(You can catch up on G‘s story right here: A Third Baby, )
I breezed through the first trimester of my pregnancy with G. Though I had a history of preterm labor, I had no history of miscarriage and, as a result, I blissfully assumed all would go fine. It did. Of course, when I write things like “everything went fine”, that still means I endured worse morning sickness than most women will every have to face– the kind that ultimately lands you in the hospital from severe dehydration after vomiting 23 times in less than 12 hours. Yeah. Good times. :) But, still, our baby was healthy and I was fine and I happily and (relatively) uneventfully moseyed on into the second trimester.
At sixteen weeks, I faced a whole laundry list of restrictions. As I’ve said, they had no idea what caused my second baby’s early arrival, but they wanted to take some precautions. I had a lifting restriction of ten (!) pounds. I was allowed to keep up my walking on the treadmill, but was asked to cut out my jogging intervals. Certain, ahem, intimate activities were limited. These restrictions were in place from 16 weeks to 32 weeks– the most “high-risk” part of the pregnancy for me, in the opinion of the doctors.
It was February of ’09 in north-central Indiana. We were working hard to faithfully follow the guidelines we had been given. I had a doctor’s appointment the next day, and everything seemed just fine. My husband called to tell me that he had been called in to the city for an emergency meeting and that, as a result, he might be early, or he might be late. He just wasn’t sure. I cheerily thanked him for calling and went back to having tea with his mother.
He got home slightly early that day. “So, what was the meeting about?” I asked brightly, mildly curious and, quite frankly, trying to show an interest in his day.
“Eh, nothing you’d want to really hear about, Sweetie,” he offered. He kissed me and headed into our bedroom to change. I left the kids in front of “Between the Lions” on PBS and followed him. I flopped my still-not-very-big five-months pregnant self on the bed and smiled up at him, “What’s up?”
5 months pregnant with G
He sat down next to me. Took my hands. I heard him inhale and then he told me, “First of all, I want you to know that everything is fine. You don’t need to worry. All you need to do is take care of yourself– that’s your job. Just take care of yourself and the baby. Okay?”
My heart beat picked up and the panic started surging through me…
He continued, “They called me in today to tell me that my job was being eliminated...” and then a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo about how many weeks he’d work and how many months of insurance he’d have and severance and yada yada yada…
“How?” I demanded, “How can they eliminate YOUR job? You’re the manager! How are they going to run an office with no manager???” I was so mad at his bosses in that moment. I had known there were cut-backs going on at the company, but it never occurred to me that his job would even be at risk. At worst, I worried he’d lose a couple employees and have that much more work and responsibility. But, no. His job was going away. And soon.
I pulled myself together and made dinner for the family. We got through the evening and, eventually, I drifted off into a fitful sleep that night. Several hours later, I was awoken by the sound of my son gasping for breath. I shot out of bed and, as I yanked open his bedroom door, the barking cough started.
My husband wrapped him in a thick blanket and carried him out into the frigid night air. I called the pediatrician. By four in the morning, the three of us were all asleep in our bed, with the window cracked to the freezing breeze.
When we woke to a heavy snowfall, my husband headed out to work, almost like nothing had happened. It felt weird to watch him don a shirt and tie for a job that would be going away so soon. I called the pediatrician back and scheduled an appointment for A. Then I called my OB’s office and rescheduled the check on G. And, then, those tasks completed, I called my mom. I’ve really never been one to call my mom in the morning hours. As a result, she was already on alert when she saw my number on her caller ID.
The floodgates opened. “I don’t even know where to start,” I told her. “It’s snowing. And I have to drive 17 miles into town. A’s sick– I’m pretty positive it’s croup. His breathing is still so rough today. And, Mom… I can’t even believe his job was eliminated. His job! As manager! How does that happen???”
I know she could hear the panic in my voice and, from so many states away, she tried to keep me calm, to remind me that I needed to remember my own health and well-being and that of this baby inside me. I knew that. But I was truly struggling…
I could handle not being able to lift heavy things.
I was being asked to handle way, way more…