Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9
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We'd like to keep her to ourselves all day but we eventually decide we ought to let Maggie's soon-to-be adoring fans come meet her after their long night. I'm not thrilled about leaving Maggie, even for a minute, so we call them on the cell phone. When they come in, their faces light up with wonder and delight, especially Nana and Grandpa as they meet their first grandchild.
Shannon's dad, Louie, has pink bubble gum cigars that we 'smoke' amid the pink roses and pink balloons they brought earlier. We also eat pink cupcakes and sing Happy Birthday (with everyone stumbling at the name part, not knowing whether to say Magnolia, Magnolia Grace, or just Maggie.)
After plenty of doting and near swooning they tear themselves away from the new little wonder and drive back to their unused hotel room, thankful for a happy ending.
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The nurses inform us that we're no longer welcome in the increasingly busy birth center and we will be relocating shortly to another wing of the hospital for the next few days.
I scan the room, noting what we will need to pack up. Our room is a disaster! I brought a lot of stuff—cameras, games, books, food, clothes—and it's everywhere. Even under the best of circumstances I'm not the neatest person in the world, so during a difficult labor when I barely had time to grab a water bottle between contractions I wasn't about to tidy our room.
I start shoving things in bags and boxes, onto carts and under Maggie's basinet. The nurses help and they're amazed every time they open a cupboard or the fridge and discover sparkling cider, computer cables, and dirty underwear.
They call in reinforcements. By the time we get out the door there are six of us: one nurse pushing a gowned and reclining Shannon, with all her tubal accoutrements; two more nurses pushing carts overflowing with flowers and bags; and me in the rear, laden with camera bags, pushing sleeping Maggie in her transparent tub of a basinet.
It's quite the walk. There are several large pink balloons attached to the cart, and as we wend our way through the corridors of the hospital they float behind this train of people, announcing the arrival of a beautiful baby girl, who is peacefully oblivious to it all.
It's a parade!
I should be throwing candy through the open hospital room doors at our unwitting parade watchers.
It gets even better. One of the balloons plays music when you press on it, so every time we walk through a doorway, the cheap little audio device inside hits the lintel and starts singing, rather obnoxiously, "Baby face! You've got the cutest little baby face…"
I do a little dance.
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I could go on. I could easily tell you about every little squeak or stretch Magnolia has done, is doing, and will ever do, but this story must end somewhere, and what better place than here at Maggie and Shannon's impromptu parade, publicly celebrating the accomplishment of birth and the life to come.
I wrote earlier that our labor room felt like a womb and that we were waiting to be born.
Well, here we are.
Newborn parents, with a whole life ahead of us. We're not quite as cute as this other newborn, but we have just as much growing to do, and we're excited and privileged to share the journey with you, our friends and family.
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