Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Begining...

I've been requested to blog about my adventures raising my grandson, and I think that's a great idea. Below is a story I published last year on his birthday on another site - and is a great starting point for my...

Tales of Austin, the boy wonder!

Seven years ago today, my daughter called me when I was just walking in the door of my office. MOOOOMMM, (she was wailing) I think it's time! I asked if she was sure (there had been a few episodes of early labor and some later false labor) and told her I'd be there as soon as I could get back home. Oh, I sounded so calm! In reality, I was flinging my purse in one direction, laptop in another and had dropped my coffee. I was 37 years old, and about to be a grandmother. I closed my phone, promptly puked in the trash can, and sat in my chair to gather my thoughts. (just for a second…) then I grabbed the trash can and ran to the bathroom. In those days (still I worked in a gorgeous office, and we had BIG containers of mouthwash in the ladies room.

I was very grateful for that mouthwash.

When I made it back to my desk, the office Faery had gathered my belongings together and was waiting with a fresh cup of coffee, and sent me on my way. I still miss that office Faery!!!

I live in the North West corner of "The Greater Atlanta Metro Area". Jennifer had chosen to deliver in a hospital in the North EAST corner of said metro area. It was 29 miles of morning rush hour. Jennifer has NO pain tolerance. I am a maniac driver on a GOOD day. And at that time, I drove a big SUV. Let's just say that the trip that day is STILL legendary among Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett's finest and leave it at that.

When we finally got to the hospital, the doc said she was just beginning labor, but that she wasn't ready to be admitted yet. All it took was one look and the doc decided maybe we could try a little dose of pitocin rather than sending us home. We walked all over that bleeping hospital… and eventually it was decided that it was time to admit. Before long, Jennifer's step father was there, Christian arrived with his parents, and I sat down for the first time since I got out of the truck. Things moved pretty fast from that point, and I was good to go until it was time for her epidural. That is one grotesque pop when they push that shot! Jenn was a trooper, but it was obvious the pain was more than she could handle, I'm glad she accepted the medication. Let me tell you, being in the delivery room when you are NOT the one delivering is MUCH better!

I won't share too much of the delivery, Jenn would be ever so thrilled with me.

When Austin was born, I held my breath. Here he was! I so wanted to hold him, to touch my grandson. My GRANDSON! What a little miracle, what and absolutely amazing thing! But I stayed back a bit – trying to give his parents some room. (This was really hard for me. But I did it)

The nurses brought him to the warming bed to clean him up and I called his name. He turned his head to me! That amazed me, and frankly, the nurses too. Jennifer laughed – she pointed out I'd been talking to him every day for months, of COURSE he knew my voice!

And that was when I saw it. My perfect baby grandson was retracting. It's a sign there are issues with breathing, it's common in cardiac babies. And I had seen it before. Then I saw the look on the nurse's face as she turned to pick up the phone. I don't know how I got there so fast but I whispered "what's wrong"? "Oh nothing" she said… "bullshit" I replied, "he is retracting, what's going on?" They called for ICU, and I nearly lost my mind right there in the room. That is a hard thing to do when you are struggling to keep your daughter from seeing what's happening, and you know that being calm is the best choice. Jennifer was scared to death, Christian looked like he'd been hit by a bus and had no clue what the hell was going on. The Doc didn't have much to say, just tried to reassure us that Austin was going to be ok. Jenn was afraid to let them take Austin and insisted I go too. Well, they of course wouldn't let me in the ICU right away, so I stood in front of the doors, desperately hoping they would come back and say they'd made a mistake and he was fine.

They didn't.

I wanted to be outside, but my legs wouldn't carry me, so I slid down the wall and lost it. I didn't give a damn about the rest of the crap in my life, all I could think was "Why? HOW could this be happening again?" I was struggling to control myself, and failing miserably. I called my parents – my father answered. He could hear me crying and I know that freaked him out – déjà vu for him as well as me. "I'm on the way" he said. "Tell me where to come." God I needed my dad… But I told him to wait until we knew what was going on. Just hearing his voice helped.

Much of the next few days is a blur – Austin spent three days in ICU, and ultimately he is healthy and whole. Some babies don't transition well, and he was one of them. His heart is fine, his lungs (trust me on this one!) are healthy. But that was a VERY long three days and I am glad it is all over and far in the past.

Today, I'm thinking about that day. Today Austin is 7. He hangs in that balance of baby and young man… and would be SO unamused that I still see my baby grandson in his face! (so let's not tell him, OK?) He is such a wonder! I love seeing his mom in him, and even more, seeing myself in his eyes. (If he was going to inherit a feature from me, at least it was my best one!)

Guitar Hero Legends of Rock is in the trunk of my car. Yeah, it's too old for him, but he wants it. This one has two guitar controllers, so he and his mom can play together. He has been asking for it for 6 months. He has looked all over the house trying to find his birthday presents – still has no idea what he is getting. Last night we baked cupcakes for his class. He is so excited today! I've been singing Happy Birthday to him for a week. He is not amused when I sing "You look like a monkey, and you smell like one too" lol. Poor kid has a lunatic for a Noni….

And his Noni absolutely ADORES him.


  1. Dana... What a beautiful story. Your love and devotion to Austin shines through every word. He is so blessed to have you and I know you will agree - You are blessed beyond measure to have him.

    Please keep writing.

    Love you,

  2. Congrats! Grandparents need a voice and I am glad you are going to share your life with us! Count me in:)
    Love Tawnia

  3. What a story! Tawnia is right. Grandparents are grossly unrepresented in the blogosphere. How did you come to be raising Austin? If it's not too personal.

  4. Great story, D. It's so good to hear your voice in writing. I'm looking forward to many more. Even knowing for such a short time, I know there a more interesting stories in you. Keep them coming.

  5. Thank you all! My next post will be about this past summer, and my advent as his guardian. I'm struggling a bit with that as its painful and still pretty fresh, but perhaps this weekend I'll manage to finish it.