Last night you busted in my bedroom, turnt up, pretending to be the blue ninja turtle. You noticed I was crying and asked me why. I smiled and pulled you close. You squirmed and laughed and I held you tighter. Finally, you wiggled from my grasp, kissed me on the head and said, ‘no worry momma, everything is alright!’.
I smiled and told you I was happy, not sad. I read you a story like I do every night, sometimes 2 or 3, but I’ve never shared the one I’m about to tell you now. In fact, I’ve never told anyone this story, but I want to share it now so that one day, when you’re older, you can read it and know that things happen everyday, and situations will sometimes seem to fall apart, but if you just keep living, you’ll find that they usually fall back into place.
It was the week before your due date and you were giving me hell. I was hyperpigmented, swollen and cranky… but blessed ’cause the entire STL cast of characters was in North Carolina, waiting on you! My mom and dad (‘Ain and Pa-Pa), Daddy’s mom (Nanny), Aunt Sylvia and your great-grandma Maxine were all there in the same damn house. Now, Great-Grandma Maxine had only been on an airplane once before, in her entire life so this was a really big deal. She wasn’t gonna let a little acrophobia keep her from her first great-grandbaby. You, however, were in no rush to get here. A week went by… then two weeks. And just like your due date, their departure date had come and gone. I begged and begged the family to stay, especially Grandma Maxine, and guess what… they did! #WeSpoiled #divasdonthaveschedules
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, you decided to bust loose and we raced to the hospital. Your daddy was EXCITED! He was on it too, with the coaching and calm keeping. I was in pain, but happy, blogging even, and very excited to meet you. It was early, like 6am… but hours passed and night came and folks naturally got sleepy. Pa-Pa packed up Grandma Maxine and took her home for the night, leaving ‘Ain, Nanny and Daddy to tend to me. At 2am on August 29th, you graced us with your magnificent presence. It was a rough delivery and I ended up needing surgery, but I was so very happy and you were so very beautiful. ‘Ain and Nanny couldn’t believe how gorgeous you were. The doctors and nurses said they’d never seen a prettier baby. Aunt Sylvia (who had gone back to school) and Aunt Toney were blowing up our phones demanding pictures and skype chats. You were so loved.
In all the ruckus, I remember asking your daddy and ‘Ain where Pa-Pa and Grandma Maxine were, but I was so fatigued and overwhelmed with joy that I kept forgetting and didn’t realize something was wrong. Very wrong. ‘Ain kept ducking out of my hospital room, taking phone calls and when Pa-Pa finally came to the hospital, he was alone. Great-Grandma Maxine was not with him. They looked solemn. At this time, you were no more than 2 days old. I held you to my chest while I braced for the news they’d been keeping from me for days. Grandma Maxine was in the hospital too.
Apparently, two hours before you were born, Grandma Maxine had blacked out and fell in our house. Pa-Pa was upstairs when it happened, but he heard the commotion and rushed her to the closest emergency room (a different hospital from where we were, of course). She was immediately admitted and placed in the ICU due to blood on the brain. Already emotional, I remember feeling a tremendous sadness. I immediately felt that it was my fault, that she may have never fell had I let her go back to St. Louis when she requested, and of course, I let my mind wander to that dark place – that she’d never get to meet you. I had already been crying for far lesser reasons (e.g my birth plan was ignored, it hurt to poop, I had a c-section scar, you weren’t latching, I wanted to kill the nurses, but apparently that’s ‘illegal’ in the state of North Carolina – you know, small stuff) but I had never felt that scared, that low. And yet, at the same time, I had to be happy and feel blessed that you were here and healthy.
I held you tight, I prayed, I talked to you and I was determined to get the hell out of that hospital and to the other one to see my grandma. Another couple of days came and went and due to an elevated number on your blood tests, they didn’t want to give us us free.
Grandma’s status had not changed. I was so frustrated, like, crazy. I was mad at everyone, my doctor, the nurse. It felt like they were conspiring to keep me locked away. Your daddy tried to keep me calm . He was so stressed, looking back, I can’t even imagine what he was going through. He had kept the secret from me too, to protect us, but he had been running to and from both hospitals, juggling both of our parents, keeping folks fed and comfortable, all while maintaining a hormonal me. At the time, all I could think about was not getting to say goodbye to Grandma Maxine and that you wouldn’t get to meet this great woman.
I remember the nurses stayed trying to take you to the nursery, but I refused. I needed to rest, but I didn’t want to and I didn’t want you out of my sight. Finally, at the peak of exhaustion, I accepted the help and they wheeled you away, down the hall. I laid in the hospital room, alone. Your daddy had left to go get breakfast, or so I thought. A few hours later, I heard a knock on the door. Ready to hastily and probably nastily decline help from the nurse, I saw your daddy. And then ‘Ain… and then Pa-Pa. They were all smiling and said that I had a visitor. My eyes, very swollen from all the tears, got HUGE when I saw your Great-Grandma Maxine being wheeled around the corner in a chair. She was beaming and apologizing for the whole situation. The rest is a blur, but I remember bugging the nurses to bring you to me so that you could finally meet my Grandma.
|you can still see Grandma’s hospital bracelet… she came straight away!|
Tears… lots of them, but joy this time. Her recovery was rocky and very slow. When you were two months old, we flew to St. Louis to sit at her bedside, to comfort her and help her get healthy again. And she did, and since then you’ve road tripped with her, showed her how to comb her hair, brunched, and even taught her to dance.
My dad always reminds me that things happen for a reason. Had Grandma blacked out in STL, she would’ve been alone in her house. This is not a sad story Boogie, it’s one full of joy. It’s a story that reminds us that we are put in certain places at certain times in certain situations and the reasoning may not always be apparent or logical. As hard as it may be to fight it, you’ve got to remember that life always works itself out in the long run. So train for the marathon baby girl, pace yourself, and don’t get caught up in a sprint or you’ll wear yourself out before you even really get going. Enjoy each moment in your life, and cherish those moments with the people you love. Just a little advice from Mommy, kid.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Gia!