We often map out our entire lives, even though we know that plans often end up insignificant in the grand scheme of life. Like many people, my sister had the next ten years of her life mapped out: she would send one son off to college and care for her remaining two children (ages 10 and 8) and, eventually, the restaurant she has been dreaming about owning since junior high would finally be hers.
It was a perfect plan. She worked hard to ensure the timelines matched up with what she wanted. No one – especially Optimus Prime (the second oldest of my siblings and bossy as hell) – could have guessed that a little angel was pouring milk on her blueprints.
Pregnant. I’m pregnant. How did this happen? (It was not the time to insert one of my classic R.M. lines.) I have no idea what to do with a baby. I listened to the rant and waited for her to be done. Optimus was panicking, and I was imagining all the kisses and cuddles I could squeeze out of my new niece or nephew. Being one of the strongest women I know, there was no doubt that she would take this new challenge on like a champ. The funny thing is, I never processed how far that strength would be pushed.
On March 3rd, I had the honor of being selected to stand by another sibling giving birth, since I was also there for my younger sister last September, I had to be there for this sister too. Ok, I just wanted to be the first to hold him. It was all planned out: she would be induced, give birth, I would cuddle the baby, and then go home to my wolf pack. Of course the baby, Tristan, had his own plans.
After hour twenty, I lost count of the hours my sister was in labor. The epidural was patching – which meant that every contraction went on forever, with only a little buffer for the pain. Just when I thought the drama was over, her cervix took a lunch break at 6 cm. What the hell?! Who quits at the half-way point?! After an extended discussion with the doctors and each other, we agreed to a C-section. I was finally minutes away from holding my little cuddle buddy. As you might guess, the best plans always get blown sky high especially when my sisters are involved.
Remember the patchy epidural? The anesthesiologist was playing on his smartphone for most of the surgery – which had started off well. I wanted to look up the protocol for C-sections and beat him in the head with it. Another anesthesiologist eventually replaced him after being called out to another room. The doctor pulled the baby out, and he looked beautiful. I wanted to laugh and cry. I was immediately smitten with the little angel. “He is perfect,” I thought. Then fear sunk broken glass into my joy as I heard my sister scream.
“Oh God I can feel the pain it is too much!”
I couldn’t wait to take pictures, but I stoped half way between the operating table and the baby warmer, frozen by the sound of my sister’s pain. Then I turned and saw the doctors doing their best to stop her bleeding. Her eyes were red as she tried to endure the pain of being cut as the anesthesia wore off. It took superhuman control for me to speak to the replacement anesthesiologist calmly.
“She is in pain. Give her something, please.”
She responded with “I’m worried that she will pass out or become unresponsive if I give her more.” She looked concerned.
Let me give you a little insight: my sister moved a freezer while pregnant. There was no one there to help, and she had to move out of her house. I swear that woman has the pain tolerance of the Hulk. So when she was screaming from the pain of feeling her insides being sliced, I knew she was serious. She never cries.
I glared at the young woman and spat out, “We will cross that when we get to it.”
“Give. Her. Something. NOW.”
Once the medicine was in, my sister immediately started drifting off; I was barely able to get her to open her eyes long enough to see her new angel. “My little Tristan. I love you” Were her soft words before shutting her eyes.
Later that day, my sister had to have two blood transfusions because she lost so much blood during the C-section. I would love to say that I didn’t know how close she came to dying, but I did because our souls are deeply connected. It was as if part of her started to leave.
Imagine trying to appear calm while knowing that there is a good chance someone you love won’t make it. I knew how much blood she’d lost because the nurses had to keep getting more cloths to stop the bleeding. There were so many blood-soaked rags that one of the nurses pulled another basket over to dump them in.
The doctor had said, “We can’t stop” while she screamed. Rage nearly suffocated me. The doctor’s tone was cold and unfeeling. I knew they had to keep going, or she would die, but hearing him ignored her pain tore at my soul.
After the ordeal, I finally left the hospital at 2 am. I had to be at work at 9. I needed to shower, eat, sleep and kiss my children. My husband had been holding down the fort for twenty-four hours. But, once I was in the privacy of my car, the tears broke free in a torrent. The reality of how close she came to leaving us all behind stabbed through my heart.
When I came back to the hospital that afternoon, I found my sister smiling. Relief washed over me at the sight of her joy. I kissed them both. She looked up at me and said, “I am totally in love again.”
No matter what her plans had been before that day, they would never have been complete without Tristan.
I too am in love again.
Until next time, minions, stay naughty because you’re good at it.