Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Grandson

So there we were dead asleep at 2 AM when our lives changed forever. No we didn't hit the Lotto (although that would have been pretty cool) but we did get the call our daughter was in labor with our first grandchild. Well...... I should say I got a call after missing two texts from them. Seems my last iPhone update set my "Do not disturb" setting to "on" which muted everything except calls from my "Favorites" phone category between 12 AM and 5 AM. Who knew?

Baby's Coming Code
I rarely get calls at that hour so fearing the worst (son in jail, somebody in a wreck, or the cancellation of NCIS or General Hospital) I grabbed my phone and answered.

I was rewarded with the voice of my dear daughter who, rather calmly, told me she was in labor and they were at the hospital. My wife was now sitting upright in the darkness taking this all in. When I hung up she sprang up and headed for the bathroom to dress. I said she had just gotten there and it might be hours before anything significant might occur. She turned and returned to bed briefly before stating it was now impossible for her to go back to sleep so we were going. There was a, "You don't have to go....I can go and call you when things get going." I have been married for quite some time and I know a trap when I see one. You know, like when they ask," Does this make me look fat?". I'm sure this was a test of some kind and I wasn't falling for it. I did what any man in my position would do, well the smart ones anyway. Got up, got ready to go and off we went into the cold dark night.

The trip to Centennial Hospital was thankfully uneventful. Recall we were just coming out of the throws of a major ice storm event and although it was still below freezing (aka "butt cold"), the roads had a chance to thaw enough to make the roads passable.

After reaching her room and exchanging some pleasantries (really...what kind of chit-chat can you conduct when some one is having contractions every two minutes) we left her to further gestate. We then returned to the darkness of the "Family Waiting Room" and proceeded to watch Jim Belushi in Animal House and then the live broadcast of Nelson Mandella's funeral which turned out to being covered by EVERY network on cable. Not the waiting room kind of entertainment to while away the hours with.

Well 2 AM became 6 AM and the garage door just wouldn't budge. The contractions subsided but with her water broken she wasn't going home so new Dad Rob let us know they were in a holding pattern until things progressed. With Rob camped out bedside, we decided to split up and head home. I had to go to their Savannah community home to retrieve their dogs and get them to our house for safe keeping. Dianna was heading home to get back online and get some mortgage loan work done (damn that Internet ball and chain).

Roads out west toward Denton were still a little dicey as I made my way in the darkness that is US 380. It was rather surreal in that the darkened landscape was broken with the staccato of bright flashing emergency lights flickering off various cars and trucks akimbo in the bar ditches alongside the road, victims of the evil black ice that formed in what my dashboard temp gauge said was 17 degrees.

I was able to navigate my way to their house and after corralling Peanut and blind Buffy (kind of sounds like the name of a jazz act) I slipped and slid my way back to our Frisco hostel. Of course, now with four crazed dogs (Peanut, Buffy, Marley and Jenna) confined to the interior of our first floor, it was bedlam and I could see Dianna was not getting much work done tending to Peanut and Buffy. Both seemed to be unusually high-maintenance compounded by Buffy's blindness skittering around bumping into our unfamiliar abode was nerve racking for the similarly anxious future grandmother. So my reaction was.... to abandon her to the chaos (I know....bad husband). In my defense, I did need to get Buffy's medication I had forgotten earlier and to make a rocket run to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Denton at US 380 and the I-35.  Somebody had to do it.

Ok....for those of you who don't know, I was not there for the weekday special (Monday - Friday: Grilled Chicken Country House Salad with choice of baked potato or cup of soup...yeah, I checked). But they do have a selection of pretty well made rocking chairs for sale in the store. You see, when Nicole was born we had a rocking chair I had given Dianna as a gift several years before. It came in handy during those 2 o'clock feedings I did when I got home from my 6 PM to 2 AM Patrol days which allowed Dianna to sleep through the night in those early days (I know....what a great guy). The decision had been made (well...Dianna decided) to get Nicole a rocker when she had her baby. Due to the uncertainty of her delivery date (I believe the last time we had a definitive answer was "sometime in December") we had procrastinated and not gotten out to the restaurant to pick one up.

With the sands of the hourglass slipping became imperative we acquire one before Nicole returned home so since I had to drive halfway there to pick up Buffy's meds, it seemed to be an efficient use of my time so I made the round trip and got the chair too.....and conveniently extend my time away from the menagerie which had become our home.

That done, I arrived just in time to learn the situation had changed and the decision had been made for Nicole to have a c-section to end her now 14 hour labor. This delivery was a replay of Dianna's labor back on that incredibly hot 4th of July in 1984 with Nicole. She too was heading into her 16th hour of labor when the OB gave her two options, continue to labor and have Nicole sometime in August or do the c-section and be done with it. She practically tore the pen from the doctor's pocket protector to sign the consent form with the promise of immediate pain meds to stop the contraction pain.

So we headed back to the hospital to see her prepped and wheeled out to the delivery room. It turned out to be a short wait. She left around 6:35 PM and they wheeled the baby out around 20 minutes later. We followed the pediatric nurse to the post delivery room where Rob got to help weigh and measure the little dude where we learned Rob Jr was 8 pounds, 7 oz and 19.2 inches long.

We watched her poke, prod, stretch and medicate the little man with a practiced hand. It looked like she had done this before, no wasted movement. When she was done, we learned Nicole had already made it back to the room and was taking visitors. All in one hour. Amazing.

Baby was quickly reunited with new mom for the first breast feeding and the rest is history. I can assure you there were many photos and videos documenting every yawn and wince baby Rob produced. I think I got a case of repetitive motion syndrome just snapping away on my iPhone. And it's just his first day of life.

So now we begin a new phase of our lives as new grandparents to our grandson Robert Xavier Orbe (pronounced Orbee)Jr.




  2. Let me know when you catch up and have 10 grandkids. There's a birthday almost every month, Christmas is a mad house (and expensive) but we wouldn't trade if for the world.