We decided to go with Abby as the short form for her name since it has all of the same letters as baby, and to me, that’s what she will always be.
Any questions I ever had (and there were very few) about which sex is tougher were put to rest for all time last weekend, as Kate made me prouder than I ever thought I could be. It started when she woke me up at around 7 a.m. on Saturday morning saying “today might be the day” right up to Abby’s big arrival almost 31 hours later. It seems like a travesty that Mothers and Fathers are both given the same amount of celebratorys day each year. Having gone through this process, I can honestly say that Mother’s Day should last at least an entire week, if not the whole month of May.
For the first two days we were there, Abby was the only baby at the hospital, and we will be eternally grateful to the staff at the New Life Centre for everything they did for us throughout our stay. They more than lived up to their sparkling reputation. If I have one bit of advice for would-be parents, it would be to do whatever you can to have your baby born in Port Perry.
As I said earlier, Kate was in labour for almost 31 hours, and the past two decades of inappropriate bedtimes (thank you David Letterman, Saturday Night Live and all other late night distractions) were all leading up to Saturday night, when I stayed up for the entire night for the first time in a long time and in the process, depleted our house of all its coffee.
But, once we saw that baby girl look back up at us, everything that came before didn’t matter at all. I’ll never quite be able to put it into words, and I felt like I was joining an exclusive club that only other parents can comprehend and relate to how I felt in that moment. Every emotion I’ve ever felt was pulling a Three Stooges impression trying to cram their way through my brain at the same time.
My parents and Kate’s parents (and my brother Matt) were there within the hour to give the warmest welcome possible to their first grandchild (and niece), and to make sure that they hit the ground running on spoiling her. Later in the day, when my Aunts Susie and Sharon stopped by, they reminded us that it’s to be expected, given that Abby is the first baby born on that side of my family in more than 20 years. For further proof, my sister-in-law Laurel and her husband Jan took a bus, the tube, a train, a plane, another train and an hour-plus car ride to get from London, England to Uxbridge to see her on Friday.
As harrowing as our final drive to the hospital was in the early morning hours of last Sunday, nothing will ever compare to the magnitude of our drive back to Uxbridge on Tuesday afternoon after we were discharged from the hospital. Luckily, we had no cars in front of us or behind us. Which is a good thing, because I was driving close to Durham Region Transit bus-level slowly as the normal 12-minute drive took 20, although it felt like two hours to me. I’m pretty sure I looked down and saw gum on the road at one point.
I’d like to thank all of those who offered their congratulations to Kate and I in the days following Abby’s birth. For most of the past week, I’ve had little control over my emotions, with tears forming almost constantly, be it when the Uxbridge Bruins made a congratulatory announcement on Friday night, when Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor started Uxbridge council’s first meeting of the term with congrats for us, or even - with great embarrassment - when ‘With Arms Wide Open’ by Creed came on the radio earlier this week.
Everything I ever thought I knew about love and about pride changed when I saw Abby last Sunday. Although I already knew I was the luckiest parent in the world, our baby girl confirmed it, with the Raptors, Leafs and Chelsea all winning within the first 24 hours of her coming home.