Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Aaaaaannnnd We Tacked...

(Author's note: obviously this post will be published WELL after 12/18 and MANY things have happened since 12/18. It will take me a while to get caught up. That's part of being a new mama!)

As I sit here in my living room, listening for my newborn to cry out for mama between clicks of the keyboard, I cannot help but reflect on the last three weeks. It's December 18th and, if things had gone "according to plan" Peegie and I would be brand-new parents as of YESTERDAY...not seasoned, veteran parents of nearly one week. But, as the saying goes, "if you want to make God laugh, make plans!"


Over the last three weeks, I found myself thinking a lot about summer vacation...but, not because of fear of imminent child birth!


Every summer, Peegie and I travel to Hope Town, Abaco, for summer vacation. We usually plan our vacation to coincide with Regatta Time in Abaco...a five-race regatta that starts in Green Turtle Cay and ends in Marsh Harbour. Since 2002, we have been privileged to crew for Jeff Gale aboard local favorite, Abaco Rage.


The Rage is a traditional Bahamian work boat with a loyal crew. She is 28 feet long, constructed of wood, boasts heavy cotton canvas sails and relies on human ballast sitting on sliding prys to perform sailing maneuvers. It's the most exhilarating fun you can have in a regatta, and also the most precarious fun as one wrong move will send you off the end of the pry into the Sea of Abaco.


So, what does all this have to do with being pregnant or giving birth?? Tacking.


Tacking is a sailing maneuver performed during an upwind run, when your mark is straight ahead of you, and the wind is on your nose. Suddenly the wind shifts, and you have a choice to make: tack into the wind, or be blown off course and not hit your mark.


Jeff Gale is a veritable legend in racing circles in the Bahamas and beyond. His tactics are extraordinary and generally correct. As a skipper, he does not lose many races. Sailing with Jeff is a both an honor and a privilege, and it's extremely fun. Except for tacking. The same maneuvers that usually haul in the hardware are the most challenging aboard the slippery surface of the Rage because it's just not easy to scramble across a wet deck and 15 other humans to stake a claim on the high side of the boat - especially when you don't even know you're tacking until the boom hits you in the head. Jeff is particularly soft-spoken, and tacking maneuevers are usually announced in the following manner: "aaaaaaaannnnnd we're tacking..." all while he is pushing the tiller to turn the boat.

That's what the last three weeks have been like: one tack after another - all without any kind of warning, yet necessary to keep us on course to hit our mark, and not be blown off course.
It all began with the diagnosis of the evil Toxemia on November 27.
A regular Tuesday, a normal appointment with my OB doctor, resulting in bedrest. Each week thereafter brought a new wind shift, and a new tack.

On December 4, my blood pressure "had not responded to bed rest as expected" so my doctor informed us he wanted to "monitor [me] on an inpatient basis." Our charge nurse told me the chances I would leave the hospital without a baby were slim and none. Hooray! Two weeks of bed rest in the hospital. Exactly what I did NOT want. Tack.

On December 5, both my OB and my perinatologist agreed I could be discharged (despite blood pressure readings that really didn't change much...). I felt like I'd been let out of jail free - with a date to return for a nicely planned, scheduled delivery by C-section on Friday, December 14th. Tack.

On December 11, my OB cheerily answered our questions about the surgery, listened to the baby's heartbeat and examined my overall well-being. I was positively giddy: for the first time in two weeks, I'd had an appointment with the doctor without being surprised by a tack. As it turns out, the maneuver was only delayed by a day, and it was the mother of all tacks.

On December 12, my sister fetched me at 1:15pm to make a 1:30pm pedicure appointment. After our feet were scrubbed and massaged and our toes polished and shined, we were off to the perinatologist for a final sonogram before baby was to be delivered just two days later. Not so fast. I walked into the hospital for a routine visit with my doctor, and I walked out three days later (yes, I WALKED out of that hospital) with a precious, beautiful and, most important, healthy baby boy. TACK!!! (It's a really good thing I'd had a pedicure...)

Looking back, we could not have planned Zane's arrival any better. In the end, we got everything we wanted: a healthy baby, a healthy mama, and Christmas at home as a new family. We've learned so much since that day - about each other, about our new son, about the infinite depth of love, and how children make a great life so much better. But mostly we have learned that letting go, and letting someone else call the tactics, is part of the fun; and we still brought home the best trophy of all.