Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Final Countdown

Tests, final paperwork, phone calls to make arrangements and my mother's arrival signaled that I was really at the crest of this wave.  Save any early contractions, I had a date and a time for the arrival of Alex.  Her parents were deliriously happy.  Why wouldn't they be? The end of 5 years of waiting was almost over for them.  They were at a crest too.  For me, it wasn't as happy as I was waiting my wave to come in to shore.  I'd been riding this one for 9 months and I was frankly anxious to get off my board.

I picked up my mom at the airport. The Arrivals area at the Key West International Airport is about the size of a finished basement in a large split level house.  You can't miss the luggage carousel, it's the only one they have not mention, it is right next to the door as soon as you walk in from the tarmac.  I knew she wouldn't miss me.  I was the size of blue whale.  I sat and waited until I saw her come through the automatic doors.  We hugged and chatted about her trip but it wasn't a happy greeting.  We both knew what was coming.  It wasn't so much what was happening but the anticipation of the unknown when something big is about to go down.

I wanted to put it out of my mind and just focus on the fact that soon, Alex's father would be out of my life.  No more drunken phone calls, tirades, threats, sobbing pleads, and frustration.  The idea that I would never have to speak to him again should have made me giddy.  When ever I'd get sad, I'd talk out loud to my mom about how happy I was for Brett and Kayla.  It was a happy time.  Two people were going to become parents!  No one was forcing me to do anything, it was my decision so why was I so sad?  No matter what I tried to do to rationalize that being sad was selfish, my heart wouldn't have it.  I had to accept what I was feeling.

The morning came when it was time for me to go to the hospital.  I had to report at 5AM for my c-section.  Brett and Kayla would be meeting me there for the big arrival.  The plan went that my mom would stay home with my daughter until later and my wonderful miracle of a friend, Angel would drive me to the hospital.  I had my bags packed for the hospital from the night before.  I sat on my bed in the dark and waiting for Angel's text message to let me know that she'd be downstairs waiting for me.  I couldn't help but think of my first pregnancy.  The contrast was polar.  Carli was not only planned but prayed for.  My late husband and I were so thrilled to await her arrival.  My onset of contractions kept us up all night and the excitement was tangible between us as my body let us know that our little girl would be joining our family in a matter of hours.  It was such a special moment as we drove together in the car to the hospital.  He was by my side the whole time and his face let me know that he was elated to share in this and didn't want to miss a moment.  This morning, I never felt so alone.  I wasn't going  to welcome a new baby with her father and bring her home.  I wasn't fantasizing about what it would be like to take her into her new room and rock my new little precious as I placidly stared down at her.  I was going to deliver a child that would be leave with someone else.  The sadness and the reality covered over me like a canopy.

I lumbered down the stairs with my bag after briefly waking my mother to tell her that I was leaving.  I made my way into the car and we drove to the hospital.  It was still dark and and silent on the island.  The revelers and bar staff were all gone.  Just me, Angel and her car.

We pulled up to the front door and the bright lights of the main lobby beckoned us from the black of the empty parking lot.  I hugged Angel good bye and walked toward the light as the doors parted for me.


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