As Barack Obama prepares to be publicly sworn in for his second term as the president of the United States, I can't help but flash back to this time four years ago.
Obama's first inauguration day on Jan. 20, 2009, proved to be a historic and exciting day in a number of ways: he was the nation's first African-American president, more than a million people descended upon the nation's capital to celebrate the occasion and ... I spent my first full day as a mother.
My daughter, Bella, was born late at night on Jan. 19. I woke up earlier that day feeling like my water broke. A big smile was plastered on my face, because that meant I was finally going to meet my bundle of joy. I also felt a huge sense of relief. With my daughter due the week of the inauguration, I had spent weeks worrying about whether I would make it to the hospital if she decided to make her debut on inauguration day. The bridges spanning the Potomac River, connecting Virginia - where I lived - to Washington, D.C. - where my hospital and doctor was located - was slated to close to motorists on Jan. 20. And, I couldn't get a straight answer on whether authorities would allow a car carrying a woman in labor across one of the bridges.
Since I thought my water broke on Jan. 19, my husband and I sailed across the bridge to my hospital in D.C. and checked into the labor and delivery ward. No road blocks for us! Unfortunately, my doctor checked me and determined that my water didn't break after all. He explained that I am starting to dilate, but I could go home until I'm farther along in labor. I immediately got a sinking feeling that once we crossed the bridge to go home, we would not be returning to that hospital. I would be giving birth in an unfamiliar hospital in Virgina with a doctor I didn't know.
Some how, I found my voice and explained my concern to my doctor. Thankfully, he understood and said if I could get dilated one more centimeter, he could technically say I am in labor and admit me. He gave my husband and me one hour to walk around and get my labor to progress. My husband grabbed my hand and we walked around the small labor and delivery ward for what must have amounted to a hundred laps. I was wearing a hospital gown and the ugliest brown socks I had ever laid my eyes on, courtesy of the hospital. I got a few perplexed stares from strangers as I waddled around in the mismatched get up, but I didn't care! I just knew my husband and I were going to become parents that day and we were bursting with excitement!
Finally, the hour was up. I got checked and had dilated! The walking apparently worked and hours later our daughter was born.
The next morning, I visited my daughter in the special-care nursery to start my first full day as a mother. (The nursery was my daughter's home for the first few days of her life due to a couple of complications). My heart swelled with great love, joy and pride when I saw her. She was beautiful - perfect in my eyes in every way.
While I wanted to spend every waking moment in the nursery with her, occasionally I did have to pop up to my room to rest or eat. Labor is exhausting! At some point, I turned on the television set in my room to watch the inaugural festivities and marvel at how many people flocked to D.C. to witness them. Even though I was stuck in a hospital, I could feel and understand the crowd's excitement and hope for the future. As a new mom, those feelings were already brewing inside me.
Anyone else have an inauguration baby or an inauguration story to share?
P.S. Check back in a couple of days! I hope to update this post with a few darling photos of my daughter on her birthday! I can't post them right now, because I'm back in the hospital with pre-term contractions. Looks like my son wanted to be an inauguration baby just like his big sister. :)