We arrived back in Denver last Tuesday. On Wednesday, I had lunch with my daughter-in-law who was almost eight-and-a-half months pregnant. Her due date was May 20. For almost nine months she has told me she wasn’t going to make it to May 20. Secretly I thought to myself, you never know what God has planned.
The plan was for me to watch the girls when she went into the hospital. I had a conversation with her about having a back-up plan. Late last year, my nephew and his wife barely made it to the hospital as she gave birth to Baby Number 4 – still in her clothes and with nary a doctor in sight. Their designated caregiver was her mom, but there was no way she would have gotten to them in time, so a neighbor came to the rescue. I cautioned my daughter-in-law to be duly prepared.
“No need,” she said. “I always have my babies early and I have long labors. We won’t need a back-up.”
I guess I should have trusted her intuition and experience.
Sunday morning, about 1:30, I awoke to my telephone ringing. I was so sound asleep that it was one of those situations where the phone call became part of my dream. Bill is out of town visiting his mother, so he wasn’t there to alert me to the ringing telephone (in the unlikely chance he would have heard it).
Finally, I drug myself out of bed to answer the telephone. It was my daughter-in-law’s mother – The Other Nana. Whaaaaat?
“Did you get my text?” she asked.
Get her text? I’m pretty sure I would have had trouble hearing a helicopter landing on my roof had she chosen to alert me that way. A little “ting” indicating a text message? Wasn’t going to happen.
“No,” I said.
“They’re at the hospital,” The Other Nana (who wasn’t supposed to be babysitting; I was) said. “Her water broke.”
That’ll do it.
“Are you with the girls?” I asked. Or had Court also sent me a text telling me to come watch the girls, also assuming I could hear little “tings” in the night. (As it turns out, he had sent me a text telling me what was going on. These people must be very light sleepers.)
The Other Nana told me they had spent Saturday with my son and his wife, and at the last minute, decided to spend the night since they live 45 minutes to an hour away. So they were there when the waters gushed and my son whisked my daughter-in-law off to the hospital.
I return to my bed, still dazed and half in a stupor. I laid there for a long time, trying to decide if I should go to the hospital. According to Court’s text, the C-Section was scheduled for 2:30. It was about 2.
It would be dumb to go to the hospital, I told myself. Only drunks and perverts are out at 2 o’clock on Sunday morning. Your car has been giving you trouble. They will already be in surgery by time you arrive. Go back to sleep and get up really early to go see the baby. You aren’t even sure how to get to the hospital.
By this time, I had brushed my teeth and thrown on clothes. While there were a million reasons why I shouldn’t go out at 2 o’clock on a Sunday morning, the one reason I should is that I had been there for almost all of my grandchildren’s births – and the only reason I missed any of their births was that I was far, far away at the time. I wasn’t far, far away.
Two o’clock on Sunday morning is a very weird and oddly peaceful time to be out driving, by the way. There really aren’t many people on the road, and as long as you realize almost everyone but you is drunk and drive accordingly, you are probably safe.
I made it to the hospital and found my son, who seemed relieved to see me but instructed me to turn around and go back home. Surgery had been pushed back and by time they had the surgery and did all of the post-partum stuff, he said it would be a more reasonable hour like 6 a.m. At 6 a.m., in addition to a few dedicated drunks, you have newspaper deliverers and people going to a really early Mass. A more civilized population.
So I did.
When next I saw the interior of the hospital, I was able to meet Cole Jonathan Zierk, who is entirely perfect. I arrived just after his sisters, and was able to watch them meet their baby brother for the first time.
Eventually I took the girls home with me so that their parents could catch up on a bit of sleep. We arrived back at the hospital late in the afternoon, and the girls were going to spend the night at the hospital. That’s when I’m glad I’m the nana.
The Other Nana.