October 3, 2003.
Ten years ago today.
I was just shy of my 32nd week of pregnancy. I was due December 1.
I felt great!
Just a month before, over Labor Day weekend, we had moved from St. Michael, Minnesota, to Delano, Minnesota, where I had been born and raised. My family was there and Delano had great schools...something we wanted for our children.
Parker was four and started preschool just a few days after we moved in. He was excited about our new home, starting school...and mostly excited about becoming a big brother.
Right after we moved into our new home, I got to work making it feel like home. Parker's room got painted. The bathroom that he...and eventually his new sibling...would be using got painted. Scott and I went shopping for the nursery and brought home two sets of nursery decor...one pink...one blue. The plan was that he (or most likely my mom) would wash and put the appropriate decor in place (crib, curtains, lamp, etc) before baby and I came home from the hospital. Things were going smoothly. We had a little over eight weeks before baby's due date and it seemed like forever away.
On the evening of October 2 we were all hanging out in our bedroom...which was commonplace. Parker was alternating playing on the floor building a Lincoln Log house or snuggling up in bed watching TV. Eventually Parker got tucked into his own bed and a little while later Scott and I turned in for the night.
Or so we thought.
It was at 4:00 AM the morning of October 3 when I woke up needing to use the bathroom...which wasn't uncommon at this stage of my pregnancy. It didn't take long for me to realize, however, that my water broke. As calmly as I could I called for Scott...who was sound asleep and snoring away in our bed. When he woke he said, "Where are you?" My response was a calm, cool and collected, "I'm in the bathroom. Can you please come in here...but don't step on Parker's Lincoln Log house."
As Scott opened the bathroom door the conversation went something like this:
Scott: "What's going on?"
Me: "Well...I think my water just broke."
Scott: "WHAT?" And then very matter-of-factly he said, "Nope. It's too early."
Me: "Yeah...well...early or not...you need to get the phone and call my doctor's office."
After talking to the on-call doctor I was told I needed to come to the hospital. My response was, "First thing in the morning?" The doctor said, "Ahhhh...No! NOW!"
Well okay, then.
Next call was to my parents who lived about two miles away. It was now about 4:30 AM. My dad answered the phone and the conversation went something like this:
Me: "Hi, dad. Sorry to call so early in the morning, but I think my water just broke."
Dad: "WHAT?!?!?! Here...talk to your mother!!!!!"
Then he inadvertently hung up on me.
Eventually mom and I connected and it felt like she arrived at our house to be with Parker before I even hung up the phone. Mom had Parker. He would be in good hands until Scott and I returned home from the hospital.
Once at the hospital we learned that my membranes ruptured and I was leaking amniotic fluid. The plan was to NOT have a baby at this point in the pregnancy and to try to hold off delivery until 34 weeks, at which time it would be the safest time for the baby to arrive and I would be induced.
I was told I'd be on bed rest for the next two-plus weeks.
My comment went something like, "Well...how are we supposed to do THAT?"
That's when the doctor said, "Jeanine...you're in the hospital until you reach 34 weeks. Then we induce."
When I asked why the hospital and not at home the doctor said, "Because you're a stay-at-home mom with a four-year old at home. And...we know you. You won't do well with bed rest at home. We're working on getting you a room right now."
It was clear in the doctor's tone that there was no room for me to question the decision.
Final answer...two-plus weeks of hospital bed rest.
I have this vision of Scott and I being sort of frozen for the next few minutes. We just sort of looked at each other not knowing how we were going to do this. Scott had to go to work...not to mention he had just started back to school for his Master's Degree only weeks before. Who was going to take care of Parker? Not to mention how was he going to get to preschool two days a week and swimming in Maple Grove once a week?
"What?" and "How?" were the two main questions on our mind.
Before I knew it I was in the room I would call home for the next two plus weeks.
I could get up to take a quick shower or to use the bathroom. The rest of the time I was in bed at no more than a 45 degree angle, preferably more laying on one side or the other rather than flat on my back.
My mom became Parker's biggest caretaker when Scott was gone. Scott arranged to work from home as much as possible. He made the decision to drop out of the Master's program. It was divide and conquer with Parker, whether Scott, my mom, my dad, Scott's mom, sometimes my sister-in-law, taking him where he needed to be...but mostly Scott and my mom.
Every mid-afternoon my mom would bring Parker to the hospital. Scott had brought toys for him that we just left in the room. When Scott would arrive my mom would head home and our family time would be spent in my room. Scott would always have something for him and Parker to eat...sometimes me, too, so I wouldn't have to have hospital food...and we would eat dinner together. We'd watch TV, color, draw, read to Parker, play games, or just let Parker play with his toys. Sort of just like the night before this all happened and we were hanging out together in our room.
Before Scott and Parker would head home for the night, Parker would push the button for the nurse and when she responded he would say, "Can we hear my baby hearting now?" The baby's heartbeat needed to be monitored twice a day and we would save one of those times for when Parker was there. The nurse would always come in the room smiling at Parker's request while hooking up the monitor. Parker would crawl into the bed with me and snuggle up close. The baby moved a LOT so he thought getting kicked by his little brother or sister was silly. He would touch my tummy, comment about the "hearting" and giggle when I told him that I could feel the baby having hiccups.
After a while it was time for our little guy to get home to bed so we would get him changed into his jammies and he and I said our "good nights" before he left. I slathered him with kisses upon kisses and told him how much I loved him and that I would see him again the next day. He would pack up his little bags, take daddy's hand or reach for Scott to carry him, and my two boys would head home to bed.
And then I would start to cry because I missed my little boy so very much...and because I loved this little baby who needed mommy to just "be still" for a while so he/she could make an early, but healthy, entrance into this world.
For the next couple of weeks I followed the rules set before me counting the days until October 20 when I would finally get to meet this new little one who was already showing me that he/she was stronger and more determined than one would expect a little baby to be. And even stronger and more determined than I would have ever imagined once he/she did arrived...
...but that's a story for 17 days from days from now...
...and 19 days from now...
So until then...
Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.