I've detailed a lot of memorable moments over the years but perhaps this one is the most significant. Your whole life changes when your bundle of joy finally makes their appearance. I found that immediately I wasn't just thinking for myself or for my wife anymore; I now have my daughter on my mind 24/7. I just love her and can't believe Nicole and I (with the grace of God) created her!
We initially had a false alarm in the early morning hours on Tuesday, November 3rd. I remember the Monday evening before, I watched WWE Raw as usual and Nicole, believe it or not, had ushered at Spring Awakening. Nicole complained of pains all day, as even her sister Robyn had witnessed it. When she had gotten home that night, close to midnight, she expressed those pains to me as well. After contemplating going to the hospital, we spoke with her doctor, who said we should go in just to double check.
We got to South Nassau close to 1 AM and after checking Nicole's vitals and her contractions, they dismissed us around 4 AM. I immediately emailed work that I would be in later that day as I hadn't gotten much sleep. I wound up arriving to work by 10:30 AM the following day.
The next couple of work days were rough because I was anticipating Charlotte's birth and it was honestly hard to concentrate. Nicole and I would literally text every hour on the hour (if not more) and I did not want to be at the office. It wasn't really laziness talking either; it was the anticipation and the excitement.
On Wednesday evening, Nicole and I had run some last minute errands and capped off our evening with a dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger on Austin Street. We really pigged out over some greasy (and delicious) all-American food. Something told us it was our "last meal" aka final dinner prior to Nikki giving birth. And we were right.
We went back home and decided to sleep in the basement. Nicole's contractions which, again, began on November 2nd into the 3rd, were now becoming more rapid...and painful. We had barely gotten into bed in the pull-out couch when Nicole could not even lay down without writhing in pain. I knew it was GO time. We immediately changed and went to the hospital.
When we arrived at South Nassau, the nurses confirmed her contractions were happening more often and her cervix had dilated some more. We stayed overnight this time around, and there was lots of progress by morning. I, of course, called out of work (they were told months ahead of time and were super cool about it) and we were in it for the long haul.
Nicole was in agony for hours after initially waking up. I had never seen her in that much physical pain. The sad part is, there was nothing I could do except hold her hand and say everything will be okay. There was a funny part of the day where our friend Lauren semi-joked and said to remind Nicole of happier times like Disney trips and whatnot. I was mentioning how we had a great time dining around Epcot's World Showcase and it looked like she wanted to kill me, haha. Not the time nor the place is the vibe I got. Reminded me of a scene from a sitcom or something. Speaking of sitcoms, that reminds me!
The way labor is reflected in sitcoms and movies is not very accurate. I mean, they get the basics right, but that's about it. To anticipate our princess Charlotte's arrival, we had watched some shows like Full House, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond where children were born. Lisa Kudrow, Patricia Heaton, and Lori Loughlin all looked amazing while giving birth and not a hair was loose. Meanwhile, Nicole was digging her claws...err...nails into me and was squeaming and writhing. Don't get me wrong, after all was said and done, Nicole looked fabulous considering all she had been through but just sayin'. The magic of Hollywood for sure.
Nicole's labor process began after her cervix dilated to around 10 cm. She had resisted the epidural at first but decided on it when she could not take the pain any more. It took three shots of whatever was in the anesthesia to work on Nicole. The first two times Nicole was still hurting. It was decided that since she is so tall, that could very well be a reason it didn't affect her right away. Also, her blood pressure went higher which her nurse was a little worried about. Luckily, once the epidural kicked in, her blood pressure lowered and Nicole was in far less pain. I was so nervous but breathed a sigh of relief when it finally worked.
After 2 hours of pushing, with the nurse Felicia and Dr. Ravens cheering her on, Nicole gave birth to our beautiful doll Charlotte at 2:10 PM on November 5, 2015.
I will never forget the feeling of seeing Charlotte come out of her mommy's you-know-what. I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to stomach it but I actually found it kind of fascinating. The nurse was terrific and the doctor was very enthusiastic about the process so I think that courage to watch rubbed off on me. The doctor even had me record part of the birth which I thought for sure was a no-no. He absolutely insisted on having me cut the umbilical chord and to have that on video.
But really...what a feeling when my daughter was finally welcomed into the world. It' something I'll never forget. She was an absolute doll and was more adorable than I could have ever believed. I was actually the first to see her after she was brought out and it was love at first sight for me. I think that image will be etched in my mind forever and ever.
Of course, later that day, our families came by to visit, including Robyn, my parents, Nicole's parents, Michael, and Tiffany. The next day, more relatives and friends stopped by, including: cousin Joey, Aunt Pam, cousin Stephen, Sal G., Erica, John, Mike, Lucie, Aunt Alex, and Nikki's brother Chris. Needless to say, we had a lot of guests and are honored they all stopped by to see the princess.
On Saturday, November 7, we were officially discharged from the hospital and brought Charlotte home. At home, besides my parents, we were greeted by Erica, John, Johnny, and Victoria. Robyn soon joined, followed by our friend Lauren, Aunt Teresa, and then Stephen and Ashley as well. Another fun day where we were honored to have spent time with our relatives.
Sunday was actually Nicole's 30th Birthday and as a special treat, my parents invited over Nicole's family. Aunt Alex couldn't make it because the girls (Ayla and Eliza) were sick, but otherwise all family members made it including her mom, dad, Michael, Robyn, Chris, Oma, and Opa. We showed them the renovations to our apartment and the baby's room/nursery. Dinner soon followed with dessert, where of course we got Nikki a Carvel cake. It was actually a really nice day and everyone got along swimmingly. Much thanks to my parents for hosting and Nicole's family for being great guests.
Monday was a nice day as well where we took Charlotte to her first doctor's appointment. She has done really well so far, according to the doctor. Thank God. At night, Wilfredo or "Uncle Will" stopped by to see Charlotte, which was very nice.
Tuesday through today we really haven't done much except spend time with Charlotte and get used to her sleep patterns. The nights are pretty rough especially for Nicole but we manage. It will get easier the older Charlotte gets. Well, hopefully anyway. I also fit in a viewing of Jurassic World yesterday, since Nicole had gotten that for me on Blu-ray as one of her presents for our anniversary. It's been a mostly relaxing week.
I return to work either tomorrow or Monday; it's up to me and is all dependent on our funds since this absence is sadly not paid. I thought for sure you are supposed to get a paid paternity leave but I don't believe this company works that way. Oh well.
Tonight, Kim and Vinnie are going to stop by and spend some time with us whereby they'll meet Charlotte. Looking forward to it.
In any case, I thank everyone for their wonderful support over the past week. It's been a really magical time in my life and one I will never forget.