The Rider Chronicles 1 – Excrutiating Waiting

Nine months of waiting finally over,  Rider, our grandson, was born early Friday morning after more than two long days of labor.  On Wednesday afternoon, we dashed from Alexandria to a cousin’s place in New Jersey, close to Manhattan where the baby would be born, staging ourselves for the final dash to the prize: meeting our first grandson, seeing our son a father and his beautiful bride, a mother.  She had been in labor for 12 hours when we started the drive, so it seemed a reasonable time to get going when we did.

Then we waited.  Wednesday night we waited.  Our son sent occasional text messages like: “Closer contractions.  Still at home but there’s improvement,” (meaning progress) and: “Still at home.  Trying to relax while at the same time get it going.  I’ll keep you posted.”  He kept us posted but we were always eager to hear more and so, so anxious for it all to be safely and happily concluded.  We went to bed that night breathing prayers for momma and baby and the papa who was supporting them. 

All day Thursday we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The few updates he sent (he was occupied at that moment, supporting his wife through the increasingly drawn-out labor) were hours apart but like sweet drops of water to a desert traveler.  We were thirsty to know more.  They moved to the birthing center at some point that day yet we, and they, still waited.  We occupied ourselves as we could.  I wrote plus chatted online with our two other children, overseas at that moment.  The waiting grandma chatted with her cousin, played the piano, did what she could to stay busy.  We were grateful for mealtimes that gave us something to fill another hour or so, while we still, still, still waited.

The messages from our son became terse.  “Birthing center,” (meaning they had arrived there), “4 cm dilated,” (progress…good), “Water hasn’t broken.  Baby o.k., mother is super tired but ok,” (nicely wordy, giving us a lot to chew on in the long stretch ’till the next message).  We went to bed Thursday night, nervous and tense and wishing we could do more than wait, wait, wait.  How could we sleep, not knowing what was happening, but sleep we must, exhausted from our long day of  expecting.  Looking back, I know that day was just as long as any other day, the same number of hours and minutes and seconds as usual.  Living in it, however, I wondered if maybe a few more hours had been thrown in.

I set my phone to beep when any text message arrived to be sure not to miss one from our son.  Funny that for some reason (maybe that I use a $25 cellphone), when The Message finally arrived at 5:45, we slept right through it because the message alert, on its own, had switched to vibrate!  Not long after, however, I woke up and read the following: “He is here!  8lbs 1oz, born 4:49 a.m.  Long night.  Natural birth.  Once we get out of this room to the other unit, I’ll give you a call.”  I woke my wife to give her the news.  Waves of bleary-eyed early morning relief hit us to know the labor was over and the baby and his parents were o.k.  We didn’t know the name yet, but “He” was plenty at the moment, music to our ears.   She rolled over for a little more sleep and I dashed downstairs to share the news, through online chat and text message, with our other two children and their spouses.

(Next: A Day of Sweet Havens)

Our new little grandson!

About literarylee

I sling words for a living. Always have, always will. Some have been interesting and fun; most not. These days, I write the fun words early in the morning before the adults are up and make me eat my Cream of Wheat.
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