Thousand Acre Heart-Part Ten

Gracie Anne

Thursday was the beginning of a very emotional, edge of my seat couple of days. Kristy was induced on Thursday and the progression from labor to birth was pretty slow. If it was excruciating for me I imagine poor Kristy was ready to burst…excuse the pun.

She was so tough. Jeffrey was there for the duration and was great about keeping in touch. It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. When things started to progress it was difficult being miles away. Beautiful Princess Gracie Anne was born at 12:14 am, Saturday April 6 weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and she was nothing short of PERFECT. I most definitely have a bias but I am not speaking with a bias, this baby girl is AMAZING!! I told Jeffrey to prepare for the moment she was born, I told him that it was difficult to put into words but that it would change him immediately. He said I was right, it was indescribable. He is madly in love with his little girl, holding her he finally knows what it feels like to hold his whole world in his hands. He wanted me to share in that. I wanted it to but I felt that it was best to allow his family that time by themselves. I know in my heart that it was the best thing for everyone. A girl who waited for nineteen years to meet her son can certainly wait. My heart ached though. More than I ever thought it would. I accepted all the milestones that I missed over the years but this one that was so special to him seemed almost unforgivable. So I decided that two weeks was the best I could do and I started searching flights. The girls are in a crucial time in their school year and Kirk is in the middle of a project up North so it was impossible for them to get away right now. With Kirk being away it makes it difficult to travel. I booked a short trip. I land in Nova Scotia, a place I still refer to as “Home” on April 24. A place I have not visited in four years. The moment I booked my flight home I was an emotional wreck. One way or the other it is justified, I get to see Jeffrey and meet his beautiful daughter (my granddaughter) Gracie. It almost feels like more than that. I have been in Edmonton for almost five years and I am a different person then when I left. I feel I am a better, more confident person and I feel like I left behind some bad memories in my little hometown and being there in my little hometown I may be forced to deal with all of my demons.

How funny and ironic that I am listening to the radio and Trooper is playing. In a roundabout way a Trooper concert is responsible for me meeting Kirk. I guess I should listen to Trooper “We are here for a good time, not a long time…”

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go home but there are things there that I may need to face that could be difficult.

Three times in the last couple of days people have referred to me as “confident” I take that as a HUGE compliment but I also want people to know that I have the same fears as all of you. Sometimes I take a whole day to cry and reflect. I am now and have always been very led by my emotions. I draw confidence and strength from my family and experiences. I learn from experiences, I embrace change, I stick my foot in my mouth, I bite off more then I can chew. I fear not being good enough, I fear being too good. Since I met Jeffrey I have experienced a peace within myself that I never thought possible. I love me!! I would love to be thinner, richer, more cultured, wiser….who wouldn’t?? The things I would really like to change about me are more subtle but generally I am finally pretty happy with who I am. When I said I was led by emotions I wasn’t embellishing in the least, I am a person who FEELS everything. The most important thing is that I recognize learning experiences. With every tear, every goodbye, every hardship, every triumph I have learned. I like me, I am not afraid to be me. I share my wisdom and experiences with my children and I am not afraid to tell them how bad the world can be and I also am not afraid to let them know how wonderful it can me. I know one day they will spread their wings and fly away from me. They want to experience the world and I know that when the time comes they will grasp every opportunity because I told them they could. My family is where I draw my strength.

If it were up to Kirk we would have had several babies but I struggled with that. I loved Morgan more than anything in the world. She was my miniature bestie. I just didn’t want to take any time away from her being a baby. Since Haley wasn’t born till Morgan was four I am pretty sure you are all smart enough to question that! I was terrified. I really really wanted to have a boy. The million dollar family. We also all know that though you can replace things, you can’t replace people and there was a little boy with wondrous eyes taking up a huge amount of real estate in my heart.

I had had some cervical issues and the one thing that made me decide to have a baby is the thought that the choice might be taken away from me. All of the sudden what had been a priority for Kirk for years became urgent for me. Our friend worked at the doctors office and I remember how sad she was to tell me I wasn’t pregnant when I was certain that I was. It happened in good time though.

From the moment I had conceived Haley I knew there was a problem. I felt like I was holding a bowling ball between my legs. My doctor kept disregarding my fears but I knew something was wrong. I had had no “real” labors with Jeffrey and Morgan so it really should have come as no surprise when I found out that I had an incompetent cervix. When women know that we have a problem, we push, even when our doctors tell us we are fine and that as mine said “maybe you are no spring chicken anymore” (seriously) we know our bodies enough to know when their is an issue. I finally convinced my doctor to send me to an Obstetrician who noted that at 16 weeks my cervix was softening. She sent me immediately to the city hospital where they noted that my cervix was softening and they would see me again in a month. In a months time my cervix that had measured 12 cm had funneled open and now measured .5cm. That feeling of me holding a bowling ball between my legs was me holding Haley in by sheer will power. I need to mention that we did not know at this point that Haley was a girl. If we had a boy, he was going to be Lorenzo Douglas DeBay, paying homage to Kirk’s grandfather and my uncle who had died when he was quite young. He would be Loren for short. Haley came by her name in a truly unique fashion. Before I was even pregnant with Haley, Kirk had taken Morgan to a truck show and I was to meet them later (Big Stop, Truro Heights). When I got there I went to the store first to get lotto tickets and gum. The girl that waited on me had dark hair and big brown eyes, she was very pretty and friendly. Her name tag said Haley and I loved the name immediately. I found Kirk in the crowd with Baby Morgan on his shoulders and when I approached them he said “hey before I forget if we have another baby and it’s a girl, let’s name her Haley” Too funny, we named our daughter after the pretty girl at The Big Stop. Haley Jade Catherine. Catherine is after my Mom, strongest woman I have ever known!

When I went to that second visit at the Grace Hospital in Halifax the doctors were concerned. I was 24 weeks pregnant, my cervix had opened up and I was starting to dilate. They took Morgan to play while they told me the news. I had prepared myself somewhat. I thought they were going to tell me that I needed to take it easy and worst case scenario they would put me on bed rest at home. I was devastated when they told me that I would be in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy and that it was essential that I was on complete bed rest. They told me that they thought I was in danger of delivering at any time and my baby had a 50% chance of survival. I was so scared and sad. I was determined to do everything I was told to do to ensure I delivered a healthy full term baby but the price I paid for that was high. Four months in the hospital away from Morgan (who was four) and Kirk changed me. I was fighting for Haley in the only way I knew how and in turn I shut Kirk out in a major way. At the beginning we butted heads because they wanted us to visit the Neo-Natal unit. They were quite certain that Haley would spend some of her young life in there and they wanted to prepare us for what to expect. Kirk refused! In his heart he refused to believe that Haley would spend a second in there. He had every faith that I would grow here big and strong and she would never glimpse the walls of the Neo Natal. Everyday they asked for us to come visit the Neo Natal, everyday we fought and Kirk refused. Every morning they updated me on her survival rate. When I got to the hospital I was 24 weeks and her survival rate was 50%. My goal was to make it to 27 weeks and her survival rate would jump to 60%. I had a private room and I could go to the washroom and I could bathe but not shower. I will never forget the time Kirk told the doctor I was spending too much time in the washroom and he and the doctor discussed me getting a catheter so that I wouldn’t have to get up to use the washroom. I am typing this through tears at the memory. I had been in the hospital for over a month now and Kirk and Morgan spent a lot of time with me there. Kirk had taken sick leave from work and they were at the hospital lots. The hospital was over an hour away from our home.They spent every weekend, all weekend with me. I never left my room. To go to the bathroom was the only place I ever got to go to be by myself. There was me, Morgan who was four and Kirk jammed in a tiny room that I never saw the outside of. I can remember he and the doctor discussing putting a catheter in like it was the most normal thing in the world. Sometimes I just went to the bathroom to sit there by myself. To sit, oh yeah I wasn’t allowed to sit. Sometimes I bathed two-three times a day! I wasn’t allowed to shower!It is quite possible that I threatened Kirk and the stupid Doctor with bodily harm. Lets just say I didn’t get a catheter.

We certainly had some sweet and funny times while I was in the hospital. One time Kirk let my parents keep Morgan and he brought me a scallop dinner he made at home. They were a little rubbery when he heated them up in the Hospital Microwave but the thought was there. He set them up on the little slide in table with a candle he had brought from home. He way trying.

I was going crazy about the Dairy Queen commercial for the Brownie Batter Blizzard. One night Kirk disappeared and returned about 45 minutes later with one for me. He had run blocks there and blocks back with no coat. It didn’t taste as good as I imagined but the gesture was incredibly sweet!

Every single morning I had to count Haley’s kicks for the first two hours. If the kicks were less then they were the day before a team of doctors would come look at me. There were three female doctors that I adored and they adored me. They even threw a party for me one day and brought me gifts. I got very attached to them so when the rotation changed and I had some clueless Strangers in my room, that was very frustrating.

In February Kirk was coming down to watch the Daytona 500 with me. He had gotten me a Dale Earnhardt Junior book, mug and a calendar to mark down the days. I had begged my doctors for permission and they finally agreed that missing the Daytona would do me NO good! It was agreed and written on my chart that Kirk was allowed to take me to the Family Room on a stretcher to watch. I was so excited all week. When the time came the nurse refused it. She was a short little red-headed nurse who looked like the grown up version of a cabbage patch kid. My favorite Doc Kristen had left a note on my chart not only giving me permission but also giving the nurses permission to call her for clarification. She refused. At one point she agreed to allow me to watch a couple of laps. It was my choice whether I chose the beginning or the end. She said and I quote ” Don’t they just drive around in circles for a while?” If anyone reading this is a Nascar fan you are certainly feeling my pain right now. Luckily my lovely cleaning lady who I gave treats to like Wurthers originals and other such things that people brought for me showed us how to hook up “illegal” cable on my hospital TV. C’mon…we were desperate!! My driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that race, his first Daytona win, three years after his fathers fatal crash at that very track in 2001. It was a great moment to share with Kirk, one of the few we would share in the months to come.

Later that evening the Red Headed Cabbage Page Nurse came to my room. Morgan was asleep by my side and Kirk was settled on his cot. The shifty nurse kept saying things like “That baby looks uncomfortable, you need to move that baby” Morgan was snuggled into me, some might describe her as “snug as a bug in a rug”! Nurse “care-a-lot” was in and out of my room with a degree of frequency that annoyed me. She was already on my bad side and after spending a month in this room it felt like my home, it was; and her intrusive nature was exhausting. After several fretting visits she said “You need to move that baby, she is not safe!” I looked down at sweet four-year old Morgan curled up beside me. My baby without question but she was not a baby by most people’s standards. Then I realized that on the other side of me was Morgan’s doll. I picked it up by it’s ankles and held it up in the air “do you mean this baby?” Reds eyes registered horror and then understanding and she shuffled from the room in embarrassment. On Monday when all my fave Docs stopped by to congratulate me on the win I felt slightly elated. I told Doc Kristen about Nurse No Fun and she was banned from my room forever. I had three more months to go to carry to full term so it only made sense to banish stress from my perimeter. There was a favorite nurse I had that would visit me at night when I was feeling down, she would bring me hot chocolate and Cheez whiz toast even when I insisted I was fine! I loved her and she became my new constant.

To be continued…

2 thoughts on “Thousand Acre Heart-Part Ten

  1. michell you such writing talent i am so touched by all this i feel so bad ;; i didnt know about all this i guess we just get wrapped up in our own family and of course in all famlies there are always so much going on , you were such a brave girl to endure so much it was so nice to have a husband who helped and tryed to make things a bit better for you and thank goodness there are a few really good nurses in hospitals ,but there are also some who should not be nurses and congrats ;; on the new baby grandchild she is so adorible and i beleive you can see the watson look and the ones i rember as babies were all adorable ” i missed;; have ..] in the begining ; ] i look forward to more and hope you have a good visit home ;your mom and gorden will be counting the days ; take care michelle love aunt marion huggs

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