THE SONIC BOOMER
For the past four weeks, I’ve been in Kansas City, playing Scrabble with my daughter Jennifer while keeping one eye on her stomach. She had promised to produce the first grandchild containing traces of my own DNA, and I wanted to make sure she didn’t back out at the last minute.
She didn’t, but it wasn’t exactly easy.
Jen and her husband, Greg, are both engineers, but they also run an organic farm that sells movable greenhouses and supplies microgreens (we used to call them “sprouts”) to all the major restaurants and hospitals in the city. With such a connection to the earth, they were hoping Jen could have a natural childbirth even though she was considered a high-risk pregnancy. So they hired a woman called a “doula” who, for $500, acted as a patient advocate and massage therapist. I offered to do that for free as a “mom,” but they wanted someone less emotional.
Turns out they made the right choice. Jen’s labor was drug-free, but it took 40 hours, so long that the doctor left to deliver twins elsewhere while Jen was pushing. Greg just looked up, and the doctor was gone. The nurses were gone. Jen might have been pushing, but the baby was hanging on by its toes. Everyone had given up.
Everyone except Jen.
Two hours later, my grandson arrived. Three hours after that, I was allowed to see him. Thirty-six hours after that, I was allowed to hold him.
It was a long four weeks, but those hours were the longest. The doula said she’d never seen a woman stronger than Jen nor a mother more patient than I.
“That’s how we roll,” I said. “Jen does amazing things, and I wait patiently to see what she has done now.”
I will admit I was emotionally wrung out by the 40th hour. I had been sitting in the waiting room the whole time, refusing to watch TV or even go out for a snack. I wanted to focus on beaming all my strength Jen’s way. When the hospital wouldn’t allow me to see her immediately afterward, I cracked. My poor son-in-law came into the waiting room to see if I wanted anything, and I shrieked, “I want to see my KID!”
It was only another 40 minutes after that.
Mother and baby: doing fine. Grandmother: certifiable. But now the baby is home, and Greg and Jen (daughter of a special events manager) announced his name to all in attendance with a small ceremony.
Greg came into the room carrying an ice cream cake with a lit candle “0” and three Scrabble racks on top. The letter tiles spelled out his first, middle and last names — but in anagrams. It was up to us to unscramble them. Long story short, his name is not NOORI but ORION and his initials are “ORG.” At first I thought of “dot-org,” but his great-grandmother (my mother) pointed out, “He’s halfway to ‘organic’!”
No, he’s 100 percent there. They all are.
In their honor, I am eating a carrot and thanking my lucky constellation that it’s over.
I’m not really as patient as I look.