Friday, September 27, 2013

During the longest of nights....

Grady was up sick all night last night.  I spent the better part in the recliner watching cute puppy videos on YouTube with him until my eyes felt like Lindsay Lohan’s hair extensions… dry and all shades of red.

Not that puppy videos didn’t have me on the edge of my seat… but my mind did have a chance to wander, as I tried everything in my mommy repertoire to get the little nugget calmed down.

I started to think about how things have changed in the last little while.. and then about the circle of life, and how in the last 18 months it had cycled before our eyes.  How every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

As logic begs us to do, shall we start at the beginning?

Which, I guess is my reproductive ability.  Stay with me here…

I have three kids. Only one of them has been planned.  (You may be asking yourself how this can happen.. I have too.  Clearly, I cannot be trusted.  I must have missed that day in Grade Nine health.) 

Fresh off a back surgery that was emergent in nature, I came to a startling realization one weekday afternoon. 

I felt a little different. 

Maybe, a ‘little bit pregnant’, actually.  (That girl from the commercials can piss off.. there is such a thing as being a ‘little bit pregnant’.  It’s the time between having no clue you are pregnant, to the time when you take a positive pregnancy test.  The waiting period in between is officially deemed being ‘a little bit pregnant’). 

Like all experienced mothers, I didn’t head to the drugstore right away.


I headed to Dollarama. 

Listen, I’d be dishonest if I said I had never made a stealth trip to Dollarama before for this, um, product.

Whether $1 or $15 they do the same thing.  Two lines means whoopsie daisy. One line means carry on, business as usual. 

Well, on this day I was about to get a little surprise.

After saying nothing to anyone, I headed to Dollarama and grabbed a few tests.

If you're asking yourself why I didn't just have some stocked around the house, well as a perennial perfectionist, and excitable test taker I cannot be trusted with unopened pregnancy tests anywhere in my vicinity.  I love me a good test, and will take them even when I know darn well I am NOT pregnant.  It’s a weird phenomenon, in which I am certain I am not alone.  After all, they do sell packs at Costco.

But as I said… usually I passed.  (Wait is a positive a pass or a fail?  I guess that’s all in perspective. )

 Anyways ,back to my story..

I came home and took the test only to find absolute, conclusive, proof that I was no longer a little bit pregnant.  I was a LOT pregnant. 

My next logical step was to sneakily text Mike’s sister Amy. ( As my health guru and Registered Nurse,  she knows way too much about me, and I’m sure loves the pictures I send of the kid’s cuts and rashes.)  So, I texted her ASAP to ask her what her professional opinion of Dollarama pregnancy tests are.

She phoned right away.  I was not as stealthy as I thought.

Next stop.. the awkward, “Um Mike.  Can you come here for a second?”

To which I simply showed him the positive test and let him draw the conclusions.

I was pregnant with out third baby.

In life, and certainly in the circle of life, the ups and the downs seem to cancel each other out. 

At the same time I was getting used to the idea of baby #3, in another province my Grandpa heard some bad news about his prognosis with a lung disease. 

It wasn’t great. 

In fact, it would seem he didn’t have a lot of time at all. 

So it was with great pleasure I phoned to tell him of my oopsie daisy.  Gramps always loved babies, and was thrilled to hear about my news.

As my pregnancy marched on I even got to phone him and tell him the second part of the news.  It was another boy, and I got to share with him how the kids reacted (Ben, super excited.. Belle super upset that as a Mommy and a girl, I would have the audacity to have anything OTHER than a girl).  He laughed and told me he thought that was great. 

Unfortunately the doctors were right, and Gramps didn’t have a chance to meet Grady. 

Not long after I told him the news, he took the invisible elevator and headed on up to heaven. (Anaology kindly provided by my oldest after hearing the news that Gramps passed away.)

After saying our goodbyes to him, my Grandma, his wife, suddenly found out her time around here was nearing an end as well.

She asked me one thing… she wanted to meet Grady after he was born.  I promised I would get him there.

Before long I was 36 ½ weeks pregnant, diabetic, and seriously ready to get this baby out.   

After waking up in the middle of the night with mild cramps, I woke Mike up to ask him what he thought I should do. 

He told me to have a bath and go back to bed.  Again, by the third baby, no one gets too excited over anything.

However by the third baby, it also meant that you have an innate sense when maybe you should get checked out… just in case. 

After a quick bath, hair and make-up, and our friend arriving at 2am to watch the kids, we headed out the door just to make sure I wasn't going to be the latest installment of "Homebirths: By Accident".

We sang and laughed on the way to the hospital (can you not sing along to ‘Springstein’ by Eric Church??) and by the time we pulled up I was sure I was going back home.  I told Mike not even to bring in the hospital bag since we wouldn’t need it. 
5 minutes later he had to go back outside to grab the bag.  I was 6 ½ cm dilated (with no labor pains yet) and was told they thought I was going to be delivering within the hour.

The ‘question’ came shortly after. 

If you’ve had a baby you know the glorious question to which I refer.

“How are you planning to handle the pain?”

To which I answered a resounding “DRUGS PLEASE!!” and turned to Mike as soon as they left the room and whispered excitedly,

“They are giving me drugs and I’m not even in labour!!!”

He assured me I was, I kept laughing and we had multiple nurses tell us we were making labor sound like way too much fun.  As it turned out, the medical professionals were right.  I was in labor in a big way, and Grady was on his way to meet us.

Grady was born not long after the giggling, and after 20 minutes of the most peaceful bliss we started calling friends and family to tell them our surprise.  He was healthy, he was a vivacious eater and we were even offered to go home that same night.  (To which I declined. Are you kidding? Prepared meals, laundry and only the baby to take care of? How long can I stay??)

We made it home only for a few days before we were readmitted with the curse of the white baby (jaundice).

A few weeks late, after a high temperature and a middle of the night SOS call, we once again found ourselves back at the hospital with what I can only describe as the worst fear of parents of a newborn. 


(Side note: For those of you who are not vaccinating your children can I just tell you it is absolutely terrifying to sit in a hospital while your tiny baby is hooked up to a million lines and machines, waiting for the results on the  cultures grown from their spinal fluid.  Of course he was too young to be vaccinated, but please, please think of this scenario when you ignorantly choose to NOT vaccinate your baby due to disproved, INACCRUATE information.  If you can avoid this for your baby why wouldn’t you?)

While in the ER we were dealt another blow.  Our beloved 5 year old black lab mutt Sam, was full of cancer and was going to need to be kept comfortable until the end.

The end came staggeringly fast. 

While Grady rallied, and was a tough little baby, requiring only 3 days of hospitalization.  He came home right in time to spend Sam’s last night with us.

Sam was peacefully and lovingly sent into eternal slumber by our friend who is a vet, who kindly came to our house that quiet night.

With tears we said good bye to our favorite four legged guy, and held our newborn tightly knowing how lucky we were that their fates had not been reversed.

Grady recovered fully at home, and we were told he was good to go. 

And go we did, to make good on a promise I made.

Grady met his Great Grandma in what I can only say was a moment in which words do not suffice. 

He smiled and she kissed his little hands repeating “I love you, I love you, I love you” until tears of joy, mixed with tears of the knowledge of what was to come, streamed down everyone’s faces.

She joined the chorus of angels watching over Grady soon after.

Grady was the sole beacon of light left in what felt like such a gloomy world. 

Hospitals.  Funerals.  Good-byes.  All had characterized his first few months in this world.

But, like babies do, he kept us smiling.

He shone light into the darkness my dad felt after losing two parents so quickly after one another.

He reminded us that life goes on.  The circle of life can feel heartless, and cruel, but that despite the inherent sadness we feel when those we love leave this earth, it is but the natural order of things. 

The old give way to the new.

The lives lived long, and lived well by those who came before us, breathe life into the little ones just learning how to make their way in this confusing world.

And as the seasons turn, and time marches on, those little ones grow.

Soon they are a year old, only a whisper of those first few months are left on their soft, smooth skin. 

Only a hint left in those dimpled cheeks, of the sad tears shed all around them.

And in those old legs that can no longer stand we soon see little feet trying to navigate gravity and all that comes with teetering and wobbling.   And as those weathered hands lose their strength and let go, we feel those little hands looking for a safe place to hang on to, dimpled knuckles grasping to pull that little body to stand. 

In these moments we see the circle of life in its most beautiful grandeur. 

In the fevered snuggles of those little arms on that long night, I couldn’t help but feel myself circling back. 

In the darkness of the night, in the safety of the embrace between infant and mother, I felt myself momentarily hinged in the centre of the circle.

Briefly pausing in time with those who held us on those long nights, and those that held them…

And then I smiled.
Grady meeting Great Grandma.. A promise kept.