just cry. I just can’t believe she is ours.
I rock Rosemary in the middle of the night and while sometimes I am simply thinking, “please, please, please go back to sleep,” I am filled with gratitude for having the chance to be this little girl’s momma. I am grateful that I get to be the one she will want when she is sad, who knows her looks, noises, and preferences, and who gets to teach her about Jesus, how to be kind, and how to be a strong woman. I am honored to do this along side Scott, who will be her first love, who will teach her how to have high standards and how to change a tire, how to rub some dirt in it and be tough, and who already loves her so well.
God doesn’t give us everything we want. I don’t know why he answered our prayer for a child and he doesn’t for all people. I know I have prayers in my heart that he will not answer. But today, with our Rosemary, he answered so, so richly.
Jane, Rosie’s oldest cousin, gave Rosemary the redbird in this picture. It is a sweet reminder of our Meemaw, who loved redbirds. It’s appearance in monthly pictures will provide a nice measure of Rosie’s growth over the next year. Meemaw always told us, “we don’t cry over anything buys back.” And while she meant not to cry over stuff that we lost or that broke, I am reminded by her saying now. Over the last month, I have cried so many happy tears for a gift that money can’t buy. Praise be to God.