Disclaimers: See Part 1
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They got word that Karen was going to be transferred to her room and they went back to the recovery room. Addy practically ran there.
When Karen became aware that she was about to be moved, she saw Addy.
The first words out of Karen's mouth were “How's the baby?”
Addy was overjoyed that Karen was concerned about the baby. “She's beautiful, Ker. They are going to bring her up too.” Addy kissed her, as Karen smiled, all teary.
“All is fine. They are going to take you to your room now.”
About fifteen minutes after they had settled in the room, they brought the baby up and put her on Karen's arms. Karen looked at the little bit and was delighted. Addy said she would never forget that moment as long as she lived. What she saw was that precious love she wanted so much for Karen. It was the realization of a dream for her and a new beginning for both of them. When Karen looked up and found Addy's face that's exactly what she saw.
Addy sat on the bed and put her arm around Karen leaning into her as they both contemplated their bundle of joy.
“I don't think we got the brown hair, baby.” Addy noted.
The little bit, definitely had blonde hair. Karen had not gotten her wish. Addy never expected it. Karen was very blonde and the donor was an alleged browned haired Caucasian male from Sweden . Yeah right, probably one of the two in the whole country! Anyway, it had been healthy sperm with certain other desirable characteristics they had been looking for, so they took it when it presented itself.
“Maybe it will get darker later.” Addy looked at the little one and later at Karen. “Baby, you are not planning on coloring her hair, right?”
Both Karen and James chuckled. The baby's hair was so light it was almost white. “She has your hair. I've seen pictures of you as a baby. She's all you. I can't wait to see her eyes!” At that very moment, the little bit woke up and opened her eyes.
“Oh my God!” Addy exclaimed and held the tiny hand. The tiny fingers clasped on to hers and held it tight. “Are they green? I'm possessed… again! Everyone laughed, but when the big green eyes in the room met the brown ones they each knew who possessed who. The attraction led to a kiss. James politely slipped out to give the new family some privacy.
Addy combed Karen's hair back with her fingers. “Baby, we made it.”
“Hardly. Things got pretty bad in there, didn't it Addypooh, I know. Don't forget I can read you.”
Addy smiled shyly. “Yeah, for a moment there, I freaked out. I'm not used to seeing all that medical drama, and then when I get to see it it's on my own turf and....”
“Talking about your turf, I think your turf here has been well preserved.” Addy smiled. She knew what Karen was referring to. “At least, blondie didn't have to go through any major trauma!”
“Well that is yet to be confirmed. I'll have to conduct a thorough check for confirmation.” She came close and kissed Karen burying her face into her neck and hair. Karen whispered in her ear. “Can't wait for your careful and thorough examination.”
Addy smiled. “Me either.” They kissed again. “You are not the only one suffering through this pregnancy, you know?”
“Suffering, huh? I'm so glad I'm not alone in that department.” Karen was getting all teary again.
Addy ran her lips through Karen's face. “Oh, baby, you are not. I've just tried not to show it.”
“Really?” Karen buried her face into Addy's neck.
Addy kissed her neck and ear. She whispered into it. “Oh Ker! How could you even doubt it, baby! I can't wait to be with you.”
The baby began to cry. ”Oh no! What's wrong?”
“Nothing's wrong. She's probably hungry. Here let me have her.”
“She's all yours!”
“I know.” Addy looked at the little one with loving eyes, and began to talk to her and she immediately stopped crying. ”You are so precious, little bit. You and I are going to be real good pals. I can just see it.”
Karen listened to the conversation delighted, as the little one made cooing sounds, as if responding to Addy.
Right then, JP made his entrance with a gigantic teddy bear and balloons in his arms. The man was hardly visible behind all the stuff he was carrying. James followed grinning.
“And where is the child of my heart? Isn't she adorable? She's got her mother's look. She'll be a heartbreaker! How are you doing, my sweet friend?”
“Fine, JP. Enjoying my life and counting my blessings.”
James sat next to Addy and was also mesmerized looking at the baby.
JP and Karen looked at each other and at how Addy and James were contemplating the baby. “I can just see that this child will be spoiled rotten! You guys are too much.”
After Karen fell asleep, Addy stepped outside to call Laurie.
“Hi Mom, how are things there?”
“Fine, baby, but you tell me first. I've been worried about you guys having to go through all that by yourselves. So, how is he?”
“He is fine, but he needs surgery. He needs a bypass. They are doing it the day after tomorrow.”
“Oh Lord! How's Joey handling everything?”
“He's fine, I'm fine too. I mean, what can we do? We go see him every day and stay with him.”
“Has he asked for me?”
“No. And if he does, I'll tell him something. Don't worry about that. How are Karen and the baby doing? I meant to call, but didn't want to intrude not knowing how things were going. I'd figure you would call me if there were any problems.”
“The birth was difficult and we ended up in the OR, that was when you called. She's doing fine. The baby had the umbilical cord around her neck and it was very scary, but she came through and is doing fine. Laurie, she is absolutely beautiful! She has blonde hair like Karen's and is just perfect. Just like you were.”
“Oh, Mom, I'm so glad for you and for Karen!”
“You have to come and see her.”
“Yeah, we'll come as soon as all this clears here.”
“Listen, Laurie whatever he needs in terms of medical expenses or if he needs any type of accommodation in his place, please let me know. He doesn't have to know it comes from me. It will be from you and Joey.”
“Yes, thanks Mom.”
“Keep me posted. I'll check with you in a couple of days then, or if you need to call me, you know I always have my phone with me.”
“Okay, kiss Karen and the baby for me. What's the baby's name?”
“Alexandra, I'll send you a picture. Bye.”
When she finished the conversation, Addy went back to the room. Karen had fallen asleep, but the little green eyes were wide open looking at the light coming from the window.
“Little Bit, you are so very beautiful.”
When the little one heard her voice, she stirred and began to make little sounds. Addy picked her up and smiled. “You are perfect, yes you are! And beautiful! Just look at you. Look at that little nose and what beautiful hands and fingers. Ooooh! Look at your nails, they are just perfect too. Looks like you had a manicure before you came. I'm going to dress you up and I'm going to get you pretty earrings and pretty bows for your hair. How could your mom think that your hair would ever be brown! It's almost white! Little one, you look just like her. You even have her butt, believe me on that one! I hope your eyes are like hers. You know, those are the most beautiful eyes on this planet, you can only hope to have them as well. You are gorgeous!” Addy was enchanted looking at her daughter and thanking God for the miracle that she was, in so many ways!
Karen woke up and was captivated hearing Addy's chat with the baby. It was one of many monologues that were to be between the two. Even when the baby was in Karen's belly, Addy would sing and talk to it for hours. It was her way of being part of the pregnancy and now it was the way for her to feel connected to the baby. Yes, she had promised Karen that this baby would have a lot of her in character and she was already working her way to that plan. The little one was always most at peace when she was in Addy's arms. It was as if she felt safe in those arms and as if knew that the arms that held her adored her.
After a while Karen spoke. “I hope you are talking to our daughter.” Addy turned around smiling. “She's the only other woman I could tolerate hearing you say those things to. Otherwise, I would be very jealous.”
Addy smiled. “I have all the women I need in my life. And you also know very well, you stand in a league of your own, my dearest. How are you feeling?” She kissed her and deposited the little one in her arms. Karen looked happy and relaxed.
Addy sat on the bed to talk to her. “Hum! I wonder why?” She bent down and kissed her while smiling. “Silly woman, of course you are tired. Your body has gone through a lot of trauma.” Addy was holding Karen's left hand. She still had an IV running on her right hand so that she could administer shots of pain killers periodically. “Is that working for you?” Addy was referring to the pain medication.
“There's no need to have pain, you know.”
The nurse came in. “I need to take the baby back to the nursery.”
“Can't she stay here with us?”
“No ma'am, hospital regulation. I'll bring her back early in the morning for her feeding.” The nurse left with the baby.
“Addy, you don't suppose she means…..”
“No, you are getting medication to dry your milk. She means so that you can feed her with the formula.”
“I still feel tired. I can barely open my eyes.”
“In that case, why don't you close them and get some rest?”
Are you staying here with me?”
“Of course! Not going anywhere.” She bent down and kissed her. Karen closed her eyes still smiling. Addy kissed her again, this time it was a longer kiss. Karen had her eyes closed but her smile grew larger.
Addy got comfortable in her cot and fell asleep a few minutes later. It had been a long, exhausting day for her and she was very tired as well.
The nurses were coming in and out constantly checking Karen. Addy concluded that JP's assumption about the food being bad on purpose to drive people out of the hospital was not the correct assumption. Why go through all the trouble of making bad meals, when they would achieve the same results through sleep deprivation? Unless they had people under anesthesia, sleeping pills or exhausted from child birth, there was no other way to sleep in the hospital! At around six in the morning, a nurse came in with the baby, handed it to Karen with a tiny bottle of formula.
Mother and child were having difficulties with the feeding. Karen attempted to put the bottle's nipple in the baby's mouth, but the baby didn't know what to do and was not opening her mouth. The nurse showed her what to do and as soon as the little one caught on she started to chug down the formula. Karen smiled. “Boy, she's really hungry!”
The nurse and Addy laughed. Karen was enchanted looking at the tiny little thing chug down the entire bottle of formula. “I think you are doing very well, Ms. Larsen.” She tapped Karen on her leg and left.
Karen looked at Addy. “I think not breastfeeding was a good idea. This tiny thing would have sucked me dry!”
“She's so tiny, Addy look at her! So beautiful too.”
“I can't take my eyes of her, Ker. I think she is perfect.”
Karen was looking at her when the baby moved and started to wiggle and to cry.
“She probably has gas. Here, let me have the bottle, put her in your shoulder and tap her back.”
No sooner had Karen done as instructed, the baby burped. “Oh, my God! You are a noisy one!”
Addy laughed. “Here, see if she wants the rest of the formula. There's still a bit left.”
Alexandra drank the whole thing and remained sucking as if wanting more. They burped her again. The nurse came back in to check on them. She also took the baby with her because the other nurse was coming to help Karen to the bathroom to shower.
“Shower! How? I'm still connected to ….”
The nurse explained that it didn't matter that she could roll the IV holder with her to the bathroom. She also told her that someone was coming to help her.
“Addy I don't want to shower, and I don't want anyone helping me shower.”
“Okay, let me see what I can do.” Addy left the room and talked to the nurse who was almost ready to come in.
“Okay, Ker. How about if I help you? They want you to get up and shower.”
“Ugh! Why? Don't they know I'm a little incapacitated here! Is it a hospital requirement that people have to shower or something?”
I think they want you to move and to get out of bed.”
The nurse came in. “I'm going to show you how to get up and we are going to help you to the shower and then Addy can help you in there.” Referring to Addy, she said, “If you need any help in there, you just press the red button.”
Getting up from the bed was awful. All those muscles that had been just cut were sensitive and Karen felt as if her stomach was going to escape though the incision. As she finally sat up, she leaned against Addy and almost fainted. “Addy, I don't think I can.”
“I'm right here baby, right here with you. Take it easy. No need to rush. Take your time.” Karen nodded still resting her head on Addy's shoulder. After she had recovered some she got on her own two feet. Again, the same thing happened. Both the nurse and Addy were holding her. Once in the bathroom, she sat on the stool inside the shower still wearing her hospital gown. “Here's the clean gown.” The nurse set it down and left. “Call if you need me.”
“Let's make this quick, Ker, so that you can go back to bed. We'll just let the water run over you, no big deal, okay?” Karen had her eyes closed but nodded.
Addy removed her gown while Karen was still sitting. Addy made sure the water was warm and ran the portable shower over her legs first. “Is it warm?”
Karen had her eyes closed and she was holding to the hand rail. “Yes.” She said nothing more. Neither did Addy. Addy knew how awful Karen must feel and wanted to do this quick. Addy used the liquid soap and lathered her back, letting the water run the soap through her body. Once all the soap was gone, she grabbed a towel and dried her.
“This was not the greatest shower, but it will have to do for now. Don't even move. I'll dry you right here.” Karen was still sitting on the shower bench. “When you get up, I need you to hang on to me so that I can dry your rear, then I'll put on the gown and we'll head for the bed, okay?”
Karen nodded. It was very difficult for Karen to move and not feel every muscle in her lower belly stretch. Addy was quick. She knew that Karen would not last long on her feet. “Now I need you to put your arms around my neck and to hang on to me so that we can walk back to the bed.” Karen did as instructed, but when she came close to Addy she leaned against her and started to cry.
“What is it, baby? It's okay. You are doing fine. You'll get better every day, you'll see. Come on, be my brave girl and let's make it back to bed.” Addy kissed her. When Karen made it to the bed, she was exhausted. It was like having run a marathon.
She cried more. “I feel so helpless … Addy.”
“I know, sweetie. I know. It'll get better. In the meantime, you have me right here. And you know I don't mind any of this. I love you.”
Addy leaned into the bed and hugged her. She whispered encouraging words in her ear. “You've got me right here, baby, for whatever you need. Leave everything to me. You are always taking care of me. Now it's my turn to care of you. You'll see how this gets better day by day and soon we'll put it all behind.” Addy was true to her word in being 100% supportive. She was there every inch of the way.
While at the hospital, Karen slept a lot. The birth had drained her of energy and she was weak. In fact even a bit anemic. Tiffany prescribed vitamins and a diet to supplement and build up her blood cells. Having a cut in the belly is a serious matter and even walking took some effort, not to mention getting up from a chair or from bed.
Every day Addy would walk with her up and down the hall to get her of the bed and get her to move. The walk was exhausting. Karen thought that once the baby was born she'd be immediately back to her old self. This was not happening and she was very frustrated. Karen was very independent and didn't like to ask for help. In fact, she thought herself as the one who was always helping others and having to be helped to do everything was killing her.
“Addy, I don't see an end to this! When am I going to feel well again? No wonder you kept putting off the c-section, you knew.”
“I didn't have one, but I had my gall bladder removed before they did it through the small incision and I know what is like to recover from surgery. So, yes, it will take some time, but you will see improvements every day and soon you'll be back to normal. Just give your body time to heal. Take one day at a time.”
“Yeah, but when we get home, you‘ll have me and the baby to take care of. I don't want you to run yourself ragged. I know you and that is what you will end up doing, I just know it. Maybe we ought to find some help.”
“I will not run myself ragged. I'll have people come and clean the apartment, and we'll order food. All I'll have to do is feed and bathe my ladies, that is all.”
Karen was in the hospital for about five days. This was the normal stay for a c-section birth recovery. Although most people are glad to always leave the hospital as soon as possible, Addy was not one of those people. She was of the opinion that the hospital is the best place to recover because you have trained people who know how to help you and what to do in case of an emergency and you also have all the facilities to make your recovery easier. Beds have railings which facilitate getting out bed and bathrooms have accessibility bars to hold on to and not fall, and many other things to facilitate recovery from surgery. Addy also claimed that in the hospital people rest better, because there is nothing else to do than to lay in bed and watch TV, read or browse the web. So she was glad that Karen stayed a little longer. Had it been up to her, she would have kept her in the hospital for the next two weeks!
During the time Karen was in the hospital, Addy stayed in the room with her. They had a private room and Addy arranged to have a cot brought in for her to sleep. Addy used her time there well. She slept when Karen and the baby slept.
At the end of the five days, Tiffany was ready to release Karen and the neonatologist signed off on the baby so mother and child were sent home. The day they were getting out of the hospital, Addy made the announcement that they would be moving back into the apartment. “We are going back to the apartment for a while. The apartment doesn't have stairs and it would be a lot easier for you to move about and we'll also be closer to the doctors if we need them.”
“Whatever you think it's best.” What? Addy had expected some opposition, and was surprised to get none.
“I was afraid that you'd put up a fight to go back to the cottage.”
“Addy, I just want to get out of the hospital and regain some type of normalcy in our lives, if such a thing is possible with me in this condition. The apartment is home too, you and me and now the baby. It's us.”
Addy smiled and ran her hand through Karen's hair. “Tomorrow morning I'll wash your hair.”
“I'd like that.” Karen turned and snuggled into her, while the little one slept on her lap.
The nursery in the apartment was equipped with all the necessary items. A crib, changing table, a dresser, a lamp, a night light all decorated with the Winnie the Pooh theme. They also had a bassinet in their bedroom because they thought they'd want to keep the baby close to them at first. Needless to say, the baby never slept in the crib the entire time they were in the apartment. They both felt that the nursery was too far from them. The fact that the nursery was across the hall from their bedroom and they had a baby monitor did not satisfy either one of them. The baby was too little and the ‘what ifs' were endless.
A lot of people offered to come and help. Laurie and Tania had volunteered to come, but Addy had put off the help until later because she thought that Karen would feel better just with her at first. She thanked everyone and explained to them their reasons why they were going to stay in the apartment and that the apartment was too small. She agreed to let them know when to come later on. So, for now, it was Addy taking care of mother and child. She did order the food and someone came weekly to clean and to wash bed sheets and towels. Addy took care of their laundry and the baby's. Every day that passed Karen was doing much better. Still walking slow, but at least, she was now moving more and seemed to have a bit more energy.
The first two days at home, Karen wanted to take care of the baby and do things but she tired easily and was not up to the tasks yet. Anything she did seemed to take a lot of effort. The second night at the apartment, when they went to bed, Addy woke up in the middle of the night and heard Karen sobbing. “What's wrong, baby?”
“Nothing. I just feel worthless. Like I'm failing at everything, Addy. I feel sorry for you and for the baby. I can't take care of her and I can't help you either. I feel like I can't do anything, and when I do is not the right thing. She cries and I can't calm her down, I'm also so tired all the time, I think she senses all that anxiety and I upset her more. I'm failing at everything…as a mother and as a lover. It seems like there's never time anymore. We haven't made love in such a long time…first because of the pregnancy and now look at me! I'm a piece of shit! I don't think I'll have the energy ever again….I can't even stand up for very long!” Karen carried on and on and on about all her failings. Frustration overtook her. “I fear that we are losing us, Addy. I feel like I've neglected you…” She started to cry again.
“Oh, sweetie, how can you say that? Come here! Ker, you know what's going on here? You are having post-partum blues. And it's absolutely normal. Come on, let's talk about it.”
“I can't believe how well you taken this entire debacle!”
“Because it's not a debacle.” Addy held her in her arms and caressed her back. “Only you see it that way. It's all normal. Let me tell you what I see, and how it is, by the way. You are tired because your body went through a lot of trauma. You were carrying a baby for nine months and you just had a major surgery, of course you are tired, if you weren't you wouldn't be human! And to take care of that all you need to do is rest. You need to recover. You need to allow your body to heal and to gather its strength again. You've done your part, baby. And extremely well! Let me take care of things now. I need to feel useful too. I don't want you to get up if the baby cries at night, and I will do the morning feeding as well. You are just going to rest. Is that clear? This is not a request, it's an order, and don't forget that I'm calling the shots around here for now!”
Karen smiled. “Yes, but….”
“But, nothing! For now, things have changed. You know how I say that I'm your love slave? Well, we are going to play this the other way around. It's your turn to be my love slave and to obey, moi, your master, yes?”
“Yes, master, but I don't see what kind of love slave I can be in this condition.” Karen grimaced and nuzzled Addy's neck.
“The kind that does what she's told to do period! By the way, on the part about feeling neglected, I'm not going to lie and say I don't miss certain activities, but we gave ourselves to this project and to all that was necessary to accomplish it. This has required temporary adjustments and that was expected. I do not feel neglected, nor do I think we have lost any intimacy. We come to bed every night, as we always have. I'm kept warm at night when we snuggle and I feel certain hands making sure all my parts are in place. I hope I didn't dream any of that because it sure felt pretty good!”
“If that's not intimate, please, let me know what is!” Karen continued to smile and kissed her neck.
“I believe that I've also made sure that all your parts are in place. Haven't I?”
Karen, still smiling, nodded in agreement.
“If I haven't been more thorough it's only because those parts have been pretty sensitive and I didn't want to make you uncomfortable. Soon, those parts will not be so sensitive and will be ready to be explored. And I assure you that they will be.” Karen continued to smile. “So, my gorgeousness, can you tell me what the problem is?”
Addy kissed her tenderly on the lips, then on her head. She also massaged her back coming down to her buttocks. “These are not sensitive so I can inspect them thoroughly anytime.”
Karen was quickly comforted. “Umm, I always like that inspection. Maybe you should do a sensitivity check on the other parts to be able to measure progress, what do you think?”
Addy chuckled. “Okay, let's start over here.” She kissed Karen's breast. “This seems to be okay.” She tried her nipple.
“Not going there!”
Karen protested. “Oh, Addy, I'm tired of hurting! Dam it!”
Addy chuckled. “Soon, honey, soon!”
“How soon is soon? I want you to grab me and…”
Addy silenced her with a kiss. “Sssssh! Soon.”
Addy came up with a series of things that Karen could do and she took care of everything else. She had to make Karen feel like she was doing something. Addy was in charge of the night feedings. Addy would also take care of the first feeding of the morning. Then she would change the baby and put her back in her bassinet.
Then she would get in the shower with Karen to help her shower and dress and bring her back to bed. The bottles were ready in the refrigerator. So, if Addy was asleep, for the next feeding all Karen had to do was put the bottle in the warmer, get the baby and change her and come back to the chair in the bedroom and feed her. Karen's job was to rest and to feed the baby during the day. If Addy was up during the day, and she was most of the time, she would bring the baby to Karen for her feeding. Addy was not the type of person who was used to sleeping during the day. She had to be exhausted for such a thing to happen, but occasionally it did. Addy would give Karen the baby's laundry to fold when she got it out of the dryer. Although it was a small thing, it kept Karen busy and she felt she was doing something productive. Addy would set up cushions for her to be comfortable and feed the baby. Addy loved to watch the feeding sessions because she loved to see how Karen was falling in love with her baby. Addy thought it was adorable.
Addy was in charge of the laundry, meal preparations, cleaning spills, sterilization and preparation of the bottles of formula and the million other things that needed to be done. At night, when the baby was put down to sleep, Addy was exhausted.
Fortunately, the baby was not very fuzzy, and after the first few weeks, she was sleeping most of the night, allowing the women to sleep at least five solid hours. The rest of the time was spent feeding, bathing, or soothing their daughter. There was so much laundry to do and so many bottles of formula to prepared. It seemed like they needed an army of people just to tend to the baby's needs and there was just Addy and a very tired Karen.
“Come sit with me, baby. You need to rest.” Addy came and leaned her head on Karen's shoulder. “You make it look simple and you are making it easy on me, but I know you and I know that you are over working yourself.”
“Nah! I think I'm getting old and don't have the energy I used to have.”
Karen looked at her. “You without energy? I don't think I'll live to see that day!” At night, in bed, Karen caressed and rubbed Addy's back and whatever other part she could touch.
In the early morning, Karen would often wake up listening to Addy's conversation with Alex over the baby monitor. The baby slept in the bassinet next to their bed, but the diapers and her clothing, along with all the baby's stuff was in the nursery next door. Addy made sure the changing and the feeding occurred in the nursery, which allowed Karen to rest better.
“Okay little one, now that you've eaten, let's check that diaper, I smell a surprise. Wow! And a big one it is! How can this happen? You are so little, how could you have so much inside of you? You have obviously emptied out. I don't even know that I can wipe you clean without ruining something in there! Oh dear, we certainly don't want to risk that! I think we are going to need some warm water for this task. Let's go to the bathroom real quick and quietly. We don't want to wake up Mommy Karen.”
Addy took the baby to the bathroom where they had a portable baby tub. Addy had it all figured out and had a hand-held shower head from the tub come to the baby tub where she had a sort of reclining sponge to position the baby. “Okay, the water is nice and warm. Let's get you all cleaned up. Ooooh! That feels good, doesn't it?” Karen could still hear the conversation and the little one cooing and making all sorts of cute little sounds.
“Yeah, it sure does. Let's get some baby soap and wash you real well, we don't want diaper rash for sure. Okay, now that we are all refreshed let's get you in your little pink towel here. I can see that you like all this! There you go, and now let's tippy toe back.”
The little one was happy. “Okay, now, let's get some of that diaper rash cream on and… Oh, no! You had more coming! Alexandra! What have you been eating?”
Karen was dying of laughter in bed. Another trip to the bathroom for more washing, then back to the bedroom. “Okay, little one, I hope that was the end of that because if this continues we are going to have to call the doctor. I don't know that it would be normal for someone so tiny to have so much inside! Hum, okay. Lots of cream, we need all sorts of protection in this area. Now let's get you all wrapped up in this pretty little diaper and get you back in your jammies. There you go! I can see I've made you happy. It's a gift from what I hear. At least, that's what Mommy Karen says.”
When Addy came back to bed, she noticed that Karen was awake. “Hey, you are supposed to be sleeping.”
“Yes, but I love to hear your conversations with the little one….the baby monitor was on in the nursery.”
“Oh, shit, Ker! You should have told me! I didn't realize…and here I was trying not to wake you!”
“I know, but you are adorable talking to her!”
“Adorable, huh? You wouldn't believe how much poop that little one can store. Be on the lookout. She takes her time and then goes for seconds. We are going to have to wait her out before cleaning her up.”
They had gotten used to having the baby in the bassinet in the room with them. One night in bed, Addy came up with a plan. “Karen, I know that we've just had the nursery done in the cottage and all, but I think I mentioned to you that I would like to make a change.”
“I don't like the fact that the baby is going to be so far from us once we are back in the cottage.”
“What do you mean so far? She's going to be across the hall! Our tiny little hall upstairs!”
“Well, I was wondering if we were to knock down the wall…”
“What?!” Karen turned to face her. “We are knocking down walls now? First, it will be too noisy and she will be frightened, second….what wall are we talking about?”
“Precisely, that's why we should do it before we move back.”
“Oh, God, Addy! What is it that you want to do?”
“I want to make a room off our room for her. We'll put a door to the hallway for when she's older, but for now the door would be locked, so that the only way to her room is though ours.”
“Addy, that means that when she starts to walk, we are going to have her in our room every other minute! And you know what that means….no privacy….hello?”
“Well, that won't be for a while. In the meantime I'd feel better if I knew she was closer to us and only accessible through our bedroom.”
“Oh, alright, do whatever you want, but the minute she starts to walk, we open the other door and close the one in our bedroom. There will be a door in our bedroom, right?!”
“I wasn't planning…. but we could…..!”
“Aggghh!” Karen turned on her side and pretended to go to sleep.
“She won't be able to get out of her crib, you know! And by the time she does we will have things changed. I'll call Sandy tomorrow and ask her to make the changes.”
“Good night, Adriana. I wouldn't be surprised if Sandy stopped taking our calls after all this! Woman you are too much!” Karen pretended to be annoyed, but in all honesty, she felt good that Addy was so preoccupied and attached to the baby. A few minutes later, she turned around and put her arm over Addy's waist.
Addy caressed it and smiled. “Good night, my baby, I love you too.”
They cuddled, as usual.
During the first month, Alex had diarrhea, diaper rash, and colic. On the second month, after her last feeding of the night, Alex was restless and crying. Karen was anxious because nothing they did would make Alex stop crying. “Why is she crying? She can't be hungry! Could she be in pain? Do you think she is sick?”
“She could have colic.”
“What do we do? Should we call the doctor?”
“Just hold her and pat her back until the air comes out.” As Karen was putting the baby on her shoulder, Alex projectile vomited all over Addy.
“Oh, God, Addy! This cannot be good, we must call the doctor. I read about this projectile vomiting, this could be serious.” Addy was drenched in vomit. “Go change. Oh, Lord, please, help us!”
Addy couldn't help but smile when she saw Karen's face and heard her plea. This was the woman who did not want to have child! “Sweetie, all is fine, please, calm down. The baby will be fine. This happens to babies all the time. We'll call the doctor anyways, but please calm down.” Addy opened a drawer and grabbed another t-shirt and shorts and was changing as she was talking. Alex looked perfectly fine. “Okay.”
“Okay, let's call Jenna.” Jenna was Gerry's niece. She was Alex's pediatrician.
“Okay, but I think she's fine now that she got all that out of her system. She's sleeping peacefully and she does not have a fever.” Addy took temperature by placing her cheek to the baby's head.
“Shouldn't we get the thermometer?”
“Okay, but I'm sure there is no fever.”
Addy went to the nursery and brought the thermometer. It was one of those quick read type that you run over the baby's forehead. There was no fever.
Still, Addy thought that Karen should talk to Jenna for peace of mind. Once Karen talked to Jenna, she calmed down a little. Alex was now sound asleep, probably feeling better. The conclusion was that it was gas while feeding her that had caused her to vomit.
Karen collapsed on the sofa. “I don't think I'm going to make it. She's so little, so fragile! There's always something going on with her and we never know what it is! It's like a guessing game, there's got to be another way to handle this! I am so afraid to do something wrong and hurt her or not know what to do and watch her go right in front of me!! I have never felt so ignorant about something! No matter how much I've read in preparation, I feel totally unprepared …Maybe there's a class we can take!” She was exasperated, nervous and ready to start crying when Addy came over and took her hands in hers.
Addy couldn't help smiling. She had gone through all the perils of parenthood before but Karen had not. “Ker you are drowning in a glass of water! All this is normal with babies, trust me. Come on, let's go to bed, you are tired. What you are feeling is exactly what every parent feels. The little ones don't come with instructions, and most of the times it's a learn-as-you-go thing. This is just how it is and you are not doing anything wrong. You are just another parent, a most perfect one if I may say so.”
“Addy, there has to be some procedure, something we haven't read. I need some standardization, a protocol, a way of doing things! I don't think I'm going to survive this child!”
“Yes, you will and so will I. Come on, get over here.” With the panic over, Karen began to relax and cuddled in with Addy. “Aren't you worried? That vomit caught you by surprise too. You didn't see that coming, you couldn't have and the way it just went out of her mouth like a fountain…”
“Sssssh, sleep, don't worry so much.” Addy kissed her on the lips to silence her.
“Umm. I still feel like I'm going to get a lot of gray hairs and wrinkle early with her.”
“Sssssh, no you won't. Sleep, she's gaining sleep time on us!”
As tiny as she was, Alex took over their lives. Most conversations revolved around her. The apartment was packed with baby items of all sorts. A lot of things they had gotten themselves, others they had received as gifts. There were baby items everywhere.The only time when they didn't talk about the baby was after she had gone to sleep and they had their private time. This was their time to share things about themselves and to be intimate. This was sacred time. It had always been. Bed time was the time to talk about their innermost secrets and to share their love, even though for the last few months, the activities in the bedroom had been reduced to gentle touches, caressing and kissing.
To be continued in Part 9
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