I remember when I thought I might be pregnant. I worked in the OB-Gyn Clinic at a large hospital and one of my nurse friends said she would do the pregnancy test. I was on the phone in my office when she peeped in the door. I looked up to see her smile and nod yes. The phone conversation was lost for me. I have no idea what the person on the other end was saying. When my husband came by later I was flustered and confused.
“I’m pregnant!” I blurted, “and I don’t want to talk about it.” To say he looked confused was an understatement. Let me explain. My husband was in his second year of medical school. I was working to help provide some of our living since we were dependent on loans. We were living in a drafty farmhouse out in the middle of the country because it was too expensive to live in town. We obviously had not been as careful as we had been in the past, but this pregnancy was not what you would call “planned.”
It took over a week before I felt like talking about it. Finally we discussed what was ahead. I had been accepted to the Master’s program in Library Science with a scholarship to become a children’s librarian. Working at the hospital, I had great insurance coverage, as a grad student I did not. I called the Library Science department and told them our situation. They listened carefully and suggested that they could postpone my entry for a year and would retain my scholarship. Seemed like the problem was solved.
I remember reclining on our little sofa in our drafty den while my husband climbed on the roof to clean the chimney. We heated with wood and needed to make preparations for the coming cold weather. It was then I felt the first tiny movement. I thought I was imagining it, but there it was again. I hurried outside and yelled to my husband on the roof. “I just felt the baby move!”
“Great.” he smiled back at me and continued his sooty work.
I remember the visits to my obstetrician. He enrolled me in an ultrasound study. I was working in a university hospital and they studied everything. Every month they looked at that baby, never telling us the gender. Finally it was the end of March. The baby was due around Valentines’s day. The doctor was quiet during the ultrasound exam.
“I think the baby has stopped growing.” he said ominously. ” I think we should consider inducing labor soon.”
We did not know what to think. We could not “Google” any information 29 years ago. We went home waiting for the call to tell me when I was to come to the hospital. February 3rd was the date.
I didn’t sleep much the night before. I packed my things and the outfit I planned to bring our baby home in. The girls in the clinic had planned a shower for me that day so after I was admitted I was wheeled down to waiting room of the OB-Gyn clinic and we had our party. That evening they inserted laminaria to dilate my cervix, and we went back to the room to wait. Later that evening I began to have contractions. Giddy with excitement my husband who had not planned to spend the night went home to pack a few things and return.
By early morning labor was in full force. My OB who had planned to stop by later in the day and begin the induction was called. I was in the middle of a contraction when he came in the room.
“You are in labor!” my doctor exclaimed. I had no voice with which to tell him what an idiot I thought he was.
Finally it was time to push.
“Get in position” my doctor told me.
I looked dumbfounded. “we missed that part of the childbirth lessons last night.” my husband informed him. My doctor laughed and said, “no problem, I can teach you pretty quickly.”
I was in a birthing room, but they transferred me to a gurney while my husband went to be gowned and readied for the delivery room. I was too busy to ask why we could not stay in the birthing room.
I am not sure how long I pushed, but before too long our baby was born. “It’s a boy.” our doctor announced, “and he looks just like his dad, but he may grow out of it!”
A masked face leaned down to kiss me. It took me a moment to realize it was my husband.
Unknown to me outside the delivery room a group of pediatric intensive care doctors and nurses took off their masks and went back to the intensive care unit. Our baby had not stopped growing. He was just long and thin and perfect. The nurse pronounced him “bright eyes.”
Our real adventure had begun.
On my facebook page there is a picture of my son and me sitting together. We have on our glasses and the light is reflected there. Someone commented , “bright eyes.” Yes he was and ever more shall be.
When the time came for me to go to grad school I had a bittersweet call to make. I could not put this precious baby in day care and leave him to go off to school. The school understood. I became my son’s own personal children’s librarian and I never regretted one day of it. I like to think I paved part of the early route for him to go on to receive his degrees. His PhD sadly awarded posthumously.
I remember those days well. It was the beginning of a love story that would grow to include a baby girl a few years later.
Wonderful days, those. Days I embrace and remember. First things.