All I kept saying was, "You're a warrior." And I meant it. I meant those three words with every inch of my being. I meant it as you dressed in your hospital gown, as you waited patiently to be seen, as the nurse pricked your arm once, twice, three [THREE] times to take blood.
You didn't say a word.
You didn't even flinch.
You just bit your lip a little and looked up, way up, towards the ceiling.
She's a warrior I thought.
I'm not sure what you were thinking in that moment. I wondered if you were praying to the good Lord or wondering if baby boy would have red hair and blue eyes, would his nose look like yours?
Maybe you were thinking the same thing I was: Nurse lady, please find a vein and please, pretty please, stop repeating that you almost found one and then you didn't.
My overprotective sister self felt the urge to jump in and take charge. I wanted to take that little thingamabob and throw it away and assure her that while I know she's the professional and all, she didn't actually need to take blood. That you and baby were just fine. Thanks, but no thanks.
It all sounds a wee bit crazy when I say it out loud.
Truth is, I was nervous for you sister. I tried with all my might to be brave and calm and funny.
I kept waiting for you to crack. I kept waiting for the moment the flood gates would open. But you didn't make a sound. You just rubbed baby boys head or shoulder or knee that was poking at the top of your belly.
Now, after holding the little nugget, we know it was his shoulder. I love that little shoulder.
We waited a couple hours before the anesthesiologist came in and talked about "the procedure".
I don't really remember what she said, I don't remember the terms or logistics or process. I just remember her repeating - No pain, just pressure. If you start to feel pain, you say something, okay?
No pain, just pressure.
I watched your eyes as they talked about the icky stuff, the things that could go wrong, the one in a million chance, the awful things that rarely ever happen but have to tell you that could happen.
But trust us, it rarely ever happens.
But in that moment, your cheeks got red and your eyes filled and that's the first time in the day I knew exactly what to do. Even though deep down, I trusted everything would be fine. I trusted you were in good hands. Those doctors and nurses deliver babies all.the.time.
I walked over to the side of the bed and grabbed your hand and cried a little too. In that moment, I stopped pretending.
I stopped pretending to be strong and composed and put together. I stopped trying to have all the right answers and stay out of the way.
I stopped being anything other than your sister.
And in that moment, being your sister meant holding your hand, feeling what you were feeling - fear, joy, excitement and wonder, and opening the flood gates too.