Friday, August 13, 2010

Accidental Mom - Part 2

 A Shotgun Wedding and a Dramatic Entrance
By Sarah Lolley       

The sequel to the first installment of the Accidental Mom starts off with hormonal changes and ends with a dramatic entrance also riddled with hormones. As a fellow friend of mine said to me after hearing I was pregnant, I was about to lose control of my body and she was happy to be watching. Silly me, I thought that had already happened on numerous occasions by the will of Jack Daniels.

It was January of 2008 when Patrick and I returned from meeting his parents in Romania after having bumbled our engagement by losing the ring as he proposed on a provincial mountain overlooking Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle). The ring was found days later by a friend Patrick contracted to find it. It was nothing short of a miracle. My life was starting to resemble a chick flick, however, I don’t believe in happy endings so everyday was more like a horror movie you wanted to keep your eyes closed for fear of what happens next.

The ring on my finger now symbolized the excitement and anxiety growing inside my guts quite literally. I always felt that I had no idea what a successful relationship felt like since my parents were unsuccessful. Through all my daydreams of the perfect wedding that my heart conjured up, my head always told me that that image was balderdash. Now I was pregnant and engaged to a fate that was so oblivious to me as to be beyond any preconceived notion I might have ever held about my future. This was indeed up there with impulsive and crazy, and yet it was completely normal.

Who ever said that morning sickness only lasts for the first trimester is full of bologna because my mornings lasted for eight months. During this time, every mother I met liked to tell me that they felt free to eat whatever they pleased. Ha! It was my fate that I became lactose intolerant to the point of wanting to barf if there was the slightest bit of butter in a pastry. I was also exhausted and prone to body rashes; therefore, I didn’t have the pregnant glow either, unless you count my bright red, hive riddled face. It was as if I was a slug and a bratty kid poured salt on me, and I began to disintegrate and get fat.

Furthermore, when I discovered I was having a girl the previously mentioned friend told me that being pregnant with a baby girl will suck the beauty of you. At this point, I wondered when the warm, fuzzy mommy feelings were going to start because most of the time I was about as cuddly as a shaved gorilla.

It was in my fifth month when the anxieties of getting married hit me like a psychotic episode. My due date of July 21st was looming over me like Armageddon. I had no idea what the world would be like after the birth of my daughter. The prospect of having a new body and quite possibly a new vagina also weighed heavy in my discussions with Patrick. He began to whimper that he liked it the way it was and maybe I should have a C-section, ya know, to make sure there were no complications.  

As we lay in bed chatting about such ridiculous notions as the size of my post baby body, I was coming to realize that there would always be someone between us. These were the last months we would ever be alone. Even when our daughter grew up, a part of our thoughts would always be with her. Parenthood was beginning to happen to me, happen to us. Oh Lord, we needed to buy a house. I wasn’t going to live in an apartment with a shower the size of a telephone booth. I was even unsure I could wedge my full term belly in there.

There are more exciting bits to this story than the details of our house hunting so I will be brief. The idea of moving out to the suburbs had the same affect on me that a new school would on a young child with glasses, braces, and zits. Patrick and I prided ourselves on our urban sophistication and we both agreed to hold onto our previous single lives a little bit longer by looking for a house in the city. After debating many cool ambitious renovation projects we decided on a new “green” constructed townhouse development in the South Side that promised to have our house finished in our short timeframe. We were so cute and gullible.

The responsibility of mortgage payments conjured the foreboding responsibilities of a financial commitment that stretched the lifetime of my daughter. I might mention that I was deeply hormonal and nearly every week we spouted more tears of joy or rage. My state of mind was so delicate that I was half afraid I might do something stupid like leave him because he was friends with his ex-wife on Facebook. I needed to get married in a bad way. I needed something to make me feel safe and calm the storms that were fixed in my head.

My dad, a retired heart surgeon from Louisiana, had been hanging about a lot lately. He conveniently had decided to retire at the same time I found out I was pregnant. Let preface by telling you that my father is a self proclaimed Confederate Jew that resembles a walrus with long ends of his moustache dropping down over his jowls and matching long bushy eyebrows that seem to obscure his eye sight. He started coming over solely for the purpose of expressing his desire that I become an honest woman and get married in a small plantation town outside of New Orleans called St. Francisville. He charmed us by telling us stories about how he was a prison doctor in nearby Angola Prison. It was a perfectly crazy idea.

I had thought that planning a wedding in three weeks would be as easy as a Vegas style wedding, but Louisiana style with a voodoo minister instead of Elvis (chapels in New Orleans actually offer this service). Instead the small backwoods town was full of large antebellum homes that were accustomed to big Southern weddings. I finally found one that wasn’t booked and was oddly called Desert Plantation despite being located in a lush weeping willow terrain. The owner Wilhelmina was raised on the thousand acre plantation and agreed to rent out the entire place for the wedding. The catch was I had to arrange the catering, minister, and photographer. This wasn’t going to be as easy as the voodoo wedding chapel on Bourbon Street.

The news of a Yank coming down to have a shotgun wedding became part of the town gossip after many days of begging many proprietors in frustrated tears to provide services on such short notice. The Reverend Jesse Means decided to come out of retirement to save the day and give me a proper wedding. He was a man that resembled Colonel Sanders and held many hats in the town, which came in handy when I discovered I didn’t have a valid proof of my birth in Texas. Patrick was a naturalized citizen with a translated divorce document; however, it was me, the born and bred American that had documentation problems.

“Those noodle heads in Texas, don’t worry your pretty head.” Rev. Means said to me. “We’ll get ya married, proper. Your daddy is from Louisiana and that counts for something. Just come down to the court house with your daddy and meet the judge.”

As if I needed something else to cry about, every gown I found looked like a Halloween costume. One of my very close friends was a wedding dress designer, Stephanie Keremes, who at the time was hibernating from social calls in her busy wedding season. She was use to high profile brides that spent thousands of dollars on a gown and often flew her around the country to do alterations or dressings the day of the wedding. I was just a little person in her world of crystals and delicate embroidery, until I started crying my eyes out in phone message after phone message.

“All right I will do it!” Stephanie said giving into my girlish moaning. “You know I will be there for you and fashion is one thing I can do. No diapers or babysitting, but if you have a wardrobe problem you can count on me.”

To have a couture dress made for my emergency wedding was like having a security blanket to take with me on the biggest ceremony of your life. It was a soft silver silk with the slightest touch of blue. She wove in crystals in the fine twisting of the empire-waist bodice. I wouldn’t have a rockin’ band or tons of my closest friends at my wedding, but I could have the dress.

On a bright misty April day amongst weepy Spanish moss, I walked down the steps of a large white antebellum house with only two guests to witness our wedding tears. My dad and Patrick’s sister Olivia were the wedding party and our witnesses. I had written my vows the night before.

“I spent a lot of time regretting heartache, but on this day I wouldn’t change a thing,” I looked into his eyes and said. “Because all of my mistakes led me to you, the best and most blessed mistake of them all.”

After that day I finally got my pregnancy glow. I was falling in love with the father of my baby even though he ran around with holes in his underwear and wanted to home school our kids to avoid any negative American indoctrination of our child. 

You might think that my story would turn less dramatic, but there are no breaks for the wicked. Since a couple of the brides that I played bridesmaid to didn’t get the chance to give me a bachelorette party they gave me a baby shower. Sarah, also a fellow accidental mom, hosted an open bar, co-ed party for me on the deck of the Firehouse Lounge on a sweaty June afternoon. What was even better was that many of my old flames, happy to see me happy, came to toast my little traveler in my belly. Since Patrick and I had just signed our closing papers for the house so we had a lot to celebrate. It was the end of June and we thought we had a month to get the nursery ready.

That evening, a few hours after the guests left, I finally laid down in the warmth of my life that seemed to be coming together when a tidal wave gushed from between my legs. “Oh snap!”

Patrick was at the new house painting and didn’t answer his cell phone so I called my dad who immediately came over. When Patrick finally answered I yelled at him, “What have I told you about keeping your phone close! My baby could drown! My water broke!” I was already sounding like a wife.

My dad arrived not long after Patrick.
“Where is your overnight bag? Let’s go,” said my dad.
“What overnight bag? I got a box,” I replied looking around at boxes. The movers were scheduled to come the next day.

We drove to the hospital in a hot thunderous storm. I was leaking so much water I was worried about the baby. I had never done this before and we hadn’t even completed our child care classes!

When we got there the nurses told us we had to first go to triage and they didn’t have any delivery beds open. At this point I was not an ideal patient. When a nurse told me they needed to examine me to make sure I really broke my water I replied with showing her the puddle I was sitting in. Although Patrick is an anesthesiologist he became worried as I started to shiver with pain and I still didn’t have an epidural. After discovering my monitor was hooked up wrong and my contractions were threw the roof I was six centimeters dilated and still no delivery room. My father and Patrick began freaking out at the nurses like two doctors.

The next thing I remember is being wheeled in the delivery room with my legs spread to God staring up at big bright lights that resembled an alien invasion. Then a nurse burst into the room and demanded that the delivering doctor quickly come to another room.

“Breath through the next contractions and I will be right back,” said the doctor to me.
“What, how do I do that?!” I cried out.
“Don’t do anything I will be right back,” Patrick said to me. “I need to get a different lens for my camera.”
“Don’t you leave me!” I screamed to no avail.

I laid there looking at the lights feeling the unforgivable urge to push. The only one in the room was the nurse holding my legs apart when the baby started pushing herself out. The nurse started freaking out and calling for a doctor. Guess who came out from behind the curtains - my dad.

“Glove me up,” he declared like a superhero. “I delivered 500 babies at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.”

If I could have fainted I would have. Thankfully, a team of doctors and nurses ran through the door and relieved my father of his heroism. In two pushes a little screaming human popped out of my vagina.

After the circus left our room and I could close my legs again, Patrick and I huddled around our daughter, who was just five and half pounds. We hadn’t agreed on much so far, but we had quite easily agreed on a name for our daughter – Lyra. The name is taken from the stars and has musical meaning in Romanian.

It was exactly a year to the day that we met. On that stormy night Patrick and I held each other in that little hospital bed exhausted from a year of magical and dramatic beginnings. Little did we know that the real challenges of our accidental parenthood was about to begin- and it would clutter baby puke and diapers across America and Europe.