Eight months ago my husband and I were told a really big secret. You know how hard it is to keep one of those. It was the kind that made us smile a lot, and look at each other with wonder and delight. Yes, you have guessed it, we were going to join the club that I have envied for what seems like years. We were going to be grandparents.
My daughter, Casey, and her husband, Marc, wanted to wait until she was further along before telling everyone, which makes sense — but how long could we keep quiet? Finally the day came and we could tell the world, then the waiting began.
I downloaded an app on the Kindle Fire that allowed me to follow along with the progression of her pregnancy. Announcing that the baby was the size of a lemon was very exciting for me, though I am not sure how my co-workers felt. There is so much information out there about pregnancy that I feel that I know more now than I did 31 years ago when I myself was carrying my first child.
Casey and Marc were learning all they could about labor, delivery, sleep patterns, and I was secretly following along. She even joined a yoga class for pregnant women in Burlington. (When I think about what that class must look like, it makes me smile.)
I love Thanksgiving, and it came and went, then came Christmas, which was wonderful, but I just could not get Jan. 11 out of my head — the baby’s due date. Casey would let me know how she was progressing and I was bursting with anticipation, but there was another feeling that I was having — fear.
They invited me in to be there for her labor, I wondered, can I do it, can I watch my daughter go through such an exhausting and painful thing? Then I thought, well, the least I could do was be there for Marc while he was there for Casey.
Her due date came and went and we waited. I was ready to leave the moment I got the call, again my co-workers knew every move that Casey and the baby (which I had nicknamed “Cozy”) were making.
Then it happened, I came to work on Tuesday, Jan. 22, and was ready to help put out another award- winning edition of the Addison Independent when my cell phone rang (it happens about twice a week just like the Addy Indy!) It was Marc and he simply said, “It’s time.” Suddenly, it did not matter if the classified ads page was ready. I dropped everything, called my husband, Crock, at his work in Essex and ran out the door. I told myself to keep to the speed limit, Burlington was only an hour away; I think I did a pretty good job staying on the right side of the law.
When I got to the hospital my husband was already there, and we met in the waiting room. I headed to the nurses’ station and announced “I am here to help my daughter, Cassandra McDonough, have her baby.” They said, “Why don’t you go wait in the waiting room and someone will be out to talk with you.”
What … are you kidding? I went back and told my husband what they had said and then tried to remain calm. After about an hour I said that I was going back, they must have forgotten about us. Then my cell phone rang, (yes, twice in one day) and it was my daughter. She asked where we were and I told her, then with a teary voice she said that they had a baby boy and that Marc would come get us. Marc came soon and brought us to see Casey. I still did not feel much like a grandmother — my daughter needed me and I was all mom!
There were some complications and the baby boy, Henry David, was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. They said he would be fine, but needed some extra care. They were getting Casey ready to be moved to her room and would stop by so she and Marc could get a good look at him before she was moved two floors down. I asked if we could see him through the glass and they said no.
We spent the day with Casey and Marc and tried to be reassuring and strong. I kept thinking I am a grandmother … but I still felt like a mom. My daughter needed us, we needed everything to be OK.
It was estimated that Henry would stay in the NICU for two weeks, but due to his strong and stubborn DNA, he was released in one week. The day finally came that I could go up and get my hands on him, and once again we were working hard to stay within the speed limit on our drive to Burlington.
I walked in and it hit me: I am there, in that wonderful club blessed with being both a parent and a grandparent. Love was oozing in the room. I was so proud of my daughter and her husband at all they had been through and there he was, my beautiful grandson, Henry! My heart overflowed with love, I am blessed.