It's a Glorious Life
She started early labor last Friday, and we all went through the frantic rush to San Francisco. But of course, she wasn't dilated enough, and after spending the night at my friend Cindy's place in Oakland, I went back to Sacramento. This was, of course, against my instinctive judgment, but my daughter insisted. By Sunday evening, Clarissa was in hard labor and her friends had to drive her to the University of California at San Francisco hospital. It was an indication of things to come. Once she was admitted, she was having fairly strong contractions, but she wasn't dilating. That didn't change for almost three days. As it turned out, my grandson's head measured 14 centimeters at birth. A woman can usually only dilate to 10 centimeters. Obviously, there was an issue with the size of my grandson's head. I am tempted to crack a joke about that, but since he's a triple Virgo, I better not get started. He's going to be more sensitive than most of the crazy folks in my family. We have a tendency to make a joke out of just about anything, and something tells me that Xavier might not appreciate this family characteristic.
Anyway, poor Clarissa was in hard labor for almost three days. She had to have potocin (not sure of the spelling) to induce labor, and three epidural injections into her spine to take the edge off the pain. That part was just harsh. The first two injections didn't work, and I have no idea how Clarissa was able to withstand that long needle going into her spine three times. I had to take out my prayer beads and say The Greatest Name over and over again just to be able to stay there without screaming, "Leave my daughter alone! Hasn't she suffered enough?" But My daughter held up under enormous pain; Marcus Aurelius and all the rest of those old stoics would have given up a lot earlier. Amazing, absolutely amazing.
By Wednesday morning, however, she was completely worn out. Her labor wasn't progressing, so she reluctantly signed a consent form to have a C-section. I had to go downstairs to the cafeteria for some coffee, and to have something to do besides sit there in the room and cry. My daughter looked so despondent, and it was beyond what I could handle emotionally. All of my words of comfort sounded shallow and worthless. So I sat in the cafeteria, drank coffee and prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more.
An hour later, I went upstairs and to my surprise, I heard my daughter's voice as I opened. "There's my Mom! Where've you been? You've missed everything!" I stood there, dumbfounded. There was a team of doctors and nurses working on Clarissa so she would deliver the placenta and all the other birth stuff. Apparently, Xavier decided to pop out as his mother was being prepped for the C-section. By the time I walked through the door, my grandson was being transferred to a nursette underneath some warming lights (similar to the ones that keeps Big Macs warm at Mickey Ds'), where he blinked and grimaced under the harsh glare. Gaylen, his father, took a cell phone picture of him as his eyes tried to adjust to the unfamiliar lights. My little Professor X was glaring at the camera like Ice Cube from the NWO days. That's another thing I better not tease him about later.
Anyway, it's been a tumultuous week, and I'm really exhausted. But it's great. I have my family, crazy as we are, and an absolutely wonderfully supportive group of friends. (Cindy, Anthony, Kim and Mari--there are no words to tell you how grateful I am for all of you. All of you were my grounding cord to reality throughout all this.) So I'm back to "normal" which is always a paradoxical word for me. How normal can my life be? It has never been that way, and probably never will be. And even though it hurts sometimes and I become discouraged, angry and irritated when things don't happen the way I think they should, I still appreciate what I have. Patience. That word again. Funny how it keeps coming up, over and over again. You would think I would get a clue at some point. :)
Ya' Baha' u' Abha'!