Thursday, June 25, 2009

Taking Chances

I have a sister who is 11 months older than me. With a 2 month old infant barely able to lift her own neck, my mother was not delighted to discover she was pregnant again. She had barely turned 20 years old when my sister was born - a honeymoon baby. It was 1965 and when her water broke, my Dad took my Mom to the hospital. Apparently in those days, once you went into the hospital to have a baby, you were trapped. They made her stay in bed. They wouldn't let her eat. She felt like a prisoner until my sister was born. It was her first, so I guess it took a while.

Eleven months later her belly bulged with me. Her water broke and my Dad wanted to take her to the hospital. She said, "No way!" as she remembered the events leading up to my sister's birth. She did not want to go hungry this time and began raiding the refrigerator, stuffing anything she could find in her mouth. Bologna. Hard boiled eggs. Peanut butter. Anything. Her labor began. My Dad begged her to let him take her to the hospital. Again, she refused. She continued to eat. She said she wasn't going till the kid began to crown! He finally called the doctor who asked how far apart my Mom's contractions were. My Dad watched and counted. "Three minutes," he told the doctor, who ordered my Dad to throw my mother in the car and get her to the hospital. Which he did.

Twenty minutes after they arrived, and before my Dad could set himself down in a chair in the fathers' waiting room, amid the other exhausted, frazzled, unshaven men and overflowing ashtrays, the doctor came into the room and announced, "Mr. M, congratulations! You have another daughter!" The other to-be fathers who had been waiting for hours shot my Dad a dirty though he hadn't yet served his time in that hellish room.

I tell you this story because in some ways, my DH and I are now like my Mom. We're waiting. Until the last minute.

During my last cycle, two weeks before the anticipated (and ultimately cancelled) transfer date, I was making lists of things we would need to take on the trip. Our Clinic is 500 miles from our home and we will be gone a total of 5 days, including the mandatory 3 day bed rest following the transfer. So I was checking out hotels. I booked a stay at the pet hotel for our dogs. I was buying crossword puzzle books and finding my camera battery charger. I told a few friends we'd be out of town. I was about to pull the suitcase from storage and start packing when the cycle was cancelled.

This time, until we know for sure, we haven't done a thing. We're chancing it. Like my Mom standing at the fridge with her finger plunged into the peanut butter jar, we're holding tight until we get word that the transfer is a go. No reservations have been made. For us or the dogs. I don't know where my list is from last time, so I don't know what I'll want or need to bring. If it's a go, it will all have to come together quickly.

Last time my husband told his boss he wanted to take some vacation days. Then he had to say, "Oh, never mind." This time he hasn't said anything because he just finished a couple of big projects and figured that his work load has diminished so much, it won't be a problem. Today he received a flurry of emails from several of the managers saying they wanted him in San Luis Obispo next week to oversee some field work. Uh, next week is when the transfer will be - if it is to be at all.

I didn't panic. My heart rate didn't rise. I stayed perfectly calm. He'll figure this one out. He has to. And he did. One quick phone call to mention "a medical appointment" and he's off the hook with a resounding, "Don't worry about it" from the boss.

So maybe there is no need to panic and plan and worry and schedule and create lists and such after all. Things play out as they arise. Cross each bridge as it presents itself. Stay calm and let time tell. It worked for my Dad. He was in and out of that stale, smoky waiting room in no time. With a new daughter to boot!

Maybe if we follow in these footsteps, we'll be so lucky.

If you're wondering about my Mom and all that food she ate, well, she wasn't hungry at the hospital and she didn't feel trapped there for very long. However, because she had eaten so much, the nurses "tsk-tsk'd" her and gave her an enema for her trouble. I think I'd rather be hungry. I guess you can't win 'em all.


Anonymous said...

1) My SIL had a baby two days ago. She was trapped and couldn't eat either. 24 hours into labor, no wonder she was exhausted. Oh don't get me started...........

2) This is your intro to parenting, my friend. You can't plan anything, and you only stress yourself out when you do. Go with the flow and don't hold fast to plans and you'll be fine. :)

IVF 40+ said...

good lord, what a scary way to give birth!
Sounds like we are very similar. After all this TTC drama - as little impact as possible is my motto.

Good luck. Make sure your best rest is in a nice hotel - you deserve it.

Sandra D. said...

It sounds like, for you, this time is very different - that you're in a very different (and very good) place. I think you have a fantastic perspective on the process, and this could have a major impact on so many things.

We can't control much, but like your mom stuffing that peanut butter into her mouth, you can control how you want to deal with a situation. And it's clear that you have decided how you want to handle this. Congrats!

I really hope everything works out as wonderfully as your mom's 20-minute labour (without the enema of course :-))

cindyhoo2 said...

I love your new approach. I agree that there is so little we can control at this point. I am also quite certain that with your skillset (nurse + lawyer), you will be able to make some rapid plans after your appt tomorrow shows a great lining.

BTW, I loved the story of your birth.

Inlocoparentis said...

Honestly, I think it is so much better and less stressful that you are not getting all worked up about these details. Ultimately, we have no control over the process, but you are a better person than I - I'm always freaked out about the little things.

stillhopeful said...

Good for you! I love your new attitude. Everyone always tells us to try to relax, but you can only get there when you get there. You can't "try" to relax, it just happens. It's a good place to be!

Love the birth story, what a hoot! Oh, the confidence that comes when doing things the second time around, huh!