It is incredible how an image can make you feel. As I started to type the story of Carmine’s birth and selected the featured image for the post, I was overwhelmed with emotions – the bond that formed between our little Carmine and my mother in the first moments of his life is so beautiful. I know I am getting ahead of myself, but I promised to be truthful in our posts, so that is the truth of how this post started.
For those of you don’t know, we have a two-year-old son, Oliver Patrick, who was delivered via C-Section because he just did not want to flip around for mommy! Believe me, it was not for lack of trying – I literally did handstands in the pool the night before he was born to try to trick him into flipping! Naturally, he could not be fooled.
Luckily, when we went to the hospital to try to flip him via a “Version” – aka, a really painful sounding procedure – I was having contractions so the doctors ordered a C-Section immediately. While I had originally cried at the thought of having a C-Section because I wanted to be a “real mother”, after researching how lucky we are in the U.S. to have the option of a C-Section versus trying to deliver a baby upside-down, I came to the realization that I just wanted a healthy little baby, no matter the method. Long story short, I loved the C-Section and was lucky enough to have a great recovery.
So, when our doctor was discussing the option and risks associated with doing a V-Back (not doing a C-Section for Carmine), I did not hesitate to get our C-Section scheduled! Once again, I just wanted a healthy baby and was over my feeling of not being a “real mother” if I did not go through labor.
March 27, 2018 – that was our day! Kind of strange to get to select your child’s birthday, but for any working mom out there, you can probably appreciate the fact that you could have your delivery on calendar, after you wrap an important conference call or make a necessary Court appearance, as opposed to having the unknown.
After checking off a million little details from our to-do list (p.s. I love to-do lists), Freddy, Oliver and I were finally ready for sleep on the night before the big day! Oliver had just transitioned into his big boy bed after sleeping in OUR bed for 2 1/2 years, and I laid with him one last time to tell him bedtime stories as an only child. When I got back to our bed, with our hospital bags packed on the floor, I was oddly calm and content, with a feeling of Christmas Eve excitement in my tummy. Freddy, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink! I think he was worried about the C-Section (he calls it “Major Surgery”), whereas I was only focused on holding our little man!
Morning came, and we all scurried around the house to get ready for the big day. It felt like we were leaving on a trip – a really amazing and important trip that would result in us bringing home a new life – ya know, no big deal.
Before we headed out of the house for the last time as a family of three, I, of course, insisted that we get a family photo. And I am glad I did. I adore the way Oliver is cuddling Freddy and, in looking at this photo, I can feel the excitement all over again.
Because we were going to be in the hospital for a few days following the delivery, Big Brother Oliver was set to stay with my mother, aka “Mama”, during that time. I am not sure if Oliver wanted to bring toys for Carmine or if he was subconsciously reverting back to his younger years, but he turned the cute WAAAYYY up that morning and went around gathering all of his stuffed toys to bring to Mama’s. He could barely carry them all!
If that face doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what would! He was so genuinely excited! Side-note: about a week or so before the delivery, he began carrying a small white bunny (in the bottom of his pile in the photo) with him everywhere and insisting that his “Baby” sleep with him. It was just too precious – like he was preparing for Carmine.
After Oliver gathered all of his toys and Freddy packed the car to the brim, we were off. The C-Section was scheduled for 12:30, which required a 10:30 arrival. To avoid Oliver having to sit at the hospital for hours and so that he could get some special Mama time, we brought Oliver and Ludacris (our Yorkie) to Mama’s house before going to the hospital. On the way, we had to document:
After dropping Oliver and Luda off at Mamas, we were off to the hospital. My Christmas Eve jitters continued, and I was begging with Freddy to drive faster – I just needed to get there! When we arrived, I could tell that Freddy was nervous – he wanted to leave our bags in the car and was convinced we wouldn’t have a room right away. I (luckily) insisted that we bring everything with us, which included our two over-night bags, the diaper bag with Carmine’s goodies, Freddy’s backpack with electronic essentials, and two over-sized gift bags.
These gift bags were probably the most important of the load. My cousin and some other mommies gave me some really amazing advice that I highly recommend anyone reading follows: Get a present for the new baby from the older sibling, and get a present for the older sibling from the new baby. We did this with Oliver – letting him pick out Carmine’s presents and talking about how Carmine would be bringing a present for Oliver! It seemed to help make the addition of this new baby an exciting thing – after all, he was bearing gifts!
When we finally lugged all of our stuff into the hospital, I could tell that Freddy’s nervousness had shifted to me – I was talking to everyone in the hospital as loud as can be and giggling like a little girl. Freddy just shook his head laughing at me (and maybe hushing me).
Needless to say, I was right and we were given our own room to settle into and start the process! After filling out a million documents and changing into the Oh So attractive hospital gown, the waiting game began.
Naturally, to take up time, Freddy and I conducted our own photoshoot with the timer on the iPhone! haha! Luckily my sister is a photographer (Gardenia Lane Photography) and came in shortly thereafter.
After we confirmed that the 12:30 start time was still the plan, we sent a text to our group family text and family members began to arrive.
Oliver and Mama arrived first, and I am not sure if Oliver thought it was weird that mommy was laying in the bed with all the machines around and that daddy was scrubbed up, but he quickly put on the gear to get into the game! My sister, her husband and son arrived shortly thereafter, and the real photos began!
Oliver was definitely curious and kept checking on me… so sweet!
This photo is my heart!
By the way – we had the most amazing nurses and staff at the hospital – “Have a Birthday Party!!” That’s what I am talkin’ about!
Oliver was so excited when Papa – my dad- showed up!
Oliver loved playing with his big cousin Elliot and feeling like a big boy!
I am not sure who did it, but I LOVE that Oliver ended up in bed with me. It was a beautiful moment for he and I before his brother came into this world. He was so sweet and gentle, and just wanted to see his baby brother – “Come out!” he said! haha!
I love that my sister captured this special moment before my brother-in-law took Oliver out of the room to wait for his brother to arrive.
I am not sure if I am comforting Freddy here, or he is comforting me (or if we are just posing – haha), but I adore this moment with just the two of us!
And with that, it was go time! The nurse directed Freddy and I down the hall (the same hall from Oliver’s delivery) to the operating room. There was definitely some nervous/excited energy flowing between us as we walked holding hands – eeeekk! Our little man was about to be here! Side note: thank goodness that they have improved those hospital gowns in the back, or this shot would have been riskaaaayyyy! haha!
Once we got to the operating room, I was led inside to get prepped up, while Freddy stood outside the window – probably a nervous wreck! He was so sweet! I could see him peeking through the blinds and when we’d catch each other’s eyes, he’d give me the sweetest smile and wave.
The rest of my family had to wait outside the hallway, and, from the look of this picture, my mother was anxious as well. It is so amazing to have such love and support around us during these special times. I am constantly reminded of how lucky we are.
Back in the operating room, the nurses finished getting me ready for the procedure, and Freddy was permitted into the room. He immediately came to my side and began to chat with me about what was happening. He wanted the anesthesiologist to give us a play by play of what was going on (there is a sheet up so mom and dad can’t see anything), but I quickly reminded them both that ignorance is bliss, and that I DID NOT want to know – my imagination was already running wild!
After some tugs and laughs, he was here! Yes, laughs – when the doctor pushed on my stomach to help C come out, I could not help but to bust out laughing! It didn’t hurt, it was just a strange feeling and all I could do was laugh! This sent the room into laughter. I guess that was the first time a mother laughed out her child! I think this means that Carmine will have a good sense of humor, maybe even be a comedian!
Either way, he will definitely be a ham like his brother – While we didn’t get a cry right away, he came out with both hands raised in the air as if to say “Hello World! I am here!!”
I remember the overwhelming feeling of joy and completeness when they announced he had arrived: 13:13 – the time of his birth (My lucky little nugget!). The room seemed to stop at that moment and all of my fears fell away – all that was left was a feeling of being so blessed.
After they cleaned him up and Freddy did the honor of cutting the chord, the amazing nurse orchestrated our first photo together. My smile says it all – this was a moment of pure bliss. I felt my body shaking with excitement (well, the parts I could feel anyhow – haha) and the tears rolling down my face. I couldn’t wait for Oliver to meet his brother.
At some point after our family photo, I assume that Freddy went out to tell everyone that all was good and that Carmine was just the most adorable thing ever! Then, it was time for proud daddy to introduce his baby to the world! Freddy kissed my head to say goodbye and led Carmine out of the hallway and back to our hospital room where everyone awaited his arrival! The entire family was at the hospital by then! They definitely filled up the room!
From what I was told, the most beautiful thing happened next. Little C was crying, as newborn babies do, and my mother – “Mama” – reached into the cradle and held his little hand to let him know she was there and that everything was ok. At that moment, the bond that only a grandmother and grandson could have was formed and he was silent. No more tears. No more fear. He was completely content and calm knowing his Mama was there. His little grip did not let go, and he even held tight as the nurse turned him upside down and around to complete her check-up. When Mama would move her hand even the slightest, he would cry for it back.
When my sister sent us the images from Carmine’s birth, my heart overflowed with emotions as I clicked on these images. It is so strong – Carmine will always have someone there to hold him when he is scared, to calm him when he is nervous, and to love him no matter what.
As I stayed in the operating room while the doctors completed the procedure, we passed the time by talking about my perfect little Oliver and how he was going to be the best big brother. We also chatted about his perfect long curly hair, and how Freddy wants to cut it. Each of the doctors and nurses had a story wherein their husband took the baby for the first haircut and FAILED!! Well, looks like haircuts are off limits to daddy! Mommy wins! haha
Once the procedure was done, I was quickly taken back into the hospital room where my family waited with Carmine. Now, because I knew that I would be in the operating room for a while after Carmine and Freddy met up with our family, I had one request that I made very known – Please do not let Oliver meet Carmine without me! I wanted to be there for that special moment!
Lucky for me, my sister is a photographer who has tremendous experience in newborn photography, and she assured me that she had a plan to ensure that the brothers did not meet without me there! As I was brought into the room, I told myself that I was not going to be upset if the meeting already happened – after all, a healthy baby is truly the only concern.
When we rounded the corner to enter the room, I was immediately reassured that no meeting had taken place! Phew! Real life – I would have been so sad if I missed it.
The plan for the brothers to meet worked perfectly! Freddy brought Carmine over towards my bed and at that moment, my brother-in-law walked in the room with Oliver. Oliver’s face was absolutely priceless! He literally had to blink several times as if to make sure that this was real. His brother was finally here! Adorably, he wanted to touch Carmine’s toes and has continued to love to touch his toes since that time. It is his connection with him.
I will treasure these photos and videos forever, and love that Oliver and Carmine will have them as reminders of when their bond as brothers began. I know that they will be the best of friends, with Oliver taking care of his brother and Carmine always looking up to Oliver and wanting to be just like him.
Following the meeting, we made sure that Oliver opened his present from Carmine – Ghostbusters backpack, books and a toy – and that Oliver brought Carmine his presents – a plush bunny and an adorable Camel stuffed animal with a small blanket. Oliver was so excited for his gift and LOVED being able to give his brother his special present. This idea was truly genius and I would highly recommend it!
After the nurse gave Carmine and I some skin-to-skin time (which is so magical), our family came back in and Oliver insisted, again, on touching his baby’s feet. Just too adorably sweet! As it had been an eventful day for little Oliver, he said his goodbyes and Mama took him home for a much needed nap (he fell asleep before they even left the parking lot – it was a lot for a little guy to take).
Once we were all cleared by the doctor, it was time to move to our permanent room for the next three days. Freddy and my bestie gathered all of our bags and we caravanned down the hallways and into our new room. Once we were there, we had more family and friends come by to see little C. It was so amazing to be surrounded by such love!
With that, we were all pooped and needed a good night’s sleep. As I am sure most parents can relate, all I wanted to do was stare at Carmine all night! I was definitely a stalker mommy!
The next morning, our family and friends couldn’t wait to see little C again, and our day was filled with visitors – which we loved! Special appearances by Freddy’s brother and dad from New York! They face-timed the rest of the family so that they could see Carmine first-hand!
My mom also came back to visit, and, like clockwork, Carmine grabbed a hold of her finger and would not let go!
Big brother also had a very special day – he got to hold his baby for the first time! He was so sweet and gentle and loving! He wanted to kiss him everywhere – forehead, tummy, hands, toes…he just wouldn’t stop. It was so tender and real. No one told him to be that way, he just naturally had the loving and caring nature in him. He made mommy so proud.
Day two also involved walking for the first time – me, not Carmine. haha! As Freddy and I made laps around the hallways we couldn’t help but to recreate a photo we had of Freddy and Oliver from his birth – same polka dot swaddle and all!
Daddy and Carmine!
Daddy and Oliver!
By the third day, we were ready to be out and to get home to Luda and Oliver!
After completing all of the paperwork, making more laps around the halls, and watching the required videos on how to be a parent (which I dreaded watching but were actually very informative), we were ready for discharge!
Like any responsible parent would do, we had Carmine’s going home outfit planned for weeks. It was the most perfect little black and white outfit from Nununu Our check-out time was quickly extended, however, when we went to put him in the carseat and realized that he had his first accident in the adorable going home outfit (palm to face)! Luckily, we packed extra clothes and he looked just as adorable in his little onesie and pants – keeping the Nununu beanie on of course!
Our drive home was quick (after stopping at the pharmacy and Jamba Juice) and we were met by big brother Oliver and MAMA! Oliver wanted to hold his brother right away and would not take no for an answer.
Once again, he cradled Carmine in his arms and snuggled his nose down for a shower of kisses. This is another one of those moments I will never forget and one of those memories I will treasure forever.
I know that my boys will have their moments of fighting over toys and who gets to drive the car, but I am confident that they will always have love for each other and will always have a strong bond as brothers and best friends.
They say that it takes a village to raise I child, and I feel so blessed that our village is filled with loving, caring and supportive friends and family who would go to the ends of the earth for our boys. Reliving these memories through this post has reiterated that truth for me, and I am grateful that I didn’t just let the memories pass by without taking a moment to recognize that.
I am excited to see where this new adventure will take our family and I will do my best to not let months go by (again) without sharing our stories.