Letters to Tristan: The Day We Met


It was a sunshine-y Friday on the day you and I were “formally introduced”. It was warm and dry, which is pretty much the standard in Las Vegas. I was in panic mode. I went to the bathroom and discovered blood… lots of blood. “This can’t be normal for someone who is pregnant”, I thought. “I am having a miscarriage. I know it. How can I be having a miscarriage so late in my pregnancy? I couldn’t bear to lose you again. I have to… I have… Ok… I have to get it together. Deeeeee!”.

My good friend and long-time roommate, Dee, did a .05-second change in the Superman-Phone-Booth and had me seat-belted into the car by minute two. She was well prepared for this day, and I was glad she was, because I was not. She drove as fast as her little blue Honda would let her go, and I was nervously impressed with her car-chase-scene-worthy approach to the Emergency Room entrance doors. I waddled up to the check-in counter; face full of tears, and tried to offer an explanation. Dee came in moments later and wasted no time in taking control of the scene. She put her hand around my shoulder and gave me a little squeeze. “I’ll take care of this, honey. You sit down and try to relax”. I was thankful to have a friend like Dee. She had a wonderful way of “mothering” you without being annoying.

I scanned the room for an open seat, but they were few. I settled on a nice, cozy corner – great for hiding. I wanted to hide. I must have looked a mess. I couldn’t help but wonder what sorts of strangeness must be bouncing around in the heads of the moms and dads who have been waiting for hours to have their sniffling children evaluated. I even worried what Charlie would be thinking if here were here. Charlie was a regular at another hospital in town. He was homeless. He smelled horribly. You could never understand what he was saying when he spoke to you because his sentences sounded like one long word sprinkled with strange, guttural noises. That was Charlie, and I wondered what HE would think of ME. I know, I know… but that’s what I do. I take some getting used to.

I felt as if I was wearing a spotlight as I excused my way through knees, over-sized purses and children. Normally, I would feel downright silly being wheeled around like a helpless lump, but today I was relieved to see the nurse headed toward me, wheelchair-in-hand. She helped me into the chair with more delicacy than I felt necessary, and we were on our way. She told me not to worry. She said we would get this all worked out, together. I believed her, and it made me feel better. Before long, I was in a nice firm bed in a nice chilly room, chewing my nails as I made mental rhythms from the surrounding medley of coughing and crying and cart-rolling. At this point, it was hard to choose which was more important; chewing my fingers or using them to hold closed the crispy paper exposing my behind. I tried to manage both at once. The nurse arrived and asked me to lay back and put my feet in the dreaded stirrups. I made a solid attempt to hold back the rapids, slowly overtaking the space where my eyes were supposed to live, as my mind drifted off into the land of worst-case scenarios. But as quickly as I left Earth, I was startled back to it with a stern “Helllloooooooo, Honey!”, (condescending sigh), “You’re dilated to five centimeters. You’re having a baby.”.

“A baby. I’m having a baby. Ohmygosh! I’M HAVING A BABY!”

The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I remember the epidural hitting a nerve that felt like it made my leg jolt. I remember the rigidity of the pain and the “peer pressure” from the nurses commanding me to “Push!”, “Breathe!”, “Sit up!”, “Sit down!” and “Grab this bar and squat!”. (It reminded me of the time I attended that Catholic Church session, with all of the orders being tossed about.) I remember being scolded by the doctor because my jelly legs wouldn’t stay in position. This would be due to that little epidural mishap from earlier that apparently affected my legs, and not my belly – which was really angry with me right now. I remember threatening the aforementioned Doctor with; “If you don’t get that medicine man back in here, I’m not pushing anymore!”; to which she replied; “OK, don’t.” – and she walked out the door. I didn’t see her again that day, but I didn’t care. I saw him.

He is Tristan. Tristan; one of thirty-eight Knights of the Round Table who was not only a great fighter, but a skilled musician who possessed a beautiful singing voice. My Tristan was a Knight. He rescued me from the self-serving, emotionless, irresponsible me I was up until the very moment of him. And look at him! Has there ever been something so beautiful? I made him. I did this. I’m not even sure I deserve him, but here he is – getting ready to celebrate his tenth birth-minute. Already, we have been through quite a lot together – a death scare, a planned adoption and an unfortunate disappearing-dad trick. But the Maker had his own plans for us and now…

Now here you are – in my arms, beneath my tears… and as close to my beating heart as I can possibly nestle you. I find it difficult not to touch you, to smother you. I’ve never had anything like you before. You are more beautiful than all of the flowers, sunsets, puppies and glasses of fresh iced-tea in the world. You are perfect. How did I get so lucky?

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