I woke up before my alarm went off. Not completely unusual for me, given the circumstances. You see, I was pregnant and nearly due. Sleep didn't come easy. As I lay there waiting for the clock to start beeping at me, I felt a pain. "That felt like a contraction," I thought. This wasn't my first go at this. I noted the time, and I waited. Five minutes pass and another pain. And I waited. Five minutes, another pain. Repeat a few times. "Yep, I'm in labor," I thought. "I should call work to tell them I won't be in." The day that I'd both looked forward to and dreaded like... well, I can't think of anything horrible enough to compare it to... had arrived.
I'll never forget what Ms. Diva said to me when I said, "I'm in labor." She said, "Are you sure?" I chuckled at her and replied, "Yes, Diva, I'm sure. I have done this before, you know." With that taken care of, there wasn't much else to do but wait. After a couple hours, I called my friend (and then boss) to let him know what was up. He had offered to come to the hospital and help keep an eye on Kevin until my parents arrived so my husband could focus more attention on me. And then I called my parents so they could get ready and start on their 3 hour drive. And then more waiting. After another hour or two, I figured it was time to head to the hospital.
I think, by then, it was about 9:30 am. Hell of a morning, don't you think? I'll just gloss over most of the rest of the waiting time here as it's about 14 hours worth. Talking, tv watching, crying, etc. Eventually (and just as my epidural was wearing off), it was time to push.
And there he was, my perfect little darling Christopher Joseph, at 11:28 pm. The nurse had tears in her eyes as she wiped him off and put him in my arms. She checked his heart briefly and nodded. Yes, it was still beating. We all cried. All of us, except Christopher. He never made a sound. We held him and talked to him for nearly an hour before we gave him back to the nurses for a bath. Sometime during that 45 minutes, Christopher's heart stopped beating and he slipped quietly into the other world on April 13, 2008 at 12:13 am.
I still have no explanation as to why Christopher's heart didn't develop correct. Even the University cardiologists, the hospital geneticists, the neonatal intensive care obstetricians, none of them could tell us why. It just happens, they would say, in 1 in 1000 cases. I'll probably never know, and, even if I did know, it wouldn't change anything or make it any better. They told us, months prior to his birth, that Christopher probably wouldn't live through the pregnancy, but he did. And if he did, there was an even greater chance (a near impossibility) that he would survive the physical stresses of labor and delivery, but he did. And, if in the rare chance that he did, there was no chance, none, that he would live for long and there was nothing that they could do for him. He defied them as much as his little heart could take. He certainly inherited his mother's stubbornness.
Happy 4th birthday, Christopher. You're never far from your mama's thoughts.