The welcoming of our second baby was the least dramatic of the three, which fits her personality as a child. We three – my husband, daughter, and I – had longed for this baby for years. My pregnancy was smoother than the first with no complications. I left my job about two weeks before the scheduled C-section so I could spend time preparing for the baby and soak in the last days with my only child, Meredith, who turned 5 a week before her sister arrived. We hosted a big indoor pool party, I joined her preschool class on a bumpy hayride field trip, and I raced around town finishing errands, doing all the things I had not been able as a working mom.
The afternoon before delivery, my mother came to town to stay with Meredith and welcome her newest granddaughter. Frank worked late, so we three girls enjoyed dinner at our favorite restaurant. I don’t recall much about leaving Meredith the following morning, aside from a warm hug in the front yard. My anxiety was on high alert due to the complications during my first delivery. As we drove to the hospital, I glanced at Facebook to discover friends from all over were praying for us and sending good wishes. Even my life-long friend, Jenn, sent a message to say she had eloped and finally married the love of her life. What joy this day held! It felt like I had an army of supporters when we entered the OR prep space.
As I waited in triage, anxiety crept higher; I was terrified of anesthesia and potential complications. Hot tears formed in my eyes, unable to be contained. When the anesthesiologist introduced himself, he took the time to calmly allay my fears. It was clear we would be a team and get through this delivery together, alive. I walked back to the OR with Frank, my steady always at my side. The spinal epidural was safely administered and the procedure began. Although this was my second baby, it was the first time I experienced the birth of my child. My senses worked in overdrive, but a team of competent doctors and nurses confidently delivered our little peach-fuzzed baby girl into the room.
For a heart that thought it was full of love for my one child, I felt it melt in my chest at the sound of my second daughter’s first cry. My darling Audrey Eva. We wouldn’t settle on her name for a few hours, though I don’t know why; she has always been my Audrey. When Frank nestled our baby next to my cheek, I cried tears of gratitude, of love, of longing. Frank and I sat in the recovery room, alone with our new baby, so blissful to be awake, free of danger, and enjoying the first minutes of our daughter’s life together.
As we got to know this baby over the next days, weeks, months, my mother added Joy to her name just as Audrey added joy to our home and to everyone she met. Her middle name she shares with Frank’s mother (pronounced in Polish as Eh-vah) and her first name is a derivative of his grandmother’s name, Audrea. Both women I have known to be strong, courageous, deeply loyal to their families, and extremely resourceful. So different from me, yet so beautiful of heart and rich in legacy for their tiny namesake. Now almost 5 years old, Audrey continues to delight everyone she meets. She is kind, nurturing, and bubbly. She was, without a doubt, worth the wait. When we welcomed our baby bundle that day, we opened our hearts and home to welcome a fullness of God’s Joy.