Friday, April 25, 2014

Curmudgeon becomes a grandfather again -- Part I

I hadn't written about Older Daughter's pending Blessed Event for reasons explained in this post. She's had such a tough time of it, and I didn't want to tempt Fate or Karma or Anything Else by writing prematurely. However, I believe the embargo is now lifted....

"If that kid is born deaf, don't say I didn't tell you so," I grumbled once again as Long Suffering Spouse regaled me with the tale of Older Daughter's latest ultrasound examination. "Even if the kid isn't deaf, she'll go berserk every time a dog whistle goes off anywhere nearby."

Because of the problems Older Daughter had in getting and staying pregnant, she took every possible opportunity to get an ultrasound examination performed. As a nurse in Indianapolis, Older Daughter found many such opportunities -- far more, I'm sure, than the average expectant mother in a different line of work. Older Daughter has more pictures of her child in utero than my wife and I do of our Youngest Son in the first year after he was born. Granted, there's a drop off in the number of photos taken of any child from the oldest to the youngest. By the time Youngest Son, the fifth-born, came along 21 years ago, we'd pretty much stopped taking pictures altogether. If he'd been kidnapped as a child, we'd have needed to use the annual school picture for the milk carton.

Anyway, with Older Daughter's pending child, we already knew she was a girl, and, thanks to the considerable advances in ultrasound technology since our own children were born, we'd already been subjected to debates about whose nose she has, or whose ears.

And Older Daughter got so big, so fast. I remember when Long Suffering Spouse was carrying Older Daughter. My wife still fit in her own jeans in the sixth month (she doesn't remember things quite that way, but I do). We both recall that she got bigger sooner with successive kids -- "well, everything has been stretched out of shape already," she'd lament -- and maybe that's what happened to Older Daughter, too. She never got very far with any of her previous attempts, but maybe her body reacted like this was a sixth or seventh pregnancy and not the first, true, lasting one. Maybe it's an IVF thing. I don't know. I don't really want to know.

It's not just here on the blog that I've been quiet about Older Daughter's baby. In real life I've been rather circumspect, too. Many of our close friends did not know until recently that Older Daughter was on the nest. I didn't mean to cause offense. Put it this way: The time to be happy, I'd say, on those occasions when I was challenged on account of my reticence, is when the baby is safely here. And not before.

Nevertheless, we were obliged to attend a baby shower a month or so ago in Indianapolis -- an event that surely rates its own post, or perhaps a chapter in the book I'm getting more and more determined to write -- but, with that exception, and it was forced upon us, Long Suffering Spouse and I have been verrrrry quiet about this pregnancy.

That doesn't mean that Older Daughter's pregnancy wasn't Topics A, B, C and sometimes D on the agenda at every family discussion. Older Daughter would call my wife two or three times a day, more on weekends, and she'd call her sister just as often. My mother-in-law would check in daily at least to inquire about Older Daughter's status. Granted, she'd want to tell us about the coming rainstorm, too, or the forecast of more snow (she always latches on to the most pessimistic weather forecast) and to talk about the latest topics in the news besides. It had gotten to the point where I couldn't exchange pleasantries with my wife until around 8:00 p.m., whether I came home early or late, because that was the time it would take for the day's phone calls with mother and daughter to wind down.

There was a flurry of speculation within the family that the baby would be born on Easter Sunday (the actual due date was May 3). My wife pooh-poohed such speculation, or she had, until sometime late last week, when her baby sense began to tingle.

I have mentioned, I think, that Long Suffering Spouse has an unerring sense of when a wee beastie has gotten into the house, whether she sees evidence of the creature or not. She just knows. And once she knows you had better be prepared to drop all regular activities for as long as necessary until said wee beastie is dispatched. With extreme prejudice.

In addition to that superpower, my wife also possesses an amazing baby radar. She can size a pregnant woman up and, in a moment, say, "soon," and the baby will come soon. Sometimes she can say "tomorrow," and you could make book on tomorrow. This extrasensory perception apparently relies on more than just sights and sounds. It also relies on pheromones or Higgs bosons or dark matter or something nifty like that, but nothing (of course) that my wife can articulate. But she knows just the same.

With Older Daughter away in Indianapolis, my wife's baby sense was not so sure -- even radar works better with objects closer as opposed to further away -- but she did have a lot of phone time with Older Daughter. That, and the report that Older Daughter made of fresh blood, which her doctor assured her was the "plug" coming loose (no, I don't really know exactly what that means and, no, I don't really want to know), caused, by the weekend, my wife to stop pooh-poohing those who were predicting Easter Sunday. She would not go so far as to commit to a day, however; she only pronounced "soon."

In her condition, Older Daughter could not join us for Easter Dinner. And, besides, as a professional church singer (in addition to his day job as an architect), Hank is extremely busy during the Triduum and on Easter. But Oldest Son came over with his wife, and Middle Son with his fiance, and even Youngest Son came down from South Janesville College for the day. (He was driving his girlfriend's car, but his girlfriend was in Europe, visiting relatives.) Our regular tenants, Olaf and Younger Daughter and the Baby to Be Named Later (and pretty darn soon now, since there's two of them), went to dine with Olaf's parents and aunts and uncles, but they joined our party already in progress. I was fairly bushed by the end of Sunday and my wife had this week off anyway and I had nothing up in court on Monday. I didn't need to think too hard about extending the weekend.

Besides, whether Older Daughter had the kid or not, Long Suffering Spouse and Younger Daughter had committed to journeying to Indianapolis to provide such aid and comfort (and retail therapy) as they could. I counseled that they'd be better off going earlier in the week, as opposed to later, and my wife was coming around to this view. So by staying home Monday I could have one day with my wife during her week off.

Naturally, Long Suffering Spouse spent most of Monday morning on the phone with Older Daughter. Their discussion was focused on what they would do when Long Suffering Spouse got there (what, specifically, still needs to be bought?) and what food they would be bringing and how long they would be staying (Older Daughter wanted them to stay all week; Long Suffering Spouse was thinking Tuesday and Wednesday and being home for dinner Wednesday evening).

But, even in the midst of all these delicate negotiations, my wife was able to perceive that I wasn't really 'working from home,' as I had proposed to do Monday, I was merely playing a computer game. And having much too good a time at it, too. So Long Suffering Spouse decided that I needed to take the van in to get the tires rotated. "It's been a long winter," she told me, needlessly. No one who's been around this winter would need reminding. "And we're going to be driving this van a lot and soon, depending on when she has this kid." I grumbled a bit, but I could not dispute the logic. I saved my game and left.

"Have them check the brakes, too," she called on my way out the door. "I'll come get you if they're keeping the car."

She texted me shortly after I got to the tire place. There was at least one car ahead of me, I told her, and they hadn't yet looked at the van. I told her to stay home until I texted her.

"Well, your daughter is at the doctor's again," my wife texted back.


"More blood."

"More? That doesn't sound good."

"That's why she's at the doctor."

The tire rotation took 20 minutes or so; I apparently don't yet need new brakes.

I raced home to resume the conversation.

"They're giving her another ultrasound," my wife said -- and that brings you right to the beginning of this post.

We waited and we fretted. We fretted and we waited. We voiced our worry to each other.

Younger Daughter expressed surprise. "This is a side of you I didn't see when I was expecting."

Well, of course not, we told her. When you were in this situation, we explained, you didn't need to see us worry, though we did. Privately. But around you we were all happy and reassuring. That's our job.

"And, besides," added Long Suffering Spouse, "you were right here. We had a better sense of what was going on. Your sister is so far away."

Younger Daughter joined in fretting with the both of us.

Eventually the phone rang. Long Suffering Spouse was on it in an nanosecond. There was a pause, and, then, "OK, call us when you're situated." Long Suffering Spouse looked up at Younger Daughter and me hovering anxiously. "They're admitting her."

Apparently they weren't happy with the baby's heart rate. It was too low and, they said, it dropped further when Older Daughter stood up.

"So they're inducing?" I asked.

"No," said Long Suffering Spouse. "They're monitoring. They don't want to induce because she's still a couple of weeks early." Older Daughter was permitted to go home and pack a bag and return. "We'll know more in the morning."

Well, we didn't know much more next morning, you understand. We were told that, according to the monitoring devices, Older Daughter and baby passed the night just fine. These devices also documented that Older Daughter was in labor and the prior reservations about inducing gave way, among her medical providers, to a recommendation that they break her bag and put her on Pitocin. Older Daughter initially refused these enhancements, but her doctors weren't going to send her home regardless. The last tumblers clicked for my wife's baby sense. "Tonight," she said authoritatively, "tomorrow at the latest."


Given the imminent prospect of meeting a new grandchild, I decided to attach myself to this expedition. My wife agreed that they might find things for me to do. But first I had to stop in the office and see what, if anything, was going on.

You know, I have to tell you: I think my kids should have kids more often. It may be only coincidence, not cause, but I had two new files waiting for me Tuesday. I thought I was going to have to turn one of the new matters down -- they wanted me in court Wednesday and I had to explain I was about to leave town. Honestly, the surest way to attract legal business that I have found (and I have found very little business, of course, so take this with a large grain of salt) is to say that one is too busy to handle it.

I had to stay in the office a little longer than I'd planned. My wife called looking for me. "She's gone from 3 to 8," my wife told me. "They're going to break the bag." I have a vague, male understanding of what this jargon means. It means get the lead out, things are moving right along. I got moving as quickly as I could.

NEXT: The stork, and the Curmudgeon family, converge on Indianapolis.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oh my! happy news curmy!

smiles, bee