I had two baby showers for our first child. The first one was your typical baby shower. The second, well, I hated it–for reasons you would never guess.
My first baby shower was hosted by my mother-in-law in her town about an hour south of us. My mom planned to host one a few weeks later so we didn’t invite my family and friends. It was mostly my husband’s family and his mom’s friends. They are all great people, I’m not trying to disconnect myself, just trying to set the scene.
We had sloppy joes and cake. I opened up some gifts. We got really nice things. I didn’t realize how short my hair was back then until I started going through the pictures, but that’s really neither here nor there. We got clothes and books, a stroller and a car seat. I got a breast pump and some baby toys. There was a diaper cake. We played some games.
It was exactly what a baby shower is supposed to be.
A few weeks later, my mom hosted a shower at a local restaurant. I was more involved with planning that one. I was looking forward to seeing my friends and family–people I was a bit more comfortable with, and you know, my grandmas and my Godmother and my aunts.
But it didn’t turn out that way.
You see, Friday, Aug. 31, I was put on bedrest due to a very low baby and some very painful contractions. I was 32 weeks. I was told we would evaluate whether or not I’d be attending my own shower then next week.
I spent all weekend on the couch. I stayed at home for my mother-in-laws surprise birthday party. I sat inside when the weather was beautiful. I rested and kept the baby in, despite the restless legs, sore back and mental wall I had hit. Then, Wednesday, Sept. 5, as I was doing a little work from my couch and watching TV, my dad called.
It seemed my husband was in an accident at work. He was at the hospital and my mom was coming to take me to him. My dad seriously downplayed it. He said my husband may have broken his arm. He said his dad and brother were with him. I got in the car with my mother, blissfully unaware of what waited for me at the hospital.
We got in the ER and were taken to a trauma room where my strong, 6′ 2″ husband lay shivering from shock on a hospital bed, and teared up when he saw me. You see, he works in injection molding. He was inside of a machine fixing it when a coworker started it up with him still in it.
Broken arm doesn’t exactly describe what happened. Shattered arm is more like it.
He was taken via ambulance to the nearest hospital that could handle a trauma and given several rounds of morphine to help with the pain. The doctors came in to set it and temporarily cast it while I was there. Then, they told us that he would be having surgery two days later–the day before our shower.
Of course, that was not my concern. I’m sure my mom was a bit worried what with the deposits and the people and the fact that I was already relegated to the couch and now my husband was left with one functional arm.
At that point, my mother-in-law basically moved in with us. My mom came home from the hospital with us and basically stayed most of the night giving my husband zofran and medication and cleaning up when he threw up (oh, he’s allergic to morphine). The furthest thing from my mind was the shower.
The next day was filled with x-rays and pre-op orthopedic appointments and many, many calls to workman’s comp. The following morning, before the sun was up, we were on our way to the hospital where he would have pins and plates placed over the radius and ulna of his left arm to hold it in place while it healed. I spent my day in a wheelchair waiting. My mother, my mother-in-laws (yes, I have two) and my father-in-law watching me like a hawk while we waited word on my husband. After surgery and a lot of time in the recovery room, we headed home.
And then the pain began. He was miserable. There was a lot of freaking out, a call to the surgeon, some Valium, some Oxycotin and a lot of ice. Saturday it seemed unlikely that he would make it to our shower, which was scheduled for Sunday. I was granted the ability to go, provide I stayed seated. Sunday morning, he decided to go, but spent much the shower holding his arm in pain and icing it. Plus, as I mentioned above, there were narcotics.
I visited with our family and friends, ate some lunch and some cake and opened all of the gifts while he had this glazed look on his face. My mom wouldn’t even let me stand up to show off a hand-knitted blanket. And there are few pictures of us, mostly because we were such a motley crew.
We came home from the shower and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law started washing the bedding and clothes while my husband and I crashed from all the activity and stress of the last week. I cried because I didn’t think we should be opening the gifts yet. Our luck had been so bad, I was worried that we would lose our baby as well.
But we didn’t. And several weeks later, we were parents. The shower was but a story we could tell. And one that envokes flashbacks every since time I go to another one. Sometimes I wish we could do it again. Sometimes I am glad for the way it played out, but mostly I’m glad everything turned out okay.
My husband didn’t die.
My baby wasn’t a premie.
We got to spend the afternoon with friends and family.
And that’s all that matters.