Dark and Light

“Her water broke!”

The moment we’d all been waiting for, in fact; we’d had a betting pool going: who could guess the date and time of birth. No one had picked the first of July.

By 4:00 they were headed to the hospital. By 6:00 my daughter-in-law had an epidural.

At 11:30 I messaged for more info. Nothing. Everyone was resting.

3:30 am: “I am restless. Nothing appears to be happening.” This from my son.

5:30 am: “She is 6 or 7 cm dilated.”

“It will be awhile then,” I counselled, flashbacks to my own labours – long and slow.

Then at 10:00 am, I got a “stand by”.

I messaged his sisters, who both left on holidays the day before. We all waited anxiously.


2:50: “Baby is out. Details to follow”

6:00, I couldn’t stand it anymore. “Jayden!!!!” I sent out.

“Mom! There are complications. Baby is in NICU; my wife has gone to surgery!”

Then his sister called. “Please don’t message anymore Mom. He is being inundated by texts and calls, and he doesn’t know what is going on.”

So I packed up and we drove to the hospital. We’re still under COVID protocols here, but I took my chances.

NICU turned me away. Ladies at birth registry helped me find the parents.

Mom had just returned from surgery. Both were exhausted having neither eaten, nor slept in two days. Baby had stopped breathing and was in NICU undergoing a slew of tests.

I left them there to sleep. Nothing I could do. “Mom will need lots of help at home,” the nurse warned me. “She won’t be able to lift, and must rest for a couple of months.”

“Maybe make your soup,” my daughter-in-law suggested. “We’ll need you when we get home.”

As of this morning, baby is resting with parents in their hospital room. A 7 lb baby girl.

The rest of us collectively hold our breath.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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