Sicknesses And a Wonderful Surprise!
These past weeks has hit us hard with illnesses. I had bronchitis in December and I’ve been healthy ever since but the rest of my family hasn’t. A stomach virus has been going around and Aaron’s family has been hit the hardest. They keep passing it around and around with all five kiddos getting it, one after another. Mary and Aaron got it too, several times. Both of them work so hard and get very little sleep so they are so vulnerable to any bad germs they encounter. Once they get it, it lingers far longer than other people. Little James was so ill, they took him to the emergency room for treatment. His cough lasted for weeks. It didn’t matter if Aaron or Mary were sick, they still had to clean up after the children. Illness was so bad in Trinity’s school, that they shut down on a Friday so all could stay home to recuperate. Monday was a holiday so everyone got a four day vacation. I’m sure the custodians were there giving the school a good disinfecting.
Jared got pneumonia. Both Cassi and Delilah had urinary tract infections. Then, just after getting over that illness, Delilah woke up in the middle of a night and couldn’t breathe. Val and Tim were concerned enough to call an ambulance. She had croup. Breathing treatments and steroids were administered but croup can take two weeks to go away. At my house, she had her very own box of tissues and a trash can to throw them in. She was out of sorts with everyone she met because she felt so miserable. After all that, Cassi caught the stomach bug and landed in the hospital. She can’t afford to lose calories plus throwing up meant that her medication wasn’t staying down. Seizures started again but all the doctors and nurses in pediatrics know her well and know just what to do. She was in for three days and is now recuperating at home. The new nurse is there to care for her which helps Val.
Leah ran a fever and complained that her ear hurt so, off to Urgent Care she went (of course it was late at night). She was on antibiotics for two weeks. Leah’s daddy fought sinus problems but luckily all else stayed away. I really feel for my own children as parents. Life is difficult enough without having an illness dragging you down. Come on spring! We need to have windows open and the great outdoors and sunshine to play in!
Back in the summer, while we were our vacation, I received a wonderful surprise when all nine of us went out to a nice seafood restaurant together. After we ordered and were waiting for our food, I overheard Val said to Rachel, “Really? It’s true?” I had no idea what they were talking about, even when Leah stood up on her chair to show all of us her “Promoted to Big Sister!” shirt. The thought of Rachel being pregnant was so far from my mind that I was thinking to myself that Leah’s shirt was an odd consignment store purchase. Why would Rachel, or anyone, pick up a shirt like that just to wear on their child? Then, I looked at Rachel and she was nodding her head! It was true! I was going to have my eighth grandchild in February! In October, we learned that Rachel and Mike were going to have another girl. Because this was the second year of Rachel’s new job, she hadn’t accrued enough sick time to be able to take off more than six weeks, let alone any time before the baby came. This pregnancy was a bit different than being pregnant with Leah. Rachel got bigger even though she gained less weight. This little one was more active than Leah with shooting pains running down Rachel’s hip and leg. But, she bravely persevered every day at work and collapsed on the sofa when she came home. Sometimes, she had enough energy to make evening meals but Mike filled in when she couldn’t.
I had no desire to see another child being born so I was glad to take care of Leah when the time came. The experience of birth had been awesome to see but I was a bit upset seeing my daughter in so much pain. Rachel’s due date was February 12, so she had an appointment on the 10th to be checked out. She came home all excited because the nurse practitioner said she would probably go into labor that night or sometime over the weekend. Within an hour or so, Rachel knew that things were starting to move along and she began to keep track of her contractions. They fed Leah, played with her and then put her to bed for the night. Rachel hooked up the baby monitor in my bedroom because I sleep in a bedroom on the first floor, below Leah. By 9:30, contractions were becoming more intense so she contacted Val and Tracy, Rachel’s best friend, to be ready to get to the hospital soon, and then, off to the hospital Mike and Rachel went. The nurse practitioner checked her in emergency and said that Rachel needed to be moved to maternity immediately. Rachel texted Val and Tracy to get there as soon as possible! I was in on the group text so I asked for updates from someone as things progressed. Both Val and Tracy got there at 11:30. Tracy went to Rachel’s other side to help with contractions while Val grabbed Rachel’s good camera and began taking pictures. By 11:50, Tracy texted me that Rachel was pushing and at 12:05 Saturday morning, the little girl was born!
Tracy and Val stayed another half hour and then went out to an all night diner to grab some thing to eat. They were too wired up to go home! I went to bed right after I got the picture of the new little one. At 4:00 in the morning, I heard Leah screaming for mommy and daddy. She was having a nightmare which has become a frequent occurrence. It always the same nightmare, a dinosaur or a monster is in the corner of her crib and attempting to eat her. The monitor has a speaker on it so, after a couple of tries to get the thing working, I managed to call into it and tell Leah that Nana was coming. I had to go to the bathroom, and then get my robe on, then climb the steps to her room. She grabbed me and picked up her feet because she wanted out of that crib. I sat on the rocker with her and showed her the picture of her baby sister and I told her all about the exciting evening after she went to sleep. This quieted the crying immediately. She was still frightened after several minutes so I had her walk downstairs and we sat in my room on my comfy lounge chair. I thought I could sleep with her like that but it was not going to happen. While I was sitting and holding Leah, Rachel texted me! She knew I would get the text in the morning when I woke up but she didn’t know I was awake then! We had a lovely conversation – just mother and daughter.
I congratulated her and Mike and asked about the baby. She was seven pounds, 9.9 ounces and nineteen inches long. She had lots of black hair and was already breastfeeding well. Finally, I asked the name. Rachel and Mike would not even give us a hint of what the name was going to be. They didn’t tell us for Leah until after she was born and we had all gone home. All through the pregnancy, I called the little one “baby ocho” since it was my eighth grandchild. Rachel texted back, “Hannah Grace.” What a beautiful name!
By this time, Leah was ready to go back to sleep and she asked to go back to her own bed. When we both work up, later that morning, Leah and I went to meet my parents for breakfast. Rachel has met my parents for breakfast on Saturday mornings for years. Me showing up with Leah meant the baby was born so I showed them the picture and told them all about the birth. Leah seemed excited and proudly told everyone who walked by that she was now a big sister. This is a small restaurant with many people like Mom and Dad that are regulars. They were all excited, too. After breakfast, Mom, Dad, Leah and I all went over to the hospital to meet baby Hannah. It was such a wonderful thing to see Leah meet her baby sister for the first time!
I was expecting the family to return home the next day but Hannah developed an infection and had to receive several rounds of antibiotics. Since the birth was so fast (Hannah was born with three pushes), Rachel had many intensive injuries with stitches. She was glad for the time in the hospital also. They finally returned home on Tuesday afternoon when I brought Leah home from daycare. She was so excited to see her daddy’s car in the driveway and ran up to the back door. Daddy opened the door while she jumped up and down in excitement!
Luckily, Mike could be off work to help with Leah and Mommy. This gave me some free time because I wasn’t to get Delilah until the end of the week Leah needed her family home again. Leah saw her daddy every night because he came home to play with her and put her to bed. It gave me a break and helped Leah feel better about Mommy being away. But, she missed having them home all the time, especially her mom. Now, all was right with the world again and she had a new baby sister in addition!
- I feel for my children as they go through the scary times when their children are very ill. I can’t do much but listen to what they are going through, tell them I love them, and PRAY!!
- New babies are so wonderful! My love for each grandchild is not divided as a new child is added but expanded and increased. Leah was quite a trooper with all that transpired! I’m glad I was the one to be with her.