The phone drew me back in to the real world. Away from papers due and reading done. The cheery, familiar voice of my sister on the line welcomed me into easy conversation and catch-up. After a few minutes of accounting the days since we last spoke she said oh-so nonchalantly, “Well, we are calling to tell you I’m pregnant.”
It took me a second to process that my sis and bro-in-law, my favorite couple, my family, wasn’t joking with me. She was going to have a baby! In that moment a foreign, deep part of me lept. A piece of my heart woke up and I began to love another human being more than I thought I could. I was immediately deeply attached to this little forming bundle, desiring the best for it and willing to support it’s parents as they worked to provide.
The decision was made to not find out the sex before the birth, and, therefore, not decide on a name either. I watched on as my sister handled pregnancy so well. Her emotions were steady, her sicknesses brief, the excitement was strong. I listened to considerations about doctors and hospitals, how to set up the apartment for another with more stuff than anyone else and all the fears and love that goes in to the preparation for birth. I had deep, meaningful conversations with my brother-in-law about what it meant to be a dad and how to handle fragile relationships in the midst of such blessing. Baby showers and shopping sprees. Excited grandparents. Decisions about diapers and so many questions. I got to see and hear the journey.
It was about 4am when the phone rang again, 40 weeks later. She had gone into labor and was headed to a hospital near their home, about an hour and a half away from mine. We slowly got ready, packed up and car pooled toward Denver. The long day at the hospital was thankful and anti-climactic as people who could previously barely talk to each other – divorced parents and step-parents – gathered cheerfully to support this new life. Already I knew that this baby would bring peace and gather families. Just the stages of forming had proven so.
After hours of little progress, the doctor finally said it was time. All but my brother-in-law were herded out of the delivery room. The rest of us sat in the waiting room down the hall trying to guess the sex, the name, how long we would be in there. My mom tried to listen through the door to hear any hints of boy or girl, but the hospital staff played along and hid every clue, talking in code and laughing at our curiosity. They kept it a secret to the very end, but we were eventually invited back in to cuddle and hold the most beautiful, handsome baby boy I have ever seen. In that moment I crossed number 14 off my bucket list – to hold a newborn. I sat with Brody and told him he was and will always be my favorite human.