“A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.” (Carl Sandburg)
It all started with a call from Romania back in November. It’s dad, and he just says “Your mother wants to talk to you.” And he puts mom on the phone. Mom is crying so hard I can barely understand what she’s saying. I gather that my sister, who is in Canada, and who is 28 weeks pregnant with her second baby boy, has been admitted to the hospital in a state of emergency because “the baby wants to come now”.
As you might know, 28 weeks into the pregnancy is a very early stage for the babies to be born. Mom is frantic. My sister will have to stay in the hospital, on complete and total bed rest, for the baby to not come “tomorrow” for the remainder of her pregnancy (12 more weeks). The baby is due, according to all charts, on February 13, 2011.
So, there will be a long time before my sister could walk again into the world, according to what mom says. I ask for the hospital number from mom, and I call my sister. She is somewhat calm, although she fears for the baby. Her first son, Patrick, was born at 32 weeks. He is doing fantastic, and he was very precocious in a lot of ways, but the first few months of his life were tricky. So, she is nervous: the second one might be even earlier than Patrick.
And thus the Iliad of his birth starts and life will never be the same for any of us after that day. My sister begins her hospital stay. She is in there for 7 weeks. My mom drops everything in Romania and she flies to Montreal in November, with a return ticket of February 28. “It’ll all be well by then, she says. The baby will be several months old.”
During all this waiting time, there are scares. The baby seems too small in one test. He needs to stay in there longer – the longest, if at all possible. My sister has gestational diabetes and can’t eat much. There is a scare of an infection that might pass on to the baby to cause him meningitis. After several tests and a lot of waiting (weeks), the infection probability is waived.
We try to have fun with this, just barely: we try to pick a zodiac sign for the baby: will he be a Sagittarius, Capricorn, or Aquarius?! Which one would we want? Which one is better?! We kid to make time go faster and not to take things “too” seriously.
My sister comes back home on January 1st. She is at week 34 now, further along that she was when Patrick came, and she is “out of the woods”. The baby can come now, more or less, on his own, with no problems. Every minute, every hour of every day, she thinks “the baby is coming today. Now”. And we live like this, day by day, in expectation, and wonderment, and iffiness for months.
December comes and goes, and we have no baby. January comes and goes, and nothing. My sister is continuing her bed rest, with minimal efforts now. I go to Canada, to make sure I give her a hug through all this and so she knows (although she does!) how much I love her and how much I am here for her. He is not born during the week I am there, as my sister guesses. I tell not to rush him.
February starts and we are in complete disbelief! A baby that “wanted to come extremely early” is still in there, waiting patiently for his due date. We cannot believe it. Every time I call her, she says “we are still two in one. No news”. She jests. And yet she is worried, and impatient, and waiting. More and more waiting.
The Iliad continues: lots of sad things happen while we wait. His parents’ godmother and his dad’s grandparents die. He has only one great-grandparent living, unlike Patrick who met three of them. So much sadness for his parents who have loved these people who are now gone, but are yet worrying about his wellbeing, too.
Then, it’s all the medical things: she knows that “diabetes babies” need to come early, because of their size, but he is relatively a small baby. She is a small mom, though… Between too many doctors’ opinions and innumerable inquiries from her, they schedule the inducing date for February 9th.We can’t believe he is to be “induced”. This baby wanted to come on his own already!
She catches a horrible cold in the meantime and is exhausted from coughing. She goes to the hospital then, but as this pregnancy has been full of surprises, the hospital is out of empty rooms. So, they send her home. “Come back tomorrow”. Seriously! So, they call her today, and they have her admitted.
I cannot imagine her wait, and apprehension. Her tenseness and stress! I cannot imagine the baby’s emotions through all this, either …
But today, February 10, 2011, at 2.25 PM, EST, Kevin is born. He has the same birthday as his dad's mother. His dad's birthday is tomorrow. February surely brings lots of happy times in our families. The wait is over. The physical pain is huge, but the relief is even bigger! He is 6.4 lbs (2.895 kg) and 19.3 in (49 cm). If you asked me, I think he’s a tall, skinny baby like his dad (and his big brother). But we shall see.
He looks, so far, more like his mommy. And he is absolutely perfect! He got a 9.5 grade out of 10 possible. He is such a good baby already. Unlike his preemie brother, he can feed on his own, and there is no need for an incubator, or any extra oxygen tubes. But, of course, he is “at term”, too … only three days shy of his actual due date. And he has a strong and loud yell, when he’s hungry. I know, because I heard it. The most beautiful sound in the world!
I cannot describe to you how happy his birth makes me feel. I know everyone in my family has been looking forward to this, for months now. Since he was conceived, but more intently since his apparent “rush to be here”, at week 28. So many sad things have happened since his conception, and his mommy has tried to keep him healthy in there, so he can grow perfect. So much sadness, and yet a new life will spring, and a new tomorrow is ever so clear.
The sky is definitely brighter, because a new star is shining tonight. I wish you a long and happy life, little man, strong shoulders and feet, a wise mind and a quick wit, a clever tongue, a soft touch, and a tender heart, and more than anything, I wish you love. Unconditional, never-ending and sincere love. You already have a beautiful smile.
We love you more than words can say. Your first play pal, your own brother Patrick, is waiting for you at home, and may you two be inseparable in love and care throughout your lives.
Welcome to the world, little Kevin. We’ll all make sure it’s cozy and warm for you, until you can make that happen on your own. That will happen before we know it!