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February 08, 2001: Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

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Saturday. Mom calls - her usual weekend phone call. Because of older sis's problems with her first pregnancy, the doctors are checking her nearly every day now. Any hint of high blood pressure and she's to be admitted and induced, but until then, she's okay. She's due Wednesday. I make sure, for probably the fiftieth time, that she and older sis have my cell phone number, just in case.

When my nephew Aaron was born. I was working on a project in South Dakota - performance tuning for the application at Gateway computers; working in a warehouse painted like a Holstein cow. I found it amusing that in these tin cans in which we worked, certain hallways had been designated tornado-save zones, as if somehow this part of the building was any safer than any other part for having the roof peeled off, much like the lid of a sardine can. Several times that summer the sirens went off and we all dutifully trooped out to the 'tornado-safe' hallways and stood there for indeterminate periods of time.

I and my coworker had rented apartments, and I'd only set up local phone service, since I made all my long distance calls on the calling card anyway. I sat by the phone after my mom called to let me know she'd finally gone into labor. I was on the phone with my dad (and I don't remember where they'd shipped him that month but he wasn't in town either) and he got paged, and we knew it was them, telling us the baby had come. He had to hang up to call them back and I sat at the little table in this mostly-bare apartment, huddled in a chair by the phone, waiting for him to call me back and tell me how everything was. They had never found out what sex the baby was, and so when I finally called, too impatient to wait for my dad to call me back, my brother-in-law teased me by telling me weight, length, everything else but what it was.

Tuesday night. Mom is over for a fitting for the wedding dress and notes that older sis's blood pressure was a bit high but so far she's okay. It's going better this time - she hasn't had to be hospitalized and we're all crossing our fingers that nothing happens this time - that she doesn't have to be induced, that Nathan decides he'll come out normally, that this pregnancy will be just fine.

When older sis was nearly full term with Aaron, her blood pressure shot up so high the doctors were worried. She was hospitalized, and had to stay on her side for several days. Despite their best attempts to induce, Aaron just didn't seem to want to come out. Older sis later joked about the diet she was given - clear liquids. She's developed an amused aversion to orange jello as a result. They fed her that a lot in the hospital.

This time, it is liver proteins - something about them in her urine, something about an adverse reaction to magnesium treatments. I'm not clear on the details except that the situation was serious enough to warrant hospitalization, and once again, inducing labor. Even after Nathan arrived, small (6 pounds) but perfectly healthy this morning, she must remain in the hospital til at least this weekend because of the liver condition. The doctors are warning her about any future pregnancies - there will be no discussion; she simply gets a set time and then a c-section. They are not willing to let it reach this stage again. We'd all hoped that Aaron was a fluke; Nathan proved it wasn't.

I haven't seen him yet, nor will I til this blasted sinus infection has reached a more tolerable level. And I'm feeling a little guilty because this time, I never found out how long, how much he weighed; all the little details you're supposed to ask. But I didn't really care so much about all of that - I can find that out later, and it's just numbers anyway. All I care about is that older sis will be okay.

And of course, that Nathan - my new little nephew - is finally here.

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