Once upon a time, seven days ago, there was a mommy with a baby in her tummy and the baby wanted out during a blizzard on Christmas Eve. So the local SWAT team showed up with an armored vehicle to rescue mommy and drop her off in the wrong hospital. The wrong hospital was brave and did a great job and saved mommy and baby. Then mommy and baby were whisked away to special doctors who took over and said good job, you look great, go home in a blizzard aftermath. At the same time that mommy and baby were fighting for their lives, daddy and George weathered the storm alone together, and they were very brave.
That’s the short story. I guess I could have put that up a few days ago, but mama’s been busy. And happy. And focused. And letting every moment sink into her soul and change her.
I am transformed in this week. My heart knows deeper unconditional love than ever before. I feel healed and peaceful. My word for 2023 is grace.
On Christmas Eve eve, so December 23rd, work was cancelled for the Blizzard of ’22 in Buffalo. This storm made national and international news, but I would not know that until many days after the storm ended. This was the day my little family of three had the most blissful farewell, although no one knew that’s what it was at the time.
That night of December 23rd to 24th I slept poorly. Up and down. Restless. Going to the bathroom every two hours. Uncomfortable. Upset stomach. Cramps. So I didn’t have an appetite. Usually a snack will put me in the mood to sleep, and a snack had always sounded good, but not this night. I was too groggy to read the signs.
I woke and decided to stop sleeping at 5:30am, it was before George rose. So I put on his favorite morning tv show, Bluey, and settled on the couch and waited for George to rouse his father. The morning dawdled on for me. I’d look at the clock after 3 hours just to see that only 20 minutes had passed. I was using the toilet a lot too. I texted Nick from the toilet:
How wrong I was. They were, in fact, not Braxton Hicks contractions.
At 9:33am I called my mom, Grammy, so that she could wish George a Merry Christmas Eve and sing the Wheels on the Bus together. On their third round, I was screaming in pain. Clutching the armrest of the couch like gravity had disappeared and my white-knuckle grip on the sofa was the only thing holding me to this planet. I was on all fours gasping and screaming. I was frightening George. The poor boy was backed into a corner of the living room while I labored in front of him. Nick was having none of my theatrics. He was tired and short-tempered from sleeping on the floor all night next to our son’s crib. I gasped for help to the toilet. I sat down, shook my head, and then I knew what was happening was happening for real.
My cramps were not false labor. The pressure deep down low in my pelvis was not gastrointestinal distress. There was no room for anything other than my daughter’s head bearing down on my cervix. I screamed for an ambulance. Help. 911. Please now. Now. NOW.
I heard Nick speaking with the 911 operator. It was the fourth time I’d heard him beg them to come, help, save my pregnant wife, she has breast cancer. I continued to scream, but by now I was accepting my labor, and I knew that I was doing myself no favors by continuing to scream. I let out the last screams to emphasize the urgency for the 911 dispatcher, I let it be as dramatic as I could. It worked. I got help.
I began low moans with each exhale for the next 3 hours. Each contraction came, built, climaxed, and ebbed. I knelt clutching the bedsheets as if I were praying, but as my body squeezed, no thoughts entered my mind other than to breath and keep making noise with each exhale. Between contractions my mind raced. How, who would look over George? Ask a neighbor, there’s a driving ban, grandparents cannot get here. Get the hospital bag zipped. Bring my coat to me. Make sure I have my wallet and phone and charger. Take my keys out of my coat pocket, I don’t want to lose those in the snow. Shoes, I need shoes.
Officer Thompson and Officer Curry responded first. I mistook them for EMT through my closed eyes, they seemed to be asking good questions for my medical history. I tried to answer them, but I contracted instead. Nick kept them informed, I nodded as I focused on the sound of his voice as he recited my medical history. They left the room. I stopped contracting. I commanded Thompson to come to me, I asked him to please drive with the ambulance, escort it, make sure there was a second vehicle with the ambulance in case it crashed in the snow again. I wanted a backup vehicle to accompany my rig so that if the medical transportation failed again, I could still continue on. The conditions today were a million times worse than they were a week ago.
Thompson reassured me that they would get me to the hospital alright. I was skeptical, but also contracting again, so he got off easy.
I heard more voices. Help. I would get out. I heard men call for shovels. Nick provided. The house grew quiet. I had a window of about 3 minutes, between contractions, where I could control my body. My breath was ragged as I dragged my coat onto my body. I opened my eyes to pull the zipper; that was the longest my eyes were open for the whole morning to follow. I clutched my suitcase and used it as a walker to reach the front door.
Police hoisted me over the threshold of my home into the blizzard. There are usually houses visible across the street, but not now. I was still free of contractions so I motored my legs but they lifted my weight. It was imperative to get to shelter before then next contractions. Our window was already halfway spent. I reach the end of my driveway and look up to see no ambulance.
It was a tank. An armored vehicle. A Humvee. It was a retired war vehicle. Out of Afghanistan and onto my front lawn. The rear of the vehicle was a staircase that descended with the sound of hydraulic pistons from a sci-fi movie.
I let a primal sound come from my chest and collide with the wind. I said “This is exciting. This is so Fucking exciting.” The escort on either arm half-heartedly laughed to agree. I clambered up those steps on all fours and crawled until someone inside pulled me up onto a bench. It was no good. I couldn’t sit like this. I backed my knees onto the floor and embraced the cold, wooden, painted bench. It smelled like the sweat and fear and farts of hundreds of soldiers. I gladly held my face against it.
The strength of my body was greater than the storm, and someone was looking out for me. Me and my daughter were getting free.
I’ll continue writing shortly. Today’s the day to record my whole birth story, but baby girl just had an enormous poop that can only be cleaned in the bath, so brb.
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