Another trip down memory lane

Phone calls from France... Mails from faraway lands... and all of sudden, new babies jump into our life.

Even though a baby usually takes nine months to get ready to pop out from a rose or a cabbage, time goes so fast nowadays that every new birth seems to take us by surprise. Wonderful surprise. Matchless happiness.

And after several months filled with much awaited births and several others coming up, I can’t help taking a trip down to memory lane.

Back to 2003.

After being diagnosed with cancer, I had a lot of tests done before my last appointment with the surgeon. Besides being a renowned specialist in breast cancer, he’s also a gynecologist-obstetrician (which is an amazing, very interesting and perfect mix of life and death).

We were in his office. Some X-rays were behind him and there was a pile of X-rays, scans, etc. on his desk, all mine. We were scared.

He looked at us and said very seriously: «I’m very surprised you didn’t tell us that your son was adopted.»

We started laughing. (Good for us in such a desperate plight!)

 Swee'Pea and me at 6. Doesn't need any explanation, does it?

And that's how we learnt that conception had been close to a miracle.
My Fallopian tubes were totally wasted and their carbon dating would have gone back to prehistoric times!

Flashback again - 1979.

It only takes me a couple of days to feel and understand that I am pregnant (two days pregnant, that is!)... It’s kind of strange but our family doctor believes me and the test is ok: I am pregnant.

It comes as a shock at first. Elation and worries, worries and pure joy. Our life is quite complicated at the time.

I’m expecting our first child (at least we thought so at the time). I should say that we are expecting our baby. (I have a wonderful husband who takes very much to heart the fact he is to become a father.)

I was a translator then, lucky enough to be working at home. It does help during morning sickness times.

I buy tons of wool and start knitting clothes for the baby and blankets and boots and you name it (after all, we’re having a December baby in the Paris area).

I buy fabric and make sheets and pillowcases by the dozen! And I keep on translating on my old typewriter! (Funny noises for the baby.)

We spend our week-ends cycling or walking in the forest so that I’ll keep healthy and strong (and don’t get fat!).

We also talk endlessly about how we’ll raise our baby. We love «it» so much that we want «it» to be happy, real happy.  We do want to be very good parents.

We also talk to our baby in French and English and Spanish. We listen to music with him. We even read stories to him. (Don’t laugh!)

Natural birth was the only way to have a baby, thirty years ago... They’d call it «painless birth» but there were classes to go to. So we enroll in classes. We learn how to breathe... how to react... how to act... We take it very seriously! And we practise at home!

Things get nice and easy. We are very happy. We don’t even have to worry about getting to the hospital on time. The clinic is a mere 100 meters away from our building... Well, there are 15 stories to get down from but the elevators are ok...

So I’m almost six months pregnant, feeling so good and happy!

One morning like every other morning, I drive my husband to the train station.  (He drives. I’ll drive back home and get to keep the car!)
It’s been raining and a car starts skidding behind us quite fast.

Guess what?

Well, we are not badly hurt. Achy all over tho. But as soon as we are on our way back home, I start feeling very bad contractions. We don’t even go back to the apartment. We stop at the clinic.

I’m only six months pregnant and my obstetrician is really worried. So are we. Those were times when a 6 months premature baby didn’t have many chances to survive without any after-effects.

But since I live so close to the clinic, he thinks it’s much better for me to go back to the apartment and lie down there in familiar surroundings until delivery time. Orders are orders tho: I have to stay in bed all the time... exactly as if I were an in-patient in the clinic.

So a new «life» starts for the 5 of us (I forgot to mention that we have two cats). Every morning, before going to work, my husband gets food, water and medicine ready by our bed and leaves enough catfood for one day for the cats in the kitchen... The texts to be translated are on the bed along with books to keep me busy during one long and lonely day.

I keep telling the baby that everything will be allright. But am I really telling the baby? Or just trying to find a way to fight against despair?

The cats love me lying in bed all the time. They get quite worried tho when they get kicked whenever they try to settle down on my stomach. But they learn and keep close to me and not all over me!

Anyway it’s a good sign that the baby is kicking so hard! We keep on having long talks with him.

I stay in bed. No bad contractions. Everything is fine even though I’d like to have a «normal» life! It does help when the weather is really bad and I listen to the rain lashing against the windows.

I’ve been down to the clinic a couple of times... Help, help! False alarm! Back to the apartment and the cats!

Until November 11th, around 5 p.m. I’m not alone at home because it’s Victory Day.

I feel suddenly really weird. A few very strong contractions. I get up and the waters break down all over the carpet!

Oh no. I’m not even in my ninth month yet!

Down to the clinic. They tell me not to worry, that the baby will be fine. One month ahead isn’t this bad. Back to the apartment. We have to wait...

So we wait. I have a translation to finish anyway! When the contractions are too bad, my "better half" types what I dictate... Then down to the clinic. Back to the apartment. Down to the clinic. Back to the apartment. Everytime I get down there, I hope I won’t have the baby in the elevator...

It's a long sleepless night. But we manage to get the translation finished, ready to be sent in the morning... Now let’s think seriously about labor!

The last time we go down to the clinic (it’s 6 a.m.), we take the baby’s bag and I put on my delivery socks... You see, I’ve been told that the delivery rooms are awfully cold. I hate to have cold feet (!) so my husband bought me those funny socks with toes, my delivery socks.

It’s been one of those nights at the clinic. There are pregnant women in labour, everywhere, on trolleys in the hall because the delivery rooms are full! Very pregnant women screaming, yelling, crying. Nervous nurses. Overworked doctors.

Where are we? Why don't we go back to our apartment?

We look at each other. A grin on our face. His hand in mine. Ouch, a contraction. Breathe, breathe... Well since our baby has decided to come today (now, it’s already the 12th of November), let’s get him safely and happily into our real world.

I start wriggling my toes! It’s delivery time!

"It" turned out to be a very beautiful baby boy, healthy and everything...

Years later, people would ask us why he was an only child (with lots of friends, tho), I’d say: «My first born is so perfect I was afraid to bungle the second one.»
His father would answer: «I was very busy. After a while, I probably lost the instruction leaflet.»
Which shows by the way that men are from Mars and women from Venus!

Little did we know...



Myrna said...

What a story, Marie my dear sister! I am so glad you got to be a mom, and so glad you have J.C. and a great husband. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Nancy said...

Wow! What a story! You must have been so worried! I'm glad everything turned out alright--you did a good job raising JC!