Perfect Moment Monday: Happy happy joy joy

December 30, 2011

in Family, Perfect Moment

(ALI Alert: baby mentioned. Do not read if you are in a tender place.)

One week ago…

Sheri (my middle sister) and I are at a morning yoga class. She’s been living in Pennsylvania this year and it’s a real treat to spend time with just her, doing one of the things we really love to do.

Toward the end of the class we are on our backs, twisting our spines by windshield-wiping our knees first one way and then the other. Sheri is on my right and I am looking left with my arms outstretched. I feel her hand wrap into mine and I do not look over at her. It is a simple moment of sheer love, of pure presence, and I well up with love (as I tend to do).

We turn our knees to the other side and I turn my neck accordingly, now looking at her. She has remained facing me. We look into each other’s eyes and in that expansive moment our entire common childhood experiences fit. We smile at each other and a tear rolls down my temple, into my hair, toward my mat.


We go our separate ways for the rest of the day, each of us with a mile-long ToDo list.

We reconvene in the evening at a hotel in the opposite part of our city. Why? Because our third sister, 39-week-6-day pregnant Tami, is about to check into a hospital across the street, and she’s been staying at this hotel so the snowstorm we just had wouldn’t impede her birth plan.

By 10:30 pm, Sheri and I leave my kids in the care of my parents in the hotel and head over to the hospital to be with Tami and Gino. We joke around for several hours through her “surges,” as the hospital brochure calls them. Eventually, though, the surges become full-on contractions, about 3 minutes apart.

Sheri, having given birth to three boys via two pregnancies, serves as Tami’s doula for the next several hours. She is masterful at keeping Tami present — breathing with her through each contraction, keeping her in her body and in the moment — and encouraging her to rest in the brief intervals between contractions. I am amazed at both my sisters’ ability to keep going, wave after wave of contractions, Tami doing the laboring and Sheri keeping us focused. Sheri is doing her doula thing on one side of Tami and I am on the other performing energy work on her and sounding the breath with her — my ways of moving energy.

After about 90 minutes I find Sheri’s voice so soothing I retreat to the pullout chair, certain that I’m of no use anyway, having never given birth.

Tami makes it until 4:30 am before requesting an epidural. Sheri and I are asked to leave the room for the procedure, and welcome to come back shortly for the Main Event.

We step out at 4:40 am to a remote waiting room. We text updates to our mom and our husbands. We debrief our experience thus far with each other, we talk about how lucky we are because we are about to see a baby be born, we watch bad dead-of-the-night TV, we look at our watches.

At 5:05 Gino tells us we’ll be able to re-enter soon. Finally, at 5:15, he texts us to come on in. We stride down the long hall, eager for the high point of this long haul and to witness the minting of a brand new human being.

But we don’t see what we expect to see, which is Tami, less uncomfortable than before the eipdural, in the last stages of labor.

Instead we see a radiant Tami sitting up in her bed holding a bundle that looks suspiciously like a baby.

My I-want-to-be-born-NOW niece had crowned just as the anethesiologist was poised to insert his spinal catheter. He was rapidly replaced by the OB-on-call, who caught the baby at the head end of the bed because Tami had fallen over to the foot of it as the baby crowned.

So even though we missed the Main Event, we got to meet Eleana Grace when she was younger than a half-hour old. She looks ready to take on the world, doesn’t she?

Soon my Tessa and Tami’s Dominic, Eleana’s gentle big brother, arrived from the hotel with Grandma. It was pure joy to watch the two kids (and my mom, who cried. Guess we know where I get the upwelling thing) welcome their new sister/cousin/granddaughter to our clan. I wondered if Tessa and Dominic thought about all the happiness that their births brought us, as well.

What an abundance of perfect moments! Though I already posted for December’s Perfect Moment Monday, I did want to document and share these newly minted moments of exquisite perfection.

Happy happy joy joy, indeed. My cup runneth over, and I am grateful.


Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to joinThe next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on January 23.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

a December 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

Congratulations on the beautiful new addition to your family!


lostintranslation December 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Yay! What a wonderful story and congratulations on the addition to the family!


Debbie Schwartz December 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Congratulations, Aunt Lori!

Welcome to the world, Eleana!


It Is What It Is December 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm

What a lovely Christmas and New Years gift!

Welcome to the world, Eleana, we’ve been waiting for you!


Baby Smiling In Back Seat December 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Welcome, little one!

Delighted to see the final name after hearing so many candidates.

Mazel Tov to the whole family!


Summer December 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Welcome to the world, Eleana!


andy December 31, 2011 at 7:21 am

Welcome to the world Eleana Grace!! You have been blessed with a wonderful family.


Lisa December 31, 2011 at 10:15 am

Beautiful, Lori. I’m upwelling, too. :)


slowmamma December 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

Congratulations to your family!! I have to admit that I never get to the end of a birth story tear-free.


edenland December 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Lori what an exquisite story. Welcome to the world, Eleana!

You know how you wrote ” .. certain that I’m of no use anyway” …. you’re not allowed to write that again. It’s not true, you’re one of the most beautiful shining Spirits in the world and you are always, always useful. So much compassion and healing and wise thoughts to impart.



Jamie January 2, 2012 at 6:15 am

Beautiful story and great way to end 2011 and welcome 2012. Congrats! Your new niece is gorgeous!


loribeth January 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Congratulations, Auntie! She’s a cutie! : )


Sarah January 3, 2012 at 1:55 am

What a beautiful birth story, as a Doula myself I love a good birth story. Congratulations to your family! She is adorable!


andrea January 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

how beautiful – welcome to the world pretty girl, you are surrounded by so much love.


Kathy January 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Sorry I missed this last month… I was working on my perfect moment for this month and wanted link up to your perfect moments category, when I came across this post. I LOVE these perfect moments and got choked up reading both about that moment with your sister in yoga class and the time you spent with both of your sisters preparing for your niece’s birth. Congrats Aunt Lori!!! She is beautiful. xoxo


jenny - sugar loco May 31, 2012 at 7:49 am

what a wonderful story! what a blessing to be there so soon after she was born and what an amazing bonding experience for you sisters…


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