Monday, October 13, 2008

Newborn baby sketches: A Moomaw's story

We check in at the hospital at 8:30-ish in the morning on Friday. I'm thinking my daughter looks adorable in her fluffy robe and cute hairstyle. I'm wondering how long this labor will last. Figuring on about 3 hours.

They know the baby is a girl because Lisa had an ultrasound just a few days prior and it was definitive.

Lisa brought her laptop and I brought mine, thinking this will be a great way to keep the relatives and friends informed in the moment.
Unfortunately mine suffers a nervous breakdown rendering it useless.
Days later I call Dell and we reset the computer to the factory settings. Lucky for me I was able to save most of what I wanted to a dvd, so I didn't lose much.
The nurse sends us out walking.

We walk a lot. Matt leaves to run a few errands. Lisa and I keep walking.

The labyrinthian hallways are hard to figure out. I've delivered four of my kids at this hospital and now two grandkids, and every time I'm back, they've changed things around.

We read everything on the walls. I guess we're not walking so much as wasting time.
The gift shop has cute stuff. Among other things, I buy bubble gum cigars for the big brother and his best-friend cousin. We're having a baby soon!

We watch a bit of tv too. Contractions are steady. My pulse is racing. Surely it's only a few more hours until we hold this new kid.

Matt's ready. Lisa's ready. I'm ready. When's that baby getting here?!

Aww, Matt's so good to Lisa.
I make an eviction notice for Lisa's belly.

Aww, Matt's so attentive.
We've been here for about 16 hours at this point. I'm tired of hospital food. Baby's taking her own sweet time.

I brought lots of stuff with me: useless laptop, gifts, caffeine, sketchbook, and my latest book project. I get nothing at all done on the book project.

Wheeling Lisa into the delivery room I tell her, "This is where your baby will take her first breaths!"

In the waiting room, the relatives are having a party. In the labor and delivery room, Matt and I are alternating between delirium from lack of sleep and hyperventilation from helping Lisa breathe during contractions.
Finally the baby takes us seriously and shows up for her own welcoming party. 4:16am Saturday. It's a girl! Isabel Marie. 7 lbs and 6.8 oz. Funny how precise they can get. The length is 20 inches -- they think. They can't be precise about that because newborns are so curly.

The nurse inks the baby's feet and stamps her birth certificate, and she stamps my sketchbook as well. I'm in awe.

Right before the baby is born, I am bawling like a baby myself. Wahhhhh! Oh, Lisa! She's almost here! Push! She's almost here! Your baby is almost here! Push! Oh Lisa! Wahhhhhh!

And after she's born I describe her to Lisa: She's beautiful. She's perfect. She has big eyes and black hair and delicate fingers. The doctor repeats "delicate fingers."

Her fingers are long. She'll be good at playing piano and billiards.

She's fine in this sketch, but she was born crying. I guess Isabel and I are both emotional over this birthing thing.
For her, it pinked up her skin fast. She's beautiful.
For me, it just made me look a little older than I am. I see the photos later. I look like it's been a long night. Funny thing is, I take pride in that. Tonight was about helping Isabel come into the world, and that's what we did.

Lisa and her new baby.

Matt joins the picture.
I get to hold her too. Lisa tells Isabel I am Moomaw. That's what Isabel's 5-year-old brother calls me. Moomaw. Cracks me up. He couldn't say Grandma when he was a toddler and so he invented Moomaw. He calls my husband Bumpa. My sister Peggy is Aunt Huggy.

I hang around for a few more sketches and to celebrate with the family. We all giggle about Isabel's long tongue which she keeps sticking out.
She's awake and alert and everything is joyous.
In a while,
Bumpa and I head home for a few hours of sleep before I do my author presentation at the Capitol Area District Library, main branch. That goes well. :) In the evening I head back to the hospital.

I have about 50 sketches from the birth. Maybe more, plus lots of Isabel getting to know the world around her. (No photos, alas)
I'll upload more in the coming days.

I've sketched many funerals and weddings, but this is only my third birth. This sketchjournal will be a nice keepsake for Isabel some day.



e said...

Congratulations Ruth!! And what a treasure you've created for your daughter!!

Anonymous said...

That is fantastic!
Congratulations to all of you.
Thanks for sharing these treasured moments with us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ruth! It was really nice to participate in your joy of a new life.


Casey G. said...

Congratulations on your new baby granddaughter! What a beautiful way to capture the moment. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I myself am 6 months pregnant and was very touched by this post. Thank you.

Ann Finkelstein said...


Kevin Spear said...

Great sketches. I'm amazed you had the time and wherewithal to record the event while it happened. Your daughter is fortunate for it.

Kevin Spear

Elizabeth Bluemle said...

Ruthie, congratulations!!!! How exciting!! : )

I just can't get enough of your sketches, either. WOuld you mind chronicling my life for me? Thanks.


Kathy Duval said...

Congratulations Ruth!

Your granddaughter is going to love this sketchbook!

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