The Birth Hour(s)

Prologue: I started getting baby fever about six months after I met my husband. He was finishing up grad school and I had been considering if I wanted to stay in the area or join a cruise line. I move around a lot. I can’t even tell you how many times I moved since my own birth. Lars’ parents tend to vacation often but pretty much settled down in Salt Lake City for most of his life.

We’re getting sidetracked. So Lars is well traveled but lived most of his life in one place until he finished high school. I did a lot of moving in life between Ohio, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire until my parents divorced after second grade and so my mom homeschooled all of us the following year. Subsequently I never actually left Ohio until 2012, aside from some short vacations less notable than the globe trotting Lars’ family experienced.

I’ve always loved moving around but with a newborn now I can appreciate the need for stability. This is her story as I remember the last year where my train ride has not quite settled on an exact location. We call her Blueberry as far as nicknames go and I think Lars doesn’t want me to use her real name just yet so we’ll leave it out for now.

Chapter 1: It was the beginning of May 2021 and Mom (Davina) was working at a wonderful little bakery mostly in the front of the house because her previous baking job left her burnt out and likes talking with customers more than making food for them. Dad (Lars) had landed a great job with just one interview. He studies electrophysiology in mice. Not really sure what all that neuroscience stuff means but I know he is looking at sex differences between a specific strain of mice that take forever to breed and require a lot of attention. They have to get head-posts glued to their skulls…ewww anyway gives me the “hebbie-jeebees.”

So work was good for both of Blueberry’s parents. They take a lot of walks together and Mom is weened off of some medications that didn’t seem to be doing anything helpful anyhow. Mom is disappointed by the lack of yoga studios but overall feeling pretty healthy. Dad is a great resource when it comes to convincing the doctors what to do. Mom wishes he would take his own medical advice.

So June hits and we’re like: YAY lets see if Mom and Dad can make a baby. Haha very funny. Apparently that was the easy part. Blueberry says yes she’s 100% on board. My mom always knew it would probably be that easy. My Ama (Grammy Mishal) had no trouble getting pregnant five times and my Aunt Jenna already had her fourth and final child. *(update Aunt Jenna is now having a fifth child).

Fast forward to the middle of July. My Mom takes about 4-5 pregnancy tests before getting a couple positives and at that point was so excited about peeing on sticks that she thought that could be her day job. The doctors will claim otherwise but I’m fairly certain conception was sometime in mid June.

It’s still COVID everywhere but things are starting to open back up and Lars’ parents ask us if we want to go to Hawaii. That would be fun! Crap, airlines are swamped with desperate travelers but no employees because they’ve all been layed off. New idea Lars’ parents say lets go to Yellowstone. Anders and his girlfriend, Bria, are good with that so we make the plans and get a good deal because we go to the less popular side of Montana.

The Saturday in July before we take me (Blueberry) on a plane is quite fun. Dad’s neuro-nerds invite us out to dinner and nobody but Mom and Dad know we are prego. Mom is very disappointed that she can’t have a fun cocktail but the salad is tasty and we also share some soft pretzels with the group and Dad’s boss is able to charge everything to the Labs spending budget. Dad is supportive and chooses not to drink most of the time throughout the pregnancy.

Chapter 2: Mom and Dad have their bags packed and its the first time we’ve been on a plane together. We arrive in Salt Lake City to meet Grandpa Raoul in his brand new red Tesla. It’s like a spaceship that has a glass roof and can make farting noises just to confuse people. We get to the house. I’ve never been there but mom has visited one other time and Dad still has a bunch of his stuff in his old room in the basement. Mom enjoys snooping in Dad’s yearbook and is not surprised to see that there a very few pictures of Dad. He is pretty shy.

Grandma Patty is a gracious hostess and runs around asking if we need bigger suit cases, extra hiking shoes or need snacks. Mom loves snacks so she says yes to all of this. Mom is also thirsty not used to the dry heat and high elevation. She finds the cats and dogs very comforting. Chester is Lars’ old cat, Baron was Anders and I don’t get to meet him and Bria until later in the trip but I know of them. The two pups are Rocky and Stormee both beautiful and friendly muts and high energy. They hike everywhere with Grandpa and Grandma pretty much everyday.

We go to Whole Foods and get giant pork chops, salad supplies, cookies (Grandpa loooooves his cookies). Mom really wants Kombucha but hasn’t touched it for several months since it has a tiny bit of alcohol in it and she doesn’t want me to have birth defects. There is some yummy probiotic drinks like Green Goodness and anything with ginger seems to suffice. We get back in the spaceship and mom helps Grandma make dinner.

We take a walk around the “Burbs” with the rambunctious dogs to help our food digest. Then everyone is beat and we start getting ready for bed early so we can drive to Yellowstone in the morning.

Chapter 3: Mom wakes up later than Dad but still early enough to see the sunrise. Lets fast forward to the exciting bits. I don’t remember most of the car ride anymore but we go fast in the bigger car and only stop a few times for gas and food. Grandma has taken care of booking us in a Super 8 which is a little run down and not as cool as the log cabins but less accessible to wildlife entering unannounced. Anders and Bria arrive late because they drive in from the fancy side and are stuck behind about a million Bison. Before they arrive Dad gives Mom the okay to announce my presence. Mom is bursting to tell someone and starts to inform other close family members like Ama, Steve (Mom’s step-dad) and her sisters. They eventually tell Anders and Bria too who are excited to be included.

So for the next week I’m bouncing around in the car, drinking decaf coffee which mom tries not to have constantly because bathrooms are a little limited. Dad knows his way around the park but its all new to Mom. We take lots of fantastic photos and the best part of vacation is the white water rafting. Mom and Anders sit in the front and get soaked. Lars and Bria sit in the middle and Grandma and Grandpa take the back except for the Guide. Mom is the only one to get out of the raft the whole ride and needs Dad to pull her back in since the waves are pretty big and Mom is pretty small.

We end the trip on the opposite side where most tourists come in and say goodbye to Anders and Bria then its back in the car loaded up with candy and missing our cats Chicken and Goliath. Grandma convinces Dad to take some music gear with him, Anders gives Dad one of his guitars that has barely been used in years. The plane trip is less exciting on the way back but Mom likes the adventure and crosses three more states in the USA off her bucket list.

Chapter 4: Mom hates going to the doctors office but meets her OB and they get along well. Dad either drives her or meets her for every future appointment. We are part of a family support program that meets every week with other expecting parents and Mom and Dad try to read as much as they can about the whole process while working some long hours. We only have one car and the buses are super obnoxious. Sometimes Mom or Dad get drenched in the rain but overall health is good.

Blueberry (that’s me) gets lots of check ups and we find out I am a girl. Of course girls run in the family and most of us thought I would be a girl. Mom tells people at work she is pregnant with me and Dad tries to keep me a total secret but people find out about me eventually. Mom feels tired and huge by November but tells the bakery she will work until the end of January (Due date is March 1st 2022). Dads parents and Anders and Bria visit at Thanksgiving and have already begun giving me presents. I have a fancy crib and big changing table and books. Mom makes soft pretzels but dad pretty much handles the cooking so mom can relax. We drink Sparkling Juices and wish to have more time with our family but they have to go back to Utah and Chicago.

December is a big birthday month in the family. Dad, Mom my cousins Max, Jim and Mimi, also Dad’s cousin Lauren share this holiday season. Christmas is exciting I get to hang out with Ama, Hannah, Jenna (plus Jason and cousins), Rebecca (Adam) and even a short trip from Steve. Adults claim to just do stocking stuffers except for the cousins and Mom but it turns out we give lots of presents all around. I get a special party at the apartment most of Mom’s family is staying at and we watch Auntie Fucci’s (Hannah) favorite movie Meet Me in St. Louis. It’s exhausting and Mom gets some bad news that a close friend has passed away but overall a nice time.

January flies by and before I know it Mom is finished working which is good because she can’t walk as much as she’s used to and Dad works overtime but manages to keep up with most of his hobbies (Mom thinks he needs to cut back on those). In February its snowing a lot and mom starts knitting me booties hats and mittens. Lauren (Dad’s cousin), Esther and some other close friends start giving Mom support as she worries about how to take care of me. I arrive a little early February 26, 2022 at 2:32 a.m. I’m about 7 and a half pounds, Mom blanks on my length currently but a head circumference of 33 inches and my doctors all say I look very strong and healthy so we head home Sunday night. Ama arrives March 1st my original due date.

Chapter 5: I’m ALIVE wow the world is big! Mom has to stop writing now her sister Rebecca is going to call her in about one hour.

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