SUMMER DAYS, SWOLLEN LEGS
Friday, May 1, 2009
I never realized how incredibly hot the North Carolina summers were until I moved down here in May of 2005. I was seven months pregnant at the time, and while the pregnancy had gone pretty smoothly (physically) for the first seven months (minus the morning sickness), things starting getting tough toward the homestretch. I moved in with Robbie's family and we (Deanna and I) had the privilege of sharing a room with Robbie's sister, Jacqueline. Jacks is about a year and a half younger than me, but I never really noticed the age diff. The three of us shared a king sized bed, and let me tell you, that thing wasn't big enough for the three of us! We rolled over each other, kicked each other, and probably could have injured each other pretty badly. Deanna, Jacqueline and I really bonded during that time. And Deanna seemed to enjoy kicking me in the right rib every day and night. I swear she had size 13 feet in the womb, or at least that's what it felt like. But I wasn't mad about it...I was actually proud because I knew that little babe would be an amazing swimmer someday. Okay, so the complicated part. I'm a pretty small person. 5'4", slim/athletic build with narrow hips. Robbie on the other hand, is 6'1", muscular, over 200 lbs on a good day. He's a pretty large person. Unfortunately for me, Deanna takes after Robbie. And my body wasn't made to carry that size baby! I developed severe cankles (my calves went straight down to my ankles) during those hot North Carolina months. Not only that, but Deanna also decided to shift her weight to my right side, which caused my right leg to swell even more. About a week before I was due, my doctor noticed the swelling and was worried that I had a blood clot in my leg. She ordered me to the emergency room where they decided to give me a blood thinner just in case. But wait, they didn't just give me the blood thinner. They injected the blood thinner into my very pregnant abdomen. "Wait..where are you putting that needle? Can't we talk about this?!" Ouch. It hurt, but the physical pain was nothing compared to the emotional pain I had endured. So I dealt with it. But here's the real kicker (no pun intended)...I wasn't allowed to have an epidural for 24 hours after receiving the blood thinner. In other words, if I went into labor within the next 24 hours, I wouldn't be able to have drugs during the delivery. On that note, Mrs. Leonard pushed me out of the hospital in a wheelchair (I got the star treatment!) and she ordered me to bed rest on their large blue living room couch as soon as we got home. I knew that I wanted the drugs, so I tried to lay completely still. I stared up at the ceiling fan. Sigh. This was going to be a long 24 hours. I looked down at my stomach and I saw Deanna kicking me again. As frustrating as the kicking was sometimes, it made me excited because I knew there was a real person in there. "Now you just stay in there or else!" I threatened the little babe. "Don't even think of coming out of there until your due date next week." "Kick your feet if you understand!" Good. De and Don came over to the Leonards when they heard things were getting a little complicated. They were visibly concerned about me and they could tell how uncomfortable I was. De talked to me and helped me to stay strong. She always knows the right things to say. Don asked if he could bring me anything. "Yes," I replied. "Bring me the head of a pig and a fiddle." No, just kidding I didn't say that. But that would have been pretty funny. What I did say, was, "Hawaiian Punch, please!" I don't know what came over me, but I had to have Hawaiian Punch (Tahitian Treat) immediately. It was the most intense craving ever. Lo and behold, Don trekked out to the local grocery store and bought me an entire gallon of Hawaiian Punch. For the entire week before Deanna was born, Don remembered to bring me my Hawaiian Punch. While it might seem like a small, silly gesture, it actually was one of my fondest memories of the entire pregnancy. Because of the Hawaiian Punch, I knew that Don was going to be the type of dad who would do absolutely anything for his daughter. And that was the type of person I wanted to raise Deanna. Don still reminds me of the Hawaiian Punch debacle from time to time, and it always makes me smile. I was irrational, emotional, unruly, and stubborn. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. Next weekend, Don, De, Deanna, my family, and the Leonard family are coming to my graduation ceremony at NC State. Who knows, maybe we'll all share a celebratory toast afterwards? If so, I'd like for nothing more than a nice tall glass of Hawaiian Punch to celebrate.