Thursday, April 22, 2010
"I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about this baby. After all that you have been through, all your struggles, all your heartaches. Now you are married and welcoming your own child. A child that you will be able to raise with your husband. Your family is finally here and I want you to enjoy every single second of it. I am proud of both you and Bruce for the wonderful people you have become, and Bodde will be spoiled rotten once I get out there so you will have that to deal with." She had been working for the government for over 30 years so she was going to take early retirement once Bodde was born, pack up her things and move to California. The plan was that we were all going to buy a house then build her a cottage house in the back...her own self professed Granny House. She was getting uber excited about life with baby and left us endless messages about equal opportunity football rearing, how we had to get rid of the leopard diseased lizard we had so the baby would not contract salmonella in the bathtub, and little hints at how she would teach Bodde all the little ways to make his parents nuts. She herself had waited for so long to be the grandma that she knew she could be. Her joyous spirit was infectious and all who were around her on a daily basis were loving her bounding energy, lively smile and countdown to baby comfort food that she endlessly paraded around on cute plates. She was the kind of person you loved having at the office, always able to take the edge off while doing a fantastic job with own responsibilities. But the closer it came, the more she relished in what the months and years ahead held for her.
She saw the doctor and told me that she was going to get a second opinion. She expressed concern that her doctor was not taking her pain serious enough and she wanted to see someone else to ease her mind. I called her on a daily basis for three days, several times a day, to see how she was feeling. She had also been battling a congestion since January and she once referenced how it surprised her that she could not kick the cough that she had. Thought nothing of it. She told me that she was planning a baby shower for me in St. Louis for my family and friends, and she would take pictures and call so that everyone could wish me well. She had planned it for the last weekend of the month and sounded optimistic regardless of her irritation with the pulled muscle that she had.
Feb 15, 2000. I woke up at 5:00 and my back was aching. I had to go to the bathroom, so I rolled out of bed...belly and all...and shuffled off. Finishing, the toilet paper had just a hint of pink. Maybe labor? I went back to bed and laid there. I had just had a doctor's appointment and he told me that we could go any day even thought the due date was March 16th. He believed that we were off on our original estimation but everything showed a fully developed baby, so the reason I was thinking it possible. I felt a dull ache in my back that seemed to get stronger so I looked at the clock. 5:20 am. My first thought was I am in labor. My second thought was how hungry I was. I got up and took a shower. I did not want to wake Bruce up because I knew that there was nothing open yet, food wise, so I wanted to bide time to get me some sausage egg mcmuffins. No kidding. If there is anything that I learned with the first two births is that you need to go in on a FULL stomach because you will burn an unbelievable amount of energy pushing life from your body. The shower was great, and I continued back to bed to lie down. I was facing away from the clock and when the aching in my back started again, I woke Bruce and asked him what time it was.
He said "Why?" I told him I just wanted to know the time.
"5:45. Why?" I told him that I was in labor, not to panic, we had time to get ready. He flipped over in bed wide awake.
"Your in labor? Are you sure? Do we need to leave right now? Are you okay?" he was starting to freak out. I convinced him that I was fine, he had time to take a shower, the contractions were only 15-20 minutes apart so we would be fine. He leaped out of bed and into the shower. I lay there for a few more minutes.I picked up the phone and dialed my mother.
"Hey, do you think today would be a good day to become a grandmother?" I asked with a huge smile on my face.
"What? Kelsey are you serious?" She was half excited and half worried.
"I am pretty sure that Bodde is coming today. The contractions are 15-20 minutes apart and they are too strong to be a false alarm."
"Did you see bloody show?" she asked.
"Yes. Just a little..."
"That's all you need. But it is almost a month away from your due date. You're not due until March 16th, do you think something is wrong?" She was sounding less excited and more worried now, I could tell that she was thinking of something else.
"I saw the doctor last Thursday and he said that from all accounts the baby was fully developed, it could be any day now and he would not be worried. I am sure this is it. Bruce is in the shower and once he is done we will load the car and head to the hospital. Everything is good, mom. I just wanted to call you."
"It's too soon. I thought there would be more time." She was very somber in her tone.
"Mom, don't worry about the shower or coming out here. Whenever you can make it will be fine. Hey, you can still have the shower in a couple of weeks then come out to see us after that. Let's just get this baby here, healthy and happy, then we can talk specifics. I am going to get dressed, I will call you from the hospital to let you know the phone number and room number. I love you!"
" I love you too. Ready?"
In unison..."1....2....3....I love you. I miss you. Goodbye!"
What is up with that, Kelsey???? Well, when I moved to Cali my mother and I could never get off the phone because neither of us could hang up on the other. One day we came up with that little chant and we were able to get off the phone after that. It just stuck. So Bruce is now running around collecting things for the hospital. We have a boom box for relaxing music during labor, a bag with clothes, a bag with bathroom things, a blanket, a pillow and a small bear that his grandmother bought for the baby. Oh yeah, I think we had enough but I was not going to say anything to detour him from enjoying this nesting moment. It was adorable to watch my husband do this, his attention to detail, his making last minute adjustments such as magazines and after delivery snacks. Oh, to think of it now just makes me love him more. He was so ready to be a daddy, ready to see his son be born. The truck packed, cat fed, light left on...we left for the hospital around 6:15 am. I told him he needed to stop by McDonald's so I could get something to eat. He said no. I said in my most polite Exorcist voice to "Go to McDonald's now...I'm starving!" He had never heard me talk like that so he did as he was told, mostly out of confusion and a hint of fear. Drive thru order of a sausage egg mcmuffin, cup of coffee and a coke. I had everything but the coffee. That was for Bruce, and it helped his demeanor and choice of words for his in labor wife. I think he was a little grossed out at how I wolfed down that sausage patty.
Bodde was stubborn. We were waiting for a while. Contractions, but no movement. Nothing past 3 cm. I said that I did not want an epidural, but would gladly accept some Staydol to take the edge off the sharp contractions. They agreed and once that sweet nectar was released in my veins I was a much more pleasant person, down right happy and carefree. Bruce and I chatted, my mother called 6 times...literally. And soon it began to rain harder than we had seen it rain in over a year. The nurse told us that it was good luck to have a baby in the rain, it was supposed to bring compassion in a child. (BTW, I am a believer because my Bodde is the most compassionate kid you have ever met!) The time was getting closer and I was starting to drift off, an effect of the drug, so Bruce told me he was going to get a cup of coffee. Actually he asked if it was alright, if I was alright alone. Yeah, yeah, yeah I said off to la-la-land. I woke from that nap to the smell of three things mixed together. I rolled over to see his face right next to mine. He was smiling and relaxed. I looked into his eyes and said...
"You had a cup of coffee, a tuna sandwich and a cigarette, didn't you?" His cute little puppy dog eyes turned into frightened little boy caught in the cookie jar eyes.
"Uhhhhh..." as he said that, his breath proved all those things to be true.
"Dammit Jim!" I was referencing Star Trek when Doc would get all mad at Captain Kirk . He apologized and reminded me that he did not inhale a mcmuffin that morning. We both laughed.
Time finally comes for him to be born. Things were going well, except I changed my mind about the epidural but was too late catching the anesthesiologist so it was all natural for me. My mother kept calling, so Bruce just picked up the phone, hung it back on the receiver, then laid it off the hook on the table. "I am having no part of that! You can explain to her why she could not call." Bruce laughed and said he would take responsibility, he had witnesses to prove it. I will spare you the details, and tell you that Bodde was born at 1:43 pm on February 15th and was a healthy 6lbs 15 oz at a length of 19 inches. It was a good delivery and I told Bruce he had to put the phone back in the cradle so we could call her and let her know. The phone did not even ring after I dialed and I heard...
"Well you better have a weight and length for me if you are going to torture me like that!" I gave her the information and she balled like a baby. We both cried. She asked what he looked like (a baby boy), who he looked like(Good mix of both of us, but heavy on the Kelsey genes) , how was Bruce (Great! Off with the baby to clean and clothe), how was I (sore, exhausted and never happier in my life), when would they be able to get me something to eat (good question!) and the last thing she said was ... "My baby finally has a baby of her own to love. Oh Kelsey, I am so happy for you."
After I came home from the hospital she would call and tell me in a whisper..."I know you are resting, just lay the phone next to him and let me hear him breath." I would, and had no idea how long she listened because I fell asleep myself. She would call and leave messages for Bodde telling him that she was going to be there soon to love on him and spoil him. She even told him that she was going to bring along NFL films to show him how real football teams win Super Bowl's. She called all the time for the next week and a half. Then the calls slowed. On Sunday the shower, she called.
"Hello sweetheart. I am cancelling the shower because I really don't feel very good at all."
"Mom, are you okay? What is it? What hurts?" I could hear people in the background, I knew that my cousins were there helping her.
"I just cannot shake this cold and my left side is really bothering me."
"Still? Is that from the pulled muscle that you had?"
"Yeah, I think so, I'm not sure but I know that I just cannot have this shower and I won't be coming out next week, either." She had planned to fly out for a few weeks to help me and of course, spoil Bodde rotten. Bruce and I were so looking forward to her coming out. We kept talking about how we would probably never get to hold him once she was there.
"Mom, what is going on? Have you been to your doctor? What about the other doctor?" She had been referred to another doctor who she said she saw at the end of the week, but she was not feeling as bad then. I could tell that she was having trouble breathing. She told me that indeed my cousins were there helping her put things away.I was in a daze because all of this was news that I was not prepared for. She had been waiting a lifetime to have a shower for her grandchild. She had been waiting a lifetime to see her daughter as a mom taking care of, feeding, comforting and soothing her child. She had been waiting to retire and live life in California with us, and with her brother's children. Everyone was so thrilled for her, she was finally going to be living out her life the way she wanted to. Her daughter was married, her grandchild was here, her retirement was in the approval process, she was on her way to just living life as a grandmother. Wait, reliving her life vicariously through her grandchild, that would be a better description to what I think she was looking forward to.
"I will go see him tomorrow. I am so sorry honey..." she was crying. "... I wanted so badly to be there and to have this shower. I am sorry that I couldn't do that for you. I have to go, I need to rest, okay?" her voice was soft, her voice was venerable. There was something she was not telling me, and I knew it.
"Mom, I just want you to feel better. Do not apologize. Bodde came a whole month before his due date, this took us all by surprise. I just want you to take care of yourself. I will call you tonight but in the mean time you go rest. I love you."
"I love you too." she hung up. No chant. Just a click. That hadn't happened in about three years. Remember that feeling I had that I could not shake? That bad feeling that was rearing it's nasty head, bugging me, filling my heart with some kind of darkness during the pregnancy. I thought I was free and clear of it once Bodde was born. I was afraid that spooky feeling was related to my fears that he would not be a healthy child.
I now knew that it was my beloved Pretty Momma that was in trouble. She was very close to the end of her life and the following week would prove just that. This is where my heart began to ache amiss the joy of my new family.