January 11, 2009 will be the day that changed my life forever. That Sunday, at 7:35pm, my beautiful wife gave birth to our precious little girl, Riley Grace. She was 7 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long and she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She already has me wrapped around her fingers.
For those who didn't know, my wife was overdue by a week, she was 41 weeks, and had to be induced this past Sunday. She was induced at 9:03am and it wasn't until 2pm that she felt her first contraction. Thank goodness for my in-laws being there and our wonderful nurse, Evelyn. They provided some much needed support for my wife. My wife was in active labor for five and a half hours. Some might say that's nothing, but my wife has a very low tolerance for pain. The worst part of the day was when her epidural pulled out a bit and the pain came back. She was fortunate enough to get another epidural which was a godsend. The doctor didn't even have a chance to deliver the baby! They asked Kymberli to start pushing, to get her "ready", so when the doctor came in she'd be ready to go. Well, as luck would have it, Kymberli started pushing at 7:17pm and at 7:35pm Riley was born! They were all in such a rush that they forgot to tell my wife what the baby's sex was. Crazy!! I softly muttered 'It's a girl!' twice, but I kept waiting for the nurses to exclaim "It's a girl!" before I said it too loud. Too bad that never happened. After what seemed like an eternity they finally handed her to my wife and said it was a girl.
I thought I would get super emotional at first, but I was wrong. I just stared in wondrous amazement at my wife, our baby on her chest and those ever searching eyes. I have to say that I am now in love with two beautiful girls, my wife and my daughter. You cannot explain to anyone in words the feeling you get when you see your child for the first time. I wished her Happy Birthday and was taking pictures as soon as she came out. I took about 165 photos in less than an hour because I HAD to document the day. I will post a bunch after I finish getting my thoughts poured out.
When I got to hold her for the first time I was in awe. Just plain awe. She was so light and tiny. She just looked at me with those beautiful blue/gray eyes. I couldn't stop looking at her. I made sure to get her back to mommy so she could have her skin-to-skin. She is going to make me say words like 'precious', 'adorable', and 'pretty.' I am going to love saying those words every chance I get. I can't wait for my family in NY to meet Riley. That's one of the things I truly missed on Sunday. Being able to share the day with them there. I miss you guys!
It wasn't until I got a quick message from my friend Jason that I choked up. I know he and his daughter are super close and he loves her more than anything. We bust each others chops and goof around, but his words were very true and heartfelt and it really hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sitting in the hospital room reviewing my Facebook messages on my Blackberry when his popped up. Here's what he wrote...
"Mr. Quackenbush... can I just call you Savage? This is Jason on Amy's Facebook, and I just wanted to say congratualtions on the birth of your daughter, and I wanted to pass on some words of encouragement I have read since having a princess too. From Father to Daughter, "Because he's her first love. Her first Hero. The first man in her life." Awesome words and an honor to be all of this. Congratualtions Daddy!"
Wow, right? Kymberli will tell you that as I read those words I got choked up, had to pause and then my eyes were burning like mad from lack of sleep and the tears. Jason, I really appreciate hearing that and I want to thank you for sharing those words.
Kymberli was fortunate to get a private room and I was lucky enough to be able to stay in her room for two nights. I want to thank my boss, Tim, for being understanding and allowing me to take a few days off to spend some time with them. I hadn't planned on taking time off, but how could I not? God blessed me with a wonderful family, an amazing wife, a fantastic profession, and now a precious gift of a daughter. I am a VERY lucky man and I know it.
We got home yesterday and it was so nice to be home. I'll admit, I have been nervous since day one. Making sure she sleeps right, getting the feedings on schedule and making sure mommy gets enough sleep so she can heal up. Want to know the one thing that really doesn't bother me that does to many people? Changing diapers. I don't mind it one bit. I told Kymberli a few months ago that I thought I'd be gagging (terrible gag reflex) each time I had to change a diaper. I guess it's my way of bonding with Riley. Mommy can breastfeed and I can change diapers. Even trade, right?
Last night was spectacular for me. Grandpa Don and Grandma Roma brought dinner over from the Milk Barn. Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and pizza. All were fantastic! We had Riley in her swing as we ate and it was so nice to relax and eat with family. After they left, mommy was tired, so I offered to stay up with the baby and get her up when I got tired. I knew Kymberli needed the time to heal, so I stayed up until 6:30am. Yeah, I know... "Get your sleep now!" they all say. Well, I had that bundle of joy in my arms most of the night. I just couldn't put her down. I know there will me many long nights, but I already know it'll be worth it. Life is full of challenges and raising my daughter will be a welcome one. My wife and I know this is a team effort and that there will be frustration, laughter, bumps & bruises, and most of all a reward unlike any other; seeing her learn and grow.
I watch Kymberli interact with Riley and it just warms me up all over. She's already a great mom and a wonderful wife. We are each others biggest fans and support team. I love you, Kymberli. I love you, Riley.
Here are my favorite photos from days 1-3 of Riley Grace's life. Always puts a smile on my face.
Seeing each other for the first time.
Mommy and Riley sharing a moment.
The first time I got to hold her. There will never be a feeling like this that I can explain to anyone.
Grandma Roma and Riley in the spotlight.
Grandpa Don and Grandma Roma with Riley.
Riley arriving home in the car seat. Isn't she adorable?
Mommy changing a diaper.
Riley does this hilarious thing with her feet. When she's in the swing, she lifts her right leg up and holds it there while the swing is in motion. She does it every time! It's hilarious to watch!
Mommy holding Riley as she drifts off to sleep.
Thank you all for your kind words, words of encouragement and prayers. We are now proud parents and we look forward to everything life now has in store for the Quackenbush family. We love you all!