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Our son and his wife had a baby over the Christmas holiday. I was blessed to be able to provide household support for this beautiful family. The entire week that we were there was like being in some other world. To begin with, it was dark, cloudy and rainy the entire week. Secondly nobody slept any type of normal hours. The baby was born at home around 4:30 in the morning with mommy and daddy being up all night with her in labor prior to the birth.
When I arrived the evening after the baby was born, they were deliriously tired. Then the little bundle of love acted just like a newborn. He wanted to nurse every 2 hours night and day. It didn’t take long until any semblance of night or day was completely gone and our world became almost surreal with no sunshine, no sleep, overwhelmed with love for this beautiful baby, and the new family trying to get their legs under them. This prompted my very creative husband to do a little writing to describe the situation. The baby was born on post at the United States Military Academy – West Point.
There was a house high up on the hill as you approached the security gate that looked like a castle straight out of a movie. Jay imagined that the baby was magically delivered from this crazy castle. Then it rained for days and days. This only added to the strange magical aura of the whole situation. I think you will enjoy his interpretation of the whole event.
The Magical Nana
This is the story of how the newborn arrived. As is common knowledge, all newborns descend from Castlerock. This one was no different. Mom was given the sign that the child would be delivered soon in the middle of the night. On the night of the event, her water broke midway through the evening. Once this occurred, a call went out through the countryside. Forces were mobilized; Christmas parties were interrupted. Logistical hurdles were overcome. The special forces “A” team was assembled. Into the mode of transportation they piled.
With the “A” team on the way, we now shift to the scene back home. Home is on the campus of the United States Military Academy, West Point. Staid, quiet, secure, the residential area is the home of Captains, Majors, Colonel, Generals and of course, at least one lieutenant. Up to the security gate, complete with multiple armed guards, mirrors for checking under vehicles, dogs sniffing for bombs and persons hiding, comes this screaming red VW microbus, complete with flowers painted on the side. Inside were three of the coolest hippy moms to ever bless a Cheech and Chong movie. Through security they go, with the speed of a heavy, low lying fog. When in front of the house, they arrived with a clatter, their neighbors, peered through their blinds to see what was the matter. Then out of their microbus they sprang to the steps, a midwife, a doula, and an intern in training, the laws of propriety they were a straining. Tie dye, incense and portable pool for birthing, one could only hope what was born was an earthling.
The team went to work with all of the precision of a well coconut oiled machine. Breathing was regulated with horse lips, vital signs were taken and the birthing pool was filled. Everything was set. Every preparation had been made. Now all that was lacking was the grand entrance of the special invited guest. The final to-do was to wait.
Without much ado, the wonderful event occurs. Joy has arrived. Now, the months of training, painting, wall papering, furniture moving, purchasing, and finding a Geoffrey, all comes into play. Within minutes of the blessed event, a call goes out for backup! Who can help? Who can possibly assist at a time like this? There is only one call to make: the magical Nana.
Stepping into the house is an event. Coming through the threshold, you lose all reference, concept of time or thoughts of the outside world. You have entered the world of the newborn. A realm encountered by most at some point in their life, yet so alien to life as you know it that once traversed, it is quickly blocked out and never remembered afterward.
The 9 pound master of this alien dimension is unrelenting, shows no compassion and is completely merciless and unforgiving. In a very short time, the master can have all subjects completely at his beck and call with no regard for common social niceties such as sleep, food, and showers. . In the case here at John and Tiffany’s, the full weight of the newborn world was in full effect. Born at home, a completely natural birth, this newborn was awake, hungry and relentless. Their pre-birth planning and training was clearly missing a key component. They neglected to adequately complete their weeks of sleep deprivation training. Language school lessons were not sufficient. Elimination clean up training, while somewhat effective, was not able to avoid incurring the wrath of the newborn at their lack of sleep deprivation training.
While parents melt, shrink, recoil and wither under the onslaught, into the fray steps the magical Nana. Wading through the fog of fatigue, dispensing love and calm like ammunition in short supply, holding the line in the face of relentless assault. Nana works her magic, calming the newborn in its own language, selflessly protecting the parents, scouring the barren landscape of the kitchen and providing life sustaining nutrition. Even going out into the cold and gray to provide resupply for this alternative universe. She travels through this world like a candle in a dark room, bringing hope and comfort where she goes.
The house is a battlefield. The landscape pockmarked with the burning hulks of past encounters. The stroller, abandoned in the hallway, marking the previous evening’s battle still smoldering; a blanket, half on and half off the couch, marking the spot where the parents had tried to get some much needed rest. The nursery itself, even with the weeks of preparation, has not been able to stand firm. Baby blankets, pillows, wet-wipes, even diapers strewn about in mute testimony of the mayhem.
In all of this, there are glimpses of hope. There are times when you can glance into the nursery, and there is the magical Nana, sitting calmly with the new born while it sleeps. How is she able to accomplish this? Other times, Nana moves among the various occupants of this world and provides comfort, advice and nourishment. Offering food and drink to the tattered and exhausted bodies of the parents. That nourishment and encouragement will soon get the parents out to the other side of this world. Soon, their time in this alternative world will be done and their life will resume. This time will become a black-hole of memory that even light cannot escape. The joy and light of a baby and later a toddler, will shine like a bright light and chase all shadow of the newborn world from retrievable memory. Also moving to the misty edge of memory is the magical Nana. Though still around, quickly forgotten will be the calm in face of turmoil, the cleaning in light of chaos, the nourishment of good food in the famine of the newborn world. In spite of appearing inexhaustible, she is, but only after the newborn devastation has passed. Then in the calm, in seclusion, she will rest and reenergize, in preparation for the next event. Wherever she may be needed, at whatever time, she will be ready. This is the saga of the magical Nana.