Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crack Baby

July is a month for birthdays. My mom was born on the 11th and my husband’s grandma’s birthday is July 8th. My dad and daughter share the same day: July 24th. This year there will be two less birthdays to celebrate. Not sure yet how I will honor my mother and father who passed away less than six months ago. Maybe I’ll just think about them.

I remember waiting for my daughter to be born. I was actually energetic throughout most of my pregnancy. I ran! I biked! I walked to work every day. Until my due date, and then I woke up and thought, Okay now. Where’s this baby?

As an expectant mother I expected to have a baby. Any minute. But the day came and went with nothing to show for it.

That was it. The air went out of my balloon. I waddled over to my friend’s house. Sandy told me she had the remedy to help me get over my lack of baby blues. She had a baby for me. He’d been born with cocaine in his system and even though he could come home from the hospital his mother had to serve out her rehab—where she couldn’t keep Baby Douglas, so, Sandy wanted to know would I take Baby Douglas—for just a little while.

I really had no energy. AND I was going to have a baby, any minute.

Nevertheless, I said yes and Baby Douglas was dropped off at my house. Him and all his equipment. He had a monitor for his heart and several other wires I wasn’t sure what they connected to. I had to hold him by winding my arms through the cables. The machines went off frequently. False alarms. I spent a lot of time resetting the monitor.

Baby Douglas slept in the bassinet I’d set up for my baby. Aside from his machines screaming, he rarely cried. He mostly smiled and gurgled when awake. Outside of that he slept a lot. He was so easy to watch.

I certainly got over my baby blues. I rocked him, held him, and gave Baby Douglas a bottle. It was July and we had no AC and I was as big as a whale. But I stayed by his side. Waiting, for my baby to come.

A few nights later I awoke with a start. My water had broken. What a weird phrase to write, but I knew in an instance that I was going to have a baby within 24 hours. I woke my husband up and we did laps around the bedroom. By mid-morning I climbed into a van to go to the hospital. But first we had to get someone to watch Baby Douglas. We found a sitter and took off.

Twenty-four hours later I had a baby. A girl!!

By the time I came home from the hospital a new home had been found for Baby Douglas. (His mom was released from her program early and was allowed to care for him!)

Based upon my experience with Baby Douglas, I expected my daughter to sleep, smile, gurgle, and otherwise be pleasant. No way! She cried ALL THE TIME. I know—it’s the cocaine babies that are supposed to be sensitive to outside stimulation, have overblown startle reflexes, and need constant soothing. In my exhausted fog I sort’ve wished to have my crack baby back.

After about 8 months of being cranky she settled down. She actually turned into one of the happiest kids EVER.

As we approach my daughter’s 23rd birthday, I think back on that day. I remember my father and Baby Douglas and wish them both well—wherever they are.

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