Thankfully, on the home front, by June of ’99, Nicole was sleeping from about 8 P.M. to 3 A.M. Yes, this was huge. I started feel quite a bit better, just from having more sleep. She was nursing in under an hour too, which made a big difference. Unfortunately, things were still bad with respect to my Dad’s health. We decided that she was healthy enough that we could attempt a trip home. I wanted to see my parents and we thought they might like the light relief of meeting their newest granddaughter. In the ‘before time’ I could drive home in about 11 hours. Ha, ha, those days were gone.
Early in July, we headed to B.C. UGH. What an awful trip. Normally it takes 3 hours to get to Calgary from here. It took us over 5. We had to stop twice to change the baby and clean her car seat because her poor little bowels just exploded repeatedly upon being scrunched up in the car seat. We spent that first night at my brother Neal’s house in Calgary. The next day we went all the way to Rossland and a 7 hour trip took about 12. Oh well. My parents had recently moved (another part of the upheaval) to an apartment from their home so we stayed at a hotel. I was very glad that we went home. Dad was heavily drugged and really struggling with the dialysis but he knew who we were and enjoyed seeing the baby. Ron had to get back to work (he didn’t have much vacation time left) so we only stayed a couple of days.
Nicole continued to improve and we were all doing much better. I weaned her in November then took a quick trip home with Neal in the fall. I was glad to see my Dad feeling better and off the heavy psych drugs. He wasn’t doing that well with dialysis though because the congestive heart disease he’d had for years, made it hard for him to pump the machine.
At the end of November I went back to work, 75% time. Luckily, Canadian women get a humane amount of maternity leave. I had been off for about 9 months. In early December I discovered I was pregnant again. This was a surprise because we had required fertility drugs the first time so I just assumed we wouldn’t get pregnant again. Never assume anything when it comes to sperm and eggs!!
One good thing about having an established reputation with your employer is that they tend to give you more trust in how you manage your time. I really appreciate how flexible my boss and work group were. Ron and I didn’t want to use a babysitter in the beginning so I worked 3 – 10 hour days in a scheduled opposite his so that one of us could take care of the baby all the time. This was great in a lot of ways but hard too. As my pregnancy progressed, I felt quite well but there were a lot more physical pains and discomforts than the first time around.
My Dad had several more crises during this time. His shunt plugged off and they couldn’t get another one installed. Finally, the got one into his carotid artery but it was a close thing. He was still strugglng with the physical exhaustion due to the dialysis and a lot of mental strife due to resistance to the radical lifestyle changes required. I wanted to go home again so we planned a trip in June.
Our trip home in June was poignant. Because I was at risk for early labour, my doctor had a lot of tests done on me before we left. I had no problems during the trip, except for being really uncomfortable. This dang baby was always laying sideways. The ultrasound I had before we left showed a head under the right side of my ribs, a bum in the middle, and legs up the left side of my ribs!
I have quite a few good pictures from that trip home. We were happy to see my folks and they were happy to see us. It was sad though. I think my Mom really missed being involved in my ‘new parent’ status. She had wanted me to have children for so many years (and, I think, had given up) that it was quite the thing to see me as a ‘mother’.
When we left Rossland that day in July, I was pretty sure it was the last time we’d see my Dad. He was on oxygen all the time, due to the extra strain of breathing and he was tired, fed up, and discouraged.
A few days later, we were home, Ron had gone to work and I woke up and started labour. I was only 30 weeks along and was scared to death! I phoned Ron’s work and left a message. The phone rang a few minutes later. I thought it would be Ron, but it was my Mom. Dad had fallen down in the kitchen and was badly hurt. They had taken him to the hospital. I told Mom I was waiting for Ron to come and get me and Nicole and I’d call her later.
At the hospital, they confirmed that I was in labour but hoped it would stop. The doctor tried to reach the Ob/Gyn on call in the city to determine what kind of risk the baby was at. I really didn’t want to have another premature baby. Time went on, and Ron and Nicole stayed with me. Nicole was only about 15 months at this time. She needed to go home for food and a sleep. This is where we learned a hard lesson about who you can lean on in tough times. He phoned his Mom, who had taken care of Nicole for us occassionally when we both had to work. She wouldn’t come. It was a nice day and she wanted to get the laundry out on the line. That was somehow very devastating. He was hurt, and I was just so terribly disappointed that someone could hurt my sweetheart so badly. Anyway, Ron took Nicole home and I waited. After lots of waiting, the labour stopped on its own. Thank God! Later in the afternoon, they released me and I took a taxi home.
My doctor told me that if I wanted to hang on to this pregnancy I should stop work and get some help so I didn’t have to do any physical work. Sounds good eh? Well, not so easy. However, lucky me, had a beloved to sister to call on. You’ll meet my sister Mary in the next post!