Flashback to January 29, 2009. My husband and I head for our car as we leave the bowling alley. We make plans with our friends to meet the next week - same time, same place. As I get behind the driver's wheel I check my phone messages. Only one. It's from our daughter who is 32 weeks pregnant with our first grandchildren. That is correct. Grandchildren. She is expecting twin boys in mid March. I start up the car as I listen to her message.
" Mom, Kyle and I are on our way to the hospital. My water broke. Meet me at the Elliot."
Holy cow ! This was the phone call I had been waiting for. I looked at what time she had called. Twenty minutes had passed. I jammed the car into drive and stepped on the gas.
'Deb, maybe I should drive," my husband quietly suggested.
" Why? Why should you drive?"
"Well, so far you have managed to drive over the curb and you just took a left turn at that red light. There is no left turn on red law as far as I know," he calmly replied.
" I am fine," I not so calmly snarled.
I drove for a few miles and then quietly turned and looked at him. Using my quiet indoor voice I said , " I can't remember how to get there and I need to get there fast." My mind was whirling and I could feel the emotions starting to take control. Somehow we made it to the hospital and I parked in the nearest snowbank. We ran through the hospital doors and made a quick stop at the front desk. We were directed to the third floor birthing center. My daughter had originally hoped to have a homebirth but that wasn't to be. She was still hoping to not need a Cesarean section and had been doing her homework for months. I knew she was prepared. I, in the meantime, was prepared to sit in the waiting room as long as it took for my grandsons to arrive.
I tried to contain my emotions as I approached the nurses' desk. I told the attending nurse my whole life story and she finally interrupted me and asked me my daughter's name. I told her and she looked at me calmly as she said, "She'll be brought into recovery soon." What?
"No, you don't understand. My daughter just arrived here thirty minutes ago. It is her first birth. I truly doubt that she gave birth in thirty minutes."
"The twins have arrived and are on their way to the Newborn ICU floor." What?
None of this was making sense to me. This was not the birthing plan that April and I had gone over and reviewed for months. I looked the nurse right in the eye and said, " Is my daughter okay?" She met my stare and said tight-lipped, " They will be wheeling her to recovery soon."
My knees started to wobble. I felt nauseous. I reached for the arm of a chair to support me. "Where is my daughter? I need to see her now! "
And at that moment my son-in-law turned the corner and was facing me. And he had a huge smile on his face. I knew then that April must be okay. I started to cry.
And she was okay. Despite a few complications, an unexpected C-section and a great loss of blood my little girl was okay. And her babies were okay. She was now a mommy. And I was a grammie. And a new chapter in our lives was about to begin.
I walked into April's room to find her hooked up to many machines, looking so small, so pale. I wanted to climb right into the bed next to her and just hold her close. Instead I got as close as I could and bent down for a kiss.
" Mom, I did it. I had the babies." She beamed from ear to ear. "Have you gone to see them yet?"
"No, not yet. First I had to make sure my baby was okay." I brushed her hair out of her eyes.
"Mom, I lost five gallons of blood." It was then that I realized that April was a bit drugged up. I smiled at her and just nodded in agreement. April has always had a flair for exaggeration.
The rest of that evening was spent running to the fifth floor to see my incredibly cute grandsons and back to the third floor to visit with April . Not sure who designed the hospital but not the best of plans. But it did allow me plenty of time for reflection. I remembered that Halloween almost thirty years ago when April arrived - our little treat. I remembered the thousands of pieces of artwork and poetry that she had created including many love notes to me which I will cherish forever, her dancing while standing on her daddy's feet, carrying a pair of her daddy's dirty socks around and smelling them throughout the day, the scare we had when the doctor thought she might have cystic fibrosis, the dance recitals, the cheerleading tournaments, the proms, the popcorn soup she made for the family, and the night she stood on the stage for a school talent show. Oh, that night...she stood on the stage , age 10, accompanied only by a piano player as she sang 'Would You Like to Wish On a Star' ~ her tiny voice lost in the huge auditorium. My husband and I sat in our seats, willing her to sing louder...the empathy was overpowering. We wanted to just reach out and grab her to our chests and hug her tight. And that is how I felt the night the twins were born - I just wanted to reach out and pull April onto my lap and hug her tight. I wanted to take away the pain from the traumatic birth of her sons, I wanted to shelter her from the stress of motherhood, and prepare her for the emotional roller coaster which lies ahead. And while I can't physically protect her I am always there for her - to talk with, to laugh with, to share with, to help her in anyway possible.
And now we are celebrating the first birthday of the twins. One year has passed. The boys are growing and thriving, happy and healthy. April and Kyle are excellent parents, working together. April writes a blog, Eclectic Effervesence which allows one to see the struggles and joys of raising twins in this day and age. So April, thank you for giving your father and I the gift of grandparenthood and Happy Birth Day ! Celebrate !