Anchovies

The morning after Dave and I flew home from Christi’s baby shower I got a phone call.   Christi had been sent to the hospital directly from her Doctor’s office. No going home for clothes, no running to Dunkin Donut for one more delicious breakfast, just go directly to the ER. Not really sure what was going on but knowing that it was 6 weeks before the baby’s due date and that being sent directly to the hospital is never a good sign, Dave and I flew back to Arizona the next morning. I walked into the hospital room and finally breathed my first full breath since that early morning phone call. I looked at my daughter’s face and realized she was just as relieved to see my face as I was to see hers. Unaware of just how sick Christi was we all settled in for a stint of bedrest at the hospital. The bathroom had immediately been dubbed “the cell phone room” because it was the only private place to take a phone call. We developed the code word “anchovies” for any moment when Christi’s private parts were displayed so her father would not be scarred for life by coming into the room unaware.

Things went south very quickly and next morning we got a call from Kenny. “We’re having a baby today!” A few hours later and six weeks before I was supposed to be in Arizona for the birth of my second grandchild, I sat in a chair holding tightly to Christi’s arms while the doctor tried for the third time to put in an epidural. Christi had become so swollen they were having issues getting the placement right. I knew my little girl was scared, sick and in pain.   My mind flashed back to all the times I have held this child in my arms and cooed words of comfort to heal a booboo or wash away the nightmare of the boogie man.

I watched as the ream of paper cascaded onto the floor with its endless waves of contractions. I watched the screen and held my breath as Christi’s blood pressure climbed and her oxygen level fell. I watched helplessly as little to no urine fell into the catheter bag. The neonatal specialist from the NicU came in and went over the laundry list of issues a baby born 5 ½ week premature could or would have. My outside me kept calm while my inner me was running around in circles with her hands waving above her head telling everyone to be in a full bore panic. I held my little girl and coaxed her through each contraction as the epidural failed to do its job. I reminded her to breath, I reminded her to try to relax her muscles even though she felt like someone was trying to pull her feet out of her nose holes. I told her to unclentch her butt muscles so she didn’t give my granddaughter a cone head. In these moments she was not a grown woman with her own baby on the way, she was my precious blue eyed little girl and I would have done anything to give her comfort.

I knew I would leave the room when the time came for my granddaughter to be born and that was ok. This mother hen, of course, would rather be there but I’m not so silly as to not know this is a precious moment that starts a new family and my presence is not necessary. The contractions came faster and more painful and we rubbed, cooed and joked our way through each one. Christi was put on oxygen and I watched carefully the fogging of the mask to make sure that she was breathing when I told her to. My hand instinctively rubbed her back and checked her butt muscle to make sure she wasn’t fighting the contractions. In this momma’s opinion, things were moving fast. The Dr. came in and casually sat on the end of the bed making idle chit chat while checking on the baby’s progress into this world. Suddenly she was calling for a gown and goggles—this baby was coming now. I prepared to back out of the area, my plan was to stay in the room behind the curtain with David so we would be able to hear the baby’s first cry. To my elation, both Kenny and Christi asked me to stay.

I have had three undeniable life altering glorious moments in my life, the birth of my own children. I can’t explain why but the moment that my daughter birthed her daughter, I felt like I had completed an amazing circle in my life. Through the agonizing pain of a natural child birth I brought my beautiful little blue eyed baby into this world and now I have been given the gift of watching this amazing young woman bring my beautiful amazing granddaughter into the world.

Christi and Annika's First Meeting

True to her Gardner/Allen genes our precious little granddaughter Annika was born raring to go. She never spent a single day in the NicU, in fact she never even left the hospital room.  Soon after the birth Christi returned to her normal non-swollen self and although her blood pressure remained an issue all her other symptoms resolved with the birth. One week later both Mommy and Baby were wheeled out of the hospital with a very proud and grateful husband/father at their side trailed by two of the most relieved and elated parents/grandparents in the world.

I have said it before but I’m going to say it again: I am the luckiest woman in the world and LIFE IS GOOD!

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