With the sound of Rhianna pulsing from the room, we gathered in the hallway to listen for a sign that the baby had arrived. We perked up at each voice encouraging Rachel to push, we leaned closer with each pause in sound, and we jostled for position closest to the door opening. But after a mere five minutes with no baby, we realized our patience had diminished to that of a toddler awaiting Christmas morning.
We walked back to the waiting room because we were sure this was it, but we were also sure that we’d been sure before. We were jaded. We felt like we were too smart to be tricked again into believing we’d be meeting a new family member at any moment. It was the most intense case of crying wolf any of us had experienced.
Chloe was the exception. At nine years of age, Cami and Erik’s daughter didn’t have the cynical attitude of her adult peers. She was darting between the waiting room and the delivery room as nervous as if she was the father.
That sort of energy tends to be contagious, and soon I was running into the waiting room with non-announcements like, “I can hear Phil talking!” and “There’s still music playing!”
Amidst all of the madness, Cami managed to compose a song about waiting for the baby to be born. We were in awe that her creativity was not bound by her exhaustion, as she scribbled lyrics and hummed a melody while the rest of us could barely string thoughts together. Later, she shared a song titled Worth the Waiting that beautifully captures the emotion of anticipating Baby Goodman.
Half an hour later the suspense got the best of us and we all gathered around the delivery room door again. This time it was much more exciting, as Phil led Wendy and the nurses in counting to ten as Rachel pushed. This had the effect of leading us to think that every time they said “Ten!” the baby would burst forth crying, so we’d clench up as they counted and then deflate when nothing happened after they hit double-digits.
Mike was past the point of fatigue since he’d been studying for finals throughout Rachel’s labor. He turned to walk back to the waiting room, saying, “This is not happening. I know this is another false hope. I’ll be reading. Come get me when it’s really happening.” I tried to convince him to stay but the weariness in his eyes told me it was a lost cause.
Twenty minutes later seven nurses came rushing down the hall and into Rachel’s room. This was new. This was alarming, and this was a sure sign to all of us that the baby was finally, truly going to be born.
I ran down the hall and into the waiting room to tell Mike that this was actually it, and I promised the baby would be here in minutes and he did not want to miss this. His eyes lit up just as I knew they would and we ran back to the room together.
Usher suddenly burst into song and I said this is the perfect song for the baby to be born to; “Without You” was playing and we started dancing in the hallways, wailing about how we couldn’t live without baby Goodman.
“One, two, three, four, five…” Phil was counting and yelling, “You can do it! Come on, baby!” Colleen started recording the sound on her iPhone and we pushed the door open a little further so we could hear every sound.
At 9:25PM the song changed to “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida and Phil counted one more time. Suddenly they all stopped yelling at once and we heard the tiniest, faintest cry, and the world stopped turning for what seemed like hours and we all grabbed each other as tears filled our eyes. We heard Phil say “she” and we started saying “Did he say She? It’s a girl, isn’t it!? It’s a girl!” and then Wendy opened the door and exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” and we all hollered and yelled “Lillian! Lillian is here! It’s a GIRL!” until we couldn’t think.
“And her CHEEKS! You should see her cheeks, oh my gosh wait til you see them!” she added. Then she went back in the room to take pictures. “Clair de Lune” began playing in the room, and we all sighed at what a perfect choice it was. Phil and Rachel had selected it to be played immediately after the birth so that throughout their lives when they heard that song they’d be transported back to that room, and that moment.
Phil later told me he was so emotional and swept up in Lillian’s birth that he didn’t even hear the song until a nurse commented on what a nice song it was. Then he heard it and began to sob.
Colleen, Mike, Cami and I were texting furiously, updating everyone who had been with us on this journey. I reported to Lindsay at 9:40PM that she was 8lbs 13oz, and at 9:43 she asked how Rach was but I said we hadn’t been let in yet. Looking back now, I can’t believe that we stood outside that room for twenty minutes waiting to see Lillian. It felt like two minutes.
Finally the seven nurses finished cleaning and left the room, and we were welcomed in. Mike and I walked toward the heating lamp that Lillian was laying under, and we saw Phil standing beside her. When we got closer we realized that she was clasping his finger in her hand, holding on with every ounce of her strength. She was staring right at Phil, never once looking away, and he had tears streaming down his face. We leaned over her and said, “Hello Lillian, hello baby girl. We love you so much, we love you already. Phil, she is beautiful! She is gorgeous! And she can’t take her eyes off of you! She knows your voice!” It was one of the most profound interactions I have ever seen; a man and his first-born child, so connected in her first moments of life that it appeared they were being reunited rather than introduced.
Rachel looked happy and relieved, and took Lillian in her arms and said, “She’s beautiful, isn’t she? She’s so beautiful,” and then looked at her and said, “You are good” in the softest voice, and I bit my lip to keep from crying.
Mike popped the champagne and passed out cups, and we raised our glasses to our newest family member, our lil Lil. We thanked God for her and chatted, happily, about the shock we were all feeling that she really was here. We told Rachel that she was a warrior, a mighty woman we all admired and of whom were so, so proud.