2012.07.04 A time to be born

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I’m the grandfather of a two pound, two ounce boy. He’s quite a handful, and not much more. Two handfuls, max.

When Colleen came upstairs to wake me at 2:30 Saturday morning, I should have been overjoyed. I would have been under normal circumstances, but this was anything but normal.

I couldn’t muster much happiness. Dread, worry, fear—no problem with that. This just seemed like an impossible situation.

Our son Ben and his wife Sarah were expecting their first child in October. They were scheduled to make a visit home in a couple of weeks and we would all get a look at the expanding mother-to-be.

The uneasiness started Thursday morning when Ben called to tell us they were at the hospital because Sarah was having contractions—lots of them.

The hospital staff managed to slow the contractions during the day, and the hope was that baby would stay where he belonged for a few more weeks, if not months.

I was somewhat relieved by the end of the day. I heard there are some women who go through the contractions routine repeatedly on their way to a full term. Maybe Sarah was one of them.

And if she wasn’t, we kept hearing stories that seem truly miraculous—the miracle of modern medicine, that is. Several people had stories about early arrivals who made it through just fine.

After a day and a half, Sarah’s contractions had slowed to one every half hour. Things seemed to be stabilizing. She had been moved to Miami’s top neonatal hospital just in case, but sleep came easier that night—at least for a few hours. Ben called to say his son had arrived and the preemie adventure was underway.

I was thinking back to Ben’s arrival 30 years earlier. He was much more stubborn about getting out. It finally took an active walk along Bean Creek—stepping over fallen trees in the “Old Bean” channel—that seemed to set things in motion.

Of course I can remember the first glimpse of him when he was fresh to the world and I wonder how it was for Ben when his tiny boy arrived. There must have been that same rush of excitement and wonder that every new father feels, and I hope those feelings transcended the worry.

For me, the situation hasn’t improved much. I dread hearing the phone ring. I can feel something tighten inside me every time a new text message arrives on my wife’s cell phone. Her steps on the stairs—is she finally coming to bed or does she have bad news to report?

I can’t help it. It just seems like such a precarious situation that Ryland Emmery Green has found himself in. And poor Sarah—a new mother who can’t even touch her baby.

I drove Colleen to the airport Saturday for her flight to Miami. I shouldn’t have done it on Town and Country Festival weekend, but I just welcomed the chance to get out of town and put my mind on something else, like driving.

Of course there was an occasional text message arriving to give me something to cringe about. After all, the messages haven’t been too cheery. After the initial “baby is born and breathing on its own” came a report about respiratory distress and intubation underway. But that’s generally the case in these situations.

I told Colleen I would be glad to have her phone out of the house so I wouldn’t hear the messages arriving. She thought that was odd. “I always think every text is going to be good news,” she said.

Are you kidding? Look at this one that Ben sent tonight: “The feeding tube through umbilical cord isn’t working so they are trying a different method tonight. I guess it’s not uncommon.”

I’m trying really hard to be happy without the worry, but these problems—common and uncommon—put me on edge.

Take some pity on your grandpa, boy. Grow strong. Stay healthy. Show us another ounce or two. Give us a little improvement every day. Come on, you’ve got a lot of growing ahead of you.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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