Late Labor

The nursery had been set-up and the room was ready for their baby son to move in. She kept thinking to herself that Baby would be early, but the weeks rolled on and on. Another woman at work who was pregnant and due May 17th, had her son three weeks early. A week before she would have baby.

It was May 3rd, 2015 when she awoke at 5am. The cats were making noises waking them both up, when suddenly she felt a gush of water rush onto her body pillow. “Babe? I think my water just broke!” She exclaimed. At 41 weeks and a day away from being induced, this was an excited moment. They were finally going to meet their son. Getting out of bed, she took time to bathe and eat (since she knew she wouldn’t be allowed to eat once admitted), before calling the hospital. The nurse sounded as though she didn’t believe her.

“Are you sure you didn’t just pee yourself?” The nurse questioned

“I am 100% sure.” She replied, frustrated.

“What’d they say babe?” He asked from the bedroom, still laying in bed.

“They want me to walk around and see if more water comes out. I mean it wasn’t a lot at all.”

“Well, I am going to try and sleep some more. It may be my last chance. Want to join me?” He asked, but she was trembling with excitement and couldn’t fall back to sleep. He was in the middle of finals for his last semester of college and had one final paper to complete before getting his degree. She had been off work the last week in preparation for baby, and had worked a bit on it for him by collecting information to back up his thesis. In her free time, she had packed her bag and his bag, cleaned the apartment several times, and even made “Thank you” gifts for nursing staff and visitors. They were tiny Chinese take-out boxes in baby blue filled with a Baby Ruth and a tiny notebook she created from cereal boxes and paper.

All of that busy work had led her to the moment her water broke. A few hours later at around 10am, the hospital called asking why she hadn’t come in yet. “I didn’t know I was supposed to, I don’t even feel contractions yet.” She explained to the nurse, the sound of his snoring carrying like a tune in the background. After getting off the phone, she waddled into the bedroom and touched his back. “Baby, it’s time to go.” He smiled and quickly got up and dressed. She had tried to eat as much as possible, while FaceTiming her mom to keep her posted. As he and she grabbed their bags to leave, she still felt the sharp pang of hunger and knew it would be a long day.

Upon arrival at the hospital, they brought he and she into a room to do a swab check. This was to make sure she really didn’t just pee herself after all. “Babe, are you sure you didn’t just pee yourself?” He said jokingly as they waited a half hour for the results. Her mom was champing at the bit to hop in her car to make the 3 1/2 hour drive from her home town.

“I am going to be so pissed if I did!” She answered back, smiling.

“Ha pisssssssed!” They both burst out laughing as the nurse walked in to confirm that labor was upon them.

They brought them to a large room where they admitted her and attached a million different things to her, which at 41 weeks was a pain to cart to the bathroom. He and she were binge watch Criminal Minds as she breathed through mild contractions. When the doctor came to check her, more water broke and it was awful. She was dilated at 1cm, which in labor terms means nowhere, as the doctor attached internal monitors that were painful to insert. Her mother was traveling at the speed of light to get to her mistaking a text she said saying the doctor would be back to check her again at 5pm for saying she was 5cm. Her mom arrived at 3pm, only two and a half hours after she’d left. “I went like 100mph all the way here.” He and she shook their heads smiling. She was happy to have her mom there as well.

The contractions grew stronger, but she was still able to breathe through them. “The anesthesiologist will take 40 minutes to get here once we call him.” The nurse explained.

“Let’s call him now then.” She said, already getting sick of having to pee so often and the increasing pain of contractions. Ice chips were her best friend, although she was starving and extremely thirsty. He would run down the hall to get her ice chips every hour or so. Once the epidural was in place, the rest of the labor process was a breeze. At 5pm, she had’t progressed much at all. She was able to get some rest while he stayed awake writing his paper. Her mom slept in the chair next to her, with the flickering of HGTV on the TV.

Finally around 3am, she had significantly progressed and was almost ready to push. Once her doctor came in to check on her an hour later, it was time. He and she shared smiles as he took her hand. Her legs were numb, so he and a nurse held them up. She was told to reach through the insides of her legs and do what they called “chicken arms” when she pushed. “Babe, I can see his head! He has hair!” He said excitedly, cheering her on as her mom, the nurses and doctor were. An hour of pushing later and there he was at 5:19am on May 4th, 2015. She was able to hold him momentarily before they whisked him away across the room. He followed the nurses and baby as the doctor tended to her. Her mom stayed next to her during the process, though the nurses seemed concerned.

At this point, they had already taken out the epidural, but what she didn’t know was that they push down hard on the stomach after birth to get everything out and start the uterus contracting. Her pitocin drop was supposed to help with that, but hadn’t enough since she was losing a lot of blood and clotting. The nurse pushed down on her stomach with all of her weight, leaving fingernail marks in her belly button every 15 minutes. The pain was excruciating as she screamed across the room. Her mother began to tear up, holding her hand while he sat across the room holding baby. She had only gotten to hold baby for a few minutes to try and breastfeed before they realized a problem and took him away again.

He passed baby over to her mom as he came to her side for comfort. The pain of everything was getting overwhelming, as he took her hand. Every 15 minutes when a nurse would enter the room, she would begin to tear up in anticipation, and eventually she just gave in to full on crying altogether.

Finally, she was able to move to the recovery room 5 hours later and attempt to feed baby. She had to supplement a bit, since his blood sugar was low from not eating right after birth, but she caught onto breastfeeding quickly.

He and she cuddled together on the hospital bed, amazed by all they had been through in the past two days and the past 9 months. Her mom stayed with them for a week as they took on parenting one day at a time, more in love than ever.

IMG_2766

Setting Up The Nursery

April 28th was growing closer, though the spare bedroom in their apartment was nowhere near ready for baby. His art stuff cluttered the floors and the walls. They had stored basically everything in the closet, until one weekend she’d had enough. Her mother and her mother-in-law had been giving them items from their baby list as well as clothes and diapers. At this point, the room had a full corner space dedicated to all the baby stuff they’d acquired over the course of 7 months. They knew it was time to begin the long journey through the mountain of things they set aside and make way for the baby.

She began going through the bags of stuff given to them and taking inventory on the items and their sizes. After, she cleared out the closet of junk, throwing it all into the living room. He sat at the kitchenIMG_2767 counter working on his art homework as the nesting phase began. Her back in agony, she still pushed on, cleaning and hanging up clothes. They had ordered an 8-cube organizer to set his plants on, which looked great in the room and would match the crib they had chosen perfectly.

IMG_2766She was able to organize the closet, only then truly realizing just how much stuff they already had for baby. The shower wouldn’t be for another month! This wasn’t enough for him. It still wasn’t real, though he had felt the kicks and seen her belly grow, the connection that there would soon be a baby to follow hadn’t quite set in.

That was until they began setting up the crib in the nursery (there was still a little bit of clutter in there, and the carpet needed a good steam cleaning). They opened the box together, reading closely the given directions that turned out to be far more difficult than they should have been. At first, it was fun and silly. Parts were easily misplaced or looked over, though they laughed it off and cracked jokes. Two hours in, frustration took hold. The tiny details were failing them when it came down to screws that were only slightly different from each other. IMG_2794Once that was sorted out, it went smoothly from there. “We are really going to have a baby…” He’d said to her. “I am so excited to meet him, hold him, and love him.” She smiled in agreement, as they stood admiring their work.

The next two months were going to go by so fast, and although the thought terrified them standing in the nursery looking into the place their son would lay to sleep each night, they both took a deep breath, ready for what was to come.

Staying Put & a Trip to the ER

He and she had gone back to her home town to celebrate the news of their nuptials with her family. They were shocked though happy at their decision to tie the knot. He was still fretting about what kind of jobs he would find in her home town once they moved there in May after the baby was born, and she equally feared for their financial standing. Rent was more expensive, as was daycare, gas, and everything else, on top of the fact that she would only have around $3000 saved by the time their son was born in April.

The Monday following their visit, she and her mother had a long talk about doing what was best for he, she, and their baby, which ultimately led to the decision to stay where they were. Without realizing, she had been carrying the heavy weight that moving back home would be a financially threatening situation. Once the decision was made to stay, it felt as though the weight disappeared. She would ask to start full-time in a communication & marketing role at the school where she worked, and he would begin readying himself for his graduate degree at the college where they met. They began organizing the apartment and cleaning it up, knowing they would be there for more than just a couple months.

Everything after that seemed to be routine. The holidays were over, she was back at work, he was back at school, and the time until the birth of their son seemed to dwindle away by the day. At 28 weeks, she was showing heavily as they sat at his work together one night. Everything seemed normal until she felt as though her vision was getting spotty. She thought, at first, that it may just be from looking at the computer screen, but after a few moments, she realized something else was happening. The blurred flashing vision would not let up and quickly worsened as she looked up the number of her hospital. He sat patiently next to her, concerned for his wife and son’s well being. “The nurse said that I should get it looked at in the emergency room, since I am pregnant it could be something that needs to be treated.” He nodded, knowing he would need to leave work and take her.

“I will call my boss and let her know I am leaving.” He said, quickly packing his things. She was on the verge of crying out of fear. Her left eye was almost completely useless at this point, and the unknown made her tremble all the way to the hospital. Luckily, there weren’t many people there. She was called in after only a ten minute wait. The nurse and doctor were in and out doing blood pressure tests and other optical tests. She explained her symptoms as the doctor asked some questions. He and she were left to wait for a while until the doctor returned with a prognosis.

“Based on your symptoms, and a talk with the neurologist, it could only be an optic migraine.” This was relatively good news. At least it wasn’t anything serious that could hurt the baby or be a permanent issue. He and she left the hospital and returned to his work for the remainder of his shift. In the car, he grabbed her hand to let her know everything was going to be okay.

Forever

He and she had made several plans in various ways, shapes, and forms to get married. They were never sure when nor where they should hold such an occasion. It had begun two months into their relationship in January of 2011. She had just returned from an elongated stay with her family. He had planned a special evening away at a nice hotel to have one night where they weren’t worrying about when her roommate would return. At this point, he was practically living in her dorm with her ever since his roommate got upset by her staying with them so often. Being apart wasn’t something he and she were ever fond of.

This night, he had booked the Jacuzzi suite for one night. The bus ride had been long, but he was there waiting to pick her up from the station. They stopped back at the dorms so she could repack some new clothes for their stay. He seemed a bit nervous and anxious for a reason she did not understand, through her excitement to get away with him, she shrugged it off as mutual excitement.

They drove to the hotel that was no more than 15 minutes away from the dorms. Neither of them really cared as long as they were able to spend some quality time together away from roommates and floor monitors. He had already checked in earlier, claiming it was to avoid wasting time with checking-in.

They went up the elevator that was filled with tension over words. Unlocking the door, he led her through the threshold, but it wasn’t at all what she had expected to see when she walked in. The lights were off though the flicker of candles illuminated a magical scene that he had created for her. Rose petals danced across the floor and covered the bed that had been draped in a blanket he had created for her that said, “I Love You.” Never had she had anything like this done for her before nor did she realize at the time just how crafty he was. The hot tub was already full and bubbling and on a small table in the center of the room there was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.

She knew what this was instantly, though never expected it would happen so soon in their relationship. After her quick once over of the room, her eyes landed back on him. He was already down on one knee with a small black box in his hand. The air in the room felt like it was palpitating along with the nervous rhythms of their hearts as he opened his mouth to speak. “You are the most amazing and beautiful girl I have ever met. You are cool and unique and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” He presented the ring, though her answer had already escaped her lips.

“Yes!”

This was the first time he gave her the ring, though it was certainly not the last. After a two-month break-up, they decided that their second try would be one they would ease into with caution. Marriage was something she figured wouldn’t be set back on the table until they were much older. They were only 19 when he proposed, and after all they had been through, he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to propose to her again.

Things had gone amazingly over the past two years, and had gotten even stronger with the pregnancy, withering their fights to almost none and never. This love was stronger, better than ever before. He and she had discussed saving about $5000 over the next year or so to hold a small wedding with only immediate family, but over Christmas break talk of eloping just the two of them seemed more like them. They had always been about being in each other’s company, loving each other, and avoiding large awkward social gatherings. Not only that, but they decided that $5000 would be much better spent on a home for them and their son, than on one day.

She returned on a Sunday, and that Monday they went in to the County Recorder’s office to apply for a marriage license. Getting the license had been the easy part, finding someone to officiate the actual ceremony was much more difficult. It took them until Wednesday to finally find someone that would do a simple, non-religious ceremony equipped with two witnesses that Friday. They had to wait until Friday, since it took 3 days to get a marriage license in their state, though this had given them time to prepare their outfits and their witnesses for the event.

For her, they had stopped at the local Dress Barn. Finding a white dress in the winter, she knew, would be difficult, though the woman working there had been very helpful in finding her options. Being 23 weeks into her pregnancy, fitting her stomach into a dress was a feat. Then she found it. It was an off-white dress with a matching floral pattern embroidered on it. It was a size 6, so it was large in the straps for her but fit the baby belly perfectly. It was knee length with a baby doll styled belt that attached in the front with a diamond-studded pendant shaped like a double-infinity. The only thing better than finding the perfect dress was the fact that from its original price of $60, it had been knocked down to $19.

He already had dress pants, a dress shirt, and dress shoes. He had bought a suit jacket from TJ Maxx with a gift card he received on Christmas, though he later found that it didn’t match his pants. The morning of their wedding day, he and she awoke early. He began to iron his outfit while she did her hair and makeup. They had several errands to run before their nuptials at noon. They had to meet his artist professor at her house along with R, his artist friend, who would be their witnesses, by 11am, since the wedding was going to be at their officiant’s apartment 20 minutes away. “I am going to marry you today.” She said smiling as she kissed him several times. He smiled wide and kissed her back with all the love in the world.

First thing they had to do was pick up their marriage papers to bring with, form there they raced back to TJ Maxx where they returned his suit jacket and found him a suit vest instead. She was able to acquire a cheap pair of matching flats and a nice cardigan to complete her look, and from there they raced back home to change. They were ready in ten minutes after returning home, since they had finished the bigger projects before running their errands. In the car, they listened to their song, “All I’ve Ever Needed” by Paul McDonald & Nikki Reed. The smiles couldn’t be taken from their faces and they interlocked their hands. “Do you want to know how I know this is right?” She asked.

“How?”

“Because I don’t feel afraid. I feel so happy.”

“Me too, sweetie.” He replied and kissed the backside of her hand.

From his artist professor’s house, he and she rode in her car while R and his artist professor followed closely behind. The apartment was in a quaint town above a small pizza shop. They were around 25 minutes early, though the woman officiant was ready and waiting. The place was cozy with high ceilings that led up to the small space that the woman had decorated with white Christmas lights that gave off a gentle glow. “I require that the bride and groom hold hands.” The woman said as he and she grasped each other’s hands. Their eyes glued together as the woman read a sweet vow to them, R and the artist professor avidly videoing and snapping photos. It was wonderful, the words wrapped around them in celebration of everything they had gone through as a team and solidified their experiences in an unbreakable union. “If you agree, say, ‘yes, I do.” The woman stated after each vow. He and she both answered with smiles so big they felt their cheeks growing weary.

“Yes, I do.”

“I now pronounce you man and wife.” He reached forward with a hand that pulled her in from the back of her neck into a kiss that she’d never wanted to end.

His artist professor brought them to an amazing Italian restaurant, where they spent hours dining and talking. Later, that night they met up with another couple, E and A, to have conversation and some cheesy fries.

When they got home, they were both exhausted, climbing into bed, as man and wife, and falling asleep in each other’s arms, just like it had always been and just how it would forever be.

The Talk

With the impending arrival of their new baby, he and she decided this would be the last Christmas they spent with their own families. The baby would be reason to split up whose family they should see on the day of versus a random day. When he and she moved they would be close to her parents and 5 hours away from his, so they were already set to go stay with his family the first year. All the talk of domestication in their relationship brought on the talk of marriage. When they should do it, if they should do it, how much they would be willing to spend, who they would invite, and the list went on.

“I want something small. The less guests the less drama their could be. How much would you want to spend on a wedding total?” She asked him the week before Christmas, looking at elopement packages on her phone.

“I don’t know. Let’s say we save like $5000 and do a simple elopement package with like 10-15 guests.” He suggested. She liked the idea, though knowing that it would take them over a year to save that kind of money once she started working again after the baby. The money she was setting aside now was for her maternity leave.

Once separated by state borders, he and she began a string of texts revising the idea of marriage. “I would marry you now if I could.” He’d said. Saying so after expressing how much he missed her when they were apart.

“Then why don’t you?” She asked, thinking back on a conversation she’s had with her mother earlier that day about saving the $5000 for a house rather than one day. Why not elope? She began looking at state laws and how long it would take them to get a marriage license as well as how much it would cost. Three days and $35. Then an officiant would be near $100.

As they danced with the idea of eloping over the New Year, he spoke with his mother. He began texting ideas of taking his mother’s car to Vegas or going to Mall of America, though the thought of all the driving sounded exhausting at 6 months pregnant. Another stipulation was that his mother would be there, which incited the issue that there would be another set of jealous parents who weren’t invited to attend, creating a looming air of drama that they were trying to avoid.

“I want it to just be about us, sweetie. I don’t want to have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings or feeling awkward or uncomfortable. I want to marry you and be with you forever. That’s all I want the day to be about.” She explained.

“Then that’s what we should do.”

“Are you sure you want to marry me?”

“1000% Yes. Do You?”

“Of course I do. We’ll talk more about it when you get back on Sunday.” That was were they left it before falling fast asleep that night, five hours apart, with nothing but the future in front of them.

Surprise Cousin for Baby

He and she had spent a Thanksgiving at their own parent’s homes, knowing it would probably be the last time they would be apart at the holidays. He had agreed to come to her father’s family party the weekend after to formally meet her relatives on that side of the family. Something they hadn’t expected to hear was a story from her 19 year old younger brother, J. “I have a secret that I haven’t really told anyone. I was freaking out like the past 9 months because I thought this girl I was with was pregnant. She had the baby though and said it’s not mine.”

J hadn’t really decided on a life path yet, living in a one bedroom apartment, working at their stepdad’s company, and constantly hanging out with his friends seemed to be what he had settled on for now. The year prior J had lived with their dad until several fights ultimately led to J getting kicked out. This event ignited what ended in the result of a baby scare. There had been a party, a girl, and spotty judgement without protection back in early February, and on October 28th there was a baby boy.

He and she had thought the story was strange, but dismissed it after J had said there was a paternity test. It was only until a couple weeks later that her mother asked if she had any knowledge of a possible baby. J had called their mom to come clean, stating that the girl had a paternity test done and that it wasn’t J’s baby. He, she, and her mother found this hard to believe, since J had never given a DNA sample. She and J’s mom decided to go through an advocate to find out whether or not the statement this girl made was true, ordering a paternity test herself.

The girl had claimed she didn’t want any child support or even J’s assistance or presence in the baby’s life. When the test results came back, there was a 99.9% positive confirmation that the baby was in fact J’s. J wanted little to do with the situation, unsure of where his life was headed and fearful of his world being turned upside down. Their mother on the other hand wanted to see the baby and welcome him into their lives with open arms. It was, after all, her first grandchild.

He and she felt somewhat conflicted on the situation as well. This baby was ultimately their baby’s cousin, but there was the lingering air of uncertainty as to how it would all work out. She and J would most likely meet this baby over Christmas break and go from there.

The whole experience made he and she feel fortunate that they had at least been in a long-term relationship as well as living together upon finding out they were pregnant. She couldn’t imagine going through the pregnancy, birth, and raising of their son without him.

The Great Reveal!

He and she had been anticipating the reveal of their baby’s gender, not caring which it was, but just to have the answer. During the Thanksgiving holiday they had been bombarded with the question, “Have you found out yet?” It was a constant reminder of just how badly they  wanted to know.

December 12th was growing close as they prepped a few reveal ideas. The weekend before they had done two videos using balloons to reveal the gender that she uploaded to YouTube privately, so that she could make public the correct video when the time came. She also, in her excitement, wanted to make gender reveal cookies to bring to work after the ultrasound. The issue with that was the fact that she would need to make both gender versions of the cookies as well, since she would be going to work almost immediately after they found out. He thought a simple text would have sufficed, but the chance to let her creativity out from hiding was one she wouldn’t miss.

The night before the big day, he went to work. She followed behind him going to the Wal-Mart  that was down the street to get ingredients to make the cookies. She cut every corner she could, knowing just how long the process would take. While making the cookies, she found out just how hard it was to stay standing at 20 weeks pregnant. She wanted each cookie individually wrapped with a little note and bow tie placed artistically on each.

By the time he got home at ten, she had only begun the final process of bagging and tying all 70 cookies. They were sugar cookies that had a small circle of either pink or blue placed in the center. She had covered them in white frosting to hide the hidden color beneath and separated them in the fridge to make sure they didn’t get mixed up. He knew her back was aching and that she still had a long way to go. “What would you like me to do sweetie?” he asked grabbing some of the clear plastic bags and mimicking how she carefully placed the cookies in them.

FullSizeRenderThank you so much! This would have taken me all night!” They divvied up the tasks of placing the cookie, tying the cookie, curling the ribbon, and attaching the note. It took them an hour to complete the venture, but they were both excited by the turnout.

Both battling bad colds, he and she didn’t sleep as well as they had wanted the night before the great reveal. She was instructed to pee when she awoke, chug 16oz of water, and then hold it all the way through the ultrasound, which is harder than it seems when you are constantly making trips to the bathroom as it is.

The hospital was easy to get through, as they sat and filled out paper work. The doctor that would do the delivery had a small house where she conducted the monthly visits, but sent them to the main hospital she worked through for ultrasounds and the actual birth. They were constantly blowing their noses, waiting to be called into the room. When they finally got there, the excitement was just about ready to spew out all over, though it was hard to stay conscious in the dim light of the room.

The first technician put the warm gel on her belly as he and she looked up at the flat screen to see the baby they hadn’t laid eyes on in months. Baby was much bigger now, with more identifiable features. The measurements took a long time to be completed. “Would you like to know the gender today?”

“Yes!” He and she answered in unison. The woman smiled. It was around the 45 minute mark that the tech began the search. Baby was moving around like crazy, making the woman’s job a tad harder, then finally…

“Do you see that right there?” The tech said honing her mouse over a small part on the screen. “That is a penis. It looks like it is a boy, but I will have another technician confirm.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.08.44 PMA little boy.” He whispered smiling big as he firmly grasped her hand and kissed it. The woman left the room and they shared a kiss, excited about their baby boy. The other technician kept calling him a little stinker, because every time she would try to capture a 3D picture of him, he would wiggle, kick, and roll. He and she were able to leave the appointment with 13 new pictures of their son.

She immediately sent out the video link to everyone in her phone as they drove across the street to their doctor’s for a quick check-up. On their way home, they fantasized about their son sharing another kiss as they began a very exciting day of sharing the news with the world!

Hit and Run

He and she spent Monday’s and Friday’s sitting at his work from 5-10pm. On this particular Friday, he decided to drive them home in her car. They took the short-cut they usually did when driving home, going the usual 45 mph. A white car slowed in front of them, going around 35mph, a whole 10 mph lower than the marked speed limit. He took it upon himself to turn on his signal and pass them. When he got in front of them, he increased his speed back up to 45, gaining more distance between them. The night was suddenly ablaze with the other car’s blinding headlights.

He did respond well to being flashed by someone that had clearly neglected to look at the post marked speed limit sign. He tapped the breaks, slowing until the car caught up to them. As soon, as the other vehicle realized the slow in traffic, they increased speed and attempted to whip around he and she in an angered manner. He sped up back to 45, until the other car fell back.

They reached a large intersection as he and she got in the middle lane to go straight. The white car veered quickly into the right lane. She could see there were four young, high school aged boys filling the car. Just as she made the observation, a loud THUD startled them. Someone from the other car has thrown a large, heavy, though unidentifiable object at her car. He wouldn’t stand for letting them get away. Switching lanes, he raced up behind the other car, tailing close. “Write down their license plate number!” He yelled out with adrenaline. She pulled out her phone like rapid-fire, typing in the plate number and the make and model of the car.

When they had the needed information, he pulled to right into a parking lot. Across the street, the other car pulled in to a gravel road and turned around to go back where they had both just came. To her, this indicated that they had gotten into the turn lane to merely throw the object at her car, which infuriated her even more. They were both trembling with the aftermath of an adrenaline rush as they got out of the car to call the police and assess the damage. Though the dent wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be based on the loud noise the collision had made, they were still determined to get the boys into trouble for what they had done. She was in her fourth month of pregnancy. The damage they could have done, may have cost them more than they could even get back if it had hit her window instead of the door.

IMG_2436The cop showed up within a half hour. The man expressed that there was not much they could do, since they weren’t sure who was driving. About a week later, he received a call from the cop. The boy had been 17 years old and the father was not too happy finding out what his son had been involved in, taking away his car privileges. The boy refused to give up the names of his friends, though the dad claimed he would try to get them out. The cop stated bluntly that unless he and she wanted to sue the boy, there was nothing they could do. This angered he and she, since the kid was involved and yet got away. Not only that, but the 17 year old had been the driver who flashed his brights and purposefully pulled up next to them so that his friend could throw the unidentifiable, heavy object at the passenger side of her car.

Though justice had not been served, he and she were happy that nothing worse had happened. They were currently busy with the excitement of the coming holiday and their 20 week ultrasound scheduled for December 12th were they would find out Baby’s gender.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Night Out at an Art Show

His friend, R, was an artist as well. R worked at the school where she worked as the art teacher. He knew R through the world renowned artist professor that had once also supported T. T was out of the picture for good. Word had gotten to he and she that T cut off everyone in the small city where they had all attended college and moved out to Seattle with his fiancé. She had had a bad feeling about T back when they met, one that proved to be accurate, but she felt that R had the potential to be a good friend. As much as she had seemed against all of the friends he had picked over the years, it wasn’t because she wanted to cordon him off from the world, it was because she wanted him to find someone who would be an actual friend to him rather than use him up, lie to him, and spit him back out.

R had invited them to an art show where several of his pieces would be displayed. It was about an hour and a half away, but they decided to carpool and R even offered to pay for a hotel room with two beds for the three of them to spend the night. He was excited for the exposure to more of the art culture, feeling a bit deflated with his own art and craving inspiration. It was the art and the idea of a night out on the town, one of which he was unfamiliar that was enticing. She was excited to get out of the apartment and do something that brought her back to her ripe age of 22. Being pregnant tended to rob her of feeling young and invincible. She was caring for two now and the responsibility was growing. This night would show a glimpse of her old life, the one where he and she would occasionally bar hop and stay out too late.

They stopped at R’s house to pick him up before the extended ride to the art show. It didn’t seem all that long from the music and conversations that filled the time. Upon arrival, they checked into the hotel commenting on how swanky it was. They were accompanied in the lobby by the distinct smell of cigarette, age, and two life sized native american indians on an old couch. The room was just as interesting with its living area equipped with a fridge and the duck drawings that were bolted to the wall as though they were at risk of being stolen. “Where should we eat?” R asked the group as they headed out into the quaint town. It was unanimously undecided that they would just walk toward the art gallery until they saw a restaurant that looked appetizing. He and R carried some snacks for the event to the gallery, hoping to quickly drop them off before it began and before they decided to sit down and eat. It was a quick drop as they asked a local where good food was. Since the boys would be drinking, they decided to go for a heavier meal that wasn’t sushi, and went all out with an authentic Mexican restaurant.

“This is going to be fun,” He expressed to R as they ordered their first round of drinks. She wasn’t as enthused, knowing her night would be filled with water and a lot of walking around. By this time, they were all starving, munching on chips and salsa until their meals arrived. This was the part that she had ben excited about: Food! Pregnancy tended to make that something worth getting excited about. He and R started their night of drinking with two beers, ready to head over to the event where free wine was being served in sumptuous amounts.

The three began the night in the back room, the boys instantly filling tiny plastic cups with the red sticky liquid that would get them through four hours of standing. He kissed she on the cheek and placed a hand on her pregnant belly. “I’m sorry sweetie.” He cooed in her ear, feeling somewhat guilty that she couldn’t partake in the nights lively events and could only act as a fly on the wall.

“It’s fine love. We haven’t gotten away in a while. I’m happy if you’re having a good time.” When she said it, she really meant it. It made her feel as though she was completing a selfless task out of love for the soon to be father of her child.

It was art galore. Swarms of people circled the tiny gallery, talking through their individual plastic cups and enjoying the sights of surrealist art. The music was eclectic as a woman sat in the corner decorating the faces of those with already slipping inhibitions. He was constantly filling his cup and alternating trips to the bathroom as the night crept on. “I feel so inspired,” He said looking at the filled walls of art, “I just want to go home and make something or paint.” She nodded, understanding the sudden spark of creativity. It must have been the atmosphere that ignited the passion in everyone, mixed with the increasing number of those with a buzz. There were paper airplanes being thrown as part of one band’s interest in bringing others to a time of youth, and artists standing around critiquing pieces while pushing their own. It was a frenzy and to her it felt long. Toward the end of the event, the swarm turned to a sprinkle, which soon went deserted. He had been throwing paper planes around with a young boy, drunk at this point and attempting to show her that he was good with kids. It was nearing 10:30 as he, she, and R sat in the back room with a little girl, age 4. R was teaching her with great effort how to draw a snake. “I wish I was that good with kids.” He said watching R teach the girl with patience, though R was drunk at this point as well.

“Baby, he teaches art. I’m sure with practice you will be like that too. Jut give yourself a chance.” He nodded and kissed her. The taste of the grape wine causing her to feel a gentle pang of jealousy, but she let it pass. There were two women left, both owners of the gallery that were ready to go out on the town. One was the mother of the boy he had played with earlier, the other, also a mother of a child who wasn’t present at the event, were left to close. R was interested in the one with the 2-year-old, attempting to fashion a connection together the whole night. The woman was young and from Columbia though her face at this point was masked with face paint that looked like a starry night sky and the sun.

He was getting friendly with the older woman as they sat down at the first bar. It was filled with locals and people already off to a good start. All she wanted was food, as everyone ordered a hamburger. His attention seemed drawn away from her and mores at this woman. Knowing him, she tried not to get jealous, he normally was friendly and just wanted to make friends besides, this woman had two kids and was engaged. This didn’t stop her though from getting his phone number and email as she sat idly by. They discussed chatting when he had some art to display, which was perfectly innocent. A tall man with dreads walked into the bar. “That guy looks like Laurent from Twilight!” She told him quietly. He nodded in agreement and swung his whole body around to face the man.

“She thinks you look like the guy from Twilight.” He exclaimed, the man laughed not knowing the reference. She was mortified, her inhibitions still fully present as her face went bright red.When everyone had completed their round and burgers, they decided to move to the next bar.

“Did anyone pay for the burgers and drinks?” R asked he and she. Everyone shook their head. R took the opportunity to run out as he and she quickly followed.

Outside it was cold. He had his arm around her, which she used for warmth forgetting to grab her sweater before they headed out for the night. She at least had a scarf on. The second bar was much different from the first. They were hosting a rap battle on their stage that the group, which now added two more women, began to laugh at. The other two women were older as well, one was married and the other was married with three children. The older owner of the gallery was still somewhat clingy on him, which was increasingly getting on her nerves the drunker everyone got and the more sober and tired she felt. He wasn’t exactly fending the woman off, though at this stage of drunk he was constantly apologizing for things at random and going back and forth between feeling like no one liked him and feeling awesome. It was a roller coaster of a night, especially when the woman dared him to get up against these random guys and dance as hysterically as they were. He did, and they crept closer to the stage, not coming back until she physically went to retrieve him. They all decided to leave after R broke a glass by accident that had sat on one of the tables.

This led them to the final bar. One everyone else forgot and only she wished she could have been as lucky. He was getting touchy feely with each girl, grabbing their hands and holding them. Finally, she scolded his actions, getting more and more furious by the moment. The woman began getting handsy as well. Essentially, at this point, the clock nearing 2am, she was done with it. It wasn’t fun for her, nor comical, it was just painful. They did finally leave. All the women surrounding getting tired and hungry. She had cut him off a while back, since she knew when he had had too much from experience. “You are the most beautiful girl in the world and I love you and this baby. Oh my God, I love this baby so much.” He said to her, looking her deep in the eye. What was one night of him being somewhat of a douche? He loved her and always would. The gang stopped at a hotdog place with the last stop being the hotel. The girls weren’t allowed up due to the hotel policy: No visitors past 10. They had apparently had a hooker problem in the past, which made her relieved. He and she went up without R, who followed the gallery owners back to the gallery to hang out. He and she got ready for bed as she took care of him and stroked his hair and back. At 2:30, they were able to sleep, though not comfortably. R had returned in the night and in the morning, she drove the still somewhat drunk boys back home.

Hospital Tour and Doctor Swap

He and she found it difficult to find time to spend together unless it was after 10 on the weekdays. Their weekends had been fairly busy, filled with trips to his hometown as he converted his art studio into his stepdad’s large wood shop. She had gone home, one of the weekends, to her hometown while he stayed back to transfer his stuff. She and her mother spent the weekend shopping for maternity clothes and looking through old photos, bonding over the pregnancy as mother and daughter.

One weekend, when he and she finally had no plans, he helped her proceed with an experiment she had wished to try back in May but had never gotten around to doing so. It was the Anonymous Balloon Project. She had found biodegradable balloons and stuffed each with a letter. The letter was neon in color and instructed the finder to contact the given email address with various other instructions as to what they should include in the email. He had a helium tank at his work. The day was bright and beautiful with weather just perfect for the event. Their hearts raced as they saw the white cloud of 50 balloons gracefully dancing across the sky. They, then, decided to make a run for it, just in case anyone was looking for the culprit. It was validating to know they could accomplish a dream and a goal together, which made her excited about their future and the baby.

Thinking about the future and the baby led her to do some research about doctors in the area. He and she were very unhappy by the rude demeanor of the ultrasound tech and midwife at their university hospital. She felt as though she was trapped on a pregnancy assembly line and that she was just another insignificant piece. A friend at work suggested a local doctor that had delivered the babies of several other coworkers, each loved this woman. She called that afternoon to switch over her appointment from the university hospital to the new hospital that housed Dr. S. Dr. S had only missed one birth in 29 years of practice, which somewhat calmed her nerves. He was excited that they would be going in for another appointment in hopes that they would have another ultrasound picture to take home. The doctor practiced down the street in a quaint little house down the street from the hospital where she would go to give birth in April. “Babe we should go and tour the hospital, you know. We can ask questions and see where I’ll experience terrible pain!” She exclaimed, excited at the same time.

The day of the tour they awoke early, knowing the bug man would be coming to their apartment to install bug traps at his request. It was his way of protecting her and the baby, not wanting them to spray toxic chemicals around where she ate and spent most of her time. It was raining as they parked in the parking garage. They were lost for several minutes, wandering the hospital and asking for directions. “I really hope we find where we are supposed to be much faster when I am in labor. I am SO not walking this far in pain!”

He laughed at her remark, “Don’t worry sweetie. It will be fine.” The desk monitor called the tour guide to come meet them in the lobby of the women’s birth center. The woman walked them through the halls describing where to go, taking them to an empty labor room. It was clean and ready for a baby to be born, equipped with a tub, monitors, and even a TV. The woman introduced them to the fancy security system that made sure no one would walk out of the hospital with their baby and then ended the tour in a recovery room. He and she were pleased to find out that the rooms were all singles and that she would;t have to share the experience with anyone else but her own close family members. The guide explained that there would be renovations on the rooms in the coming months and that she will quite possibly be able to experience the remodel by the time she would need a room. They would have double beds in them: one for he and one for she; and appear more modern. They were happy with the news. They left more excited than ever, though 6 months was a long way away.

When they got back, he began to make her breakfast. They each had about 45 minutes until they had to be anywhere. There was a knock on the door. When she answered, she was faced with the bug man who held a long stemmed sprayer and announced that he was there to spray. He, who stopped making eggs at this point, stopped the bug man from coming in. “You aren’t supposed to spray in here, didn’t the management company tell you?” He questioned, though the man seemed to be clueless. “I called four times to explain that she is pregnant and you can’t spray chemicals around her!” He was getting frustrated, until he saw the man retreat to his truck to get bug traps. He turned back to her a bit deflated, “I don’t get how they didn’t know.” She just smiled and kissed him.

When the bug man returned, it turned out that it was on his order form after all, meaning an oversight where if they hadn’t been there, the man would have sprayed. This made him angry, though once the man was out of his sight he calmed. His love for her was what riled him up, wanting her and the baby to be safe at all times.

The next week was the appointment. The house was as cute and quaint on the inside as it had been on the outside. There were screen printed images that draped the walls, all of which he had a comment on due to his recent experience with screen printing. She filled out paper work as they waited until a nurse brought them both back into the examination room. They ran the usual tests: urine sample, blood pressure, vitals, etc. When this process was complete they finally met Dr. S. Although at first they thought she wouldn’t be as great as anticipated due to an interaction he and she witness in the lobby with Dr. S and the receptionist, the women turned out to be very nice and excited for them. Dr. S didn’t make them feel as insecure as the staff at the university hospital had, this woman made them feel like they had a support system and someone who wanted to help them achieve their own goals in the pregnancy and birth.

They all went back to the examination room where they got to hear the quick pace of their baby’s heart for the first time. Dr. S also had a trick up her sleeve, which was a tiny hand held ultrasound device. Though they didn’t get a printed image, they still were able to see the baby moving and flailing its arms around, almost as though baby was dancing. When the doctor left the room, he and she joked that the baby would be just as dorky as they were, as they sat pantomiming dance moves and laughing at each other.

When they left, they felt an extreme sense of joy and relief. They had found their doctor. She rubbed her arm on the way to the car where they had given her the flu shot (one that didn’t have all the additives like Mercury). When they got in the car, he kissed the top of her head. “I can’t wait to have this baby with you.” He said as he gently placed his hand on the small bump of her stomach.