It was 6 PM last Saturday night in San Diego, when the phone rang while I was waiting for the shuttle that would take me to the airport for my red-eye flight back to Atlanta. It was my daughter, Amanda, telling me she was in the hospital, in labor, and they had admitted her- three weeks early.
The plan had been for me to be with Amanda and her husband for the delivery of my first grandchild. In our family, babies have mostly been fashionably late, so I had expected another three or four weeks before I would get this call.
But, here it was: rapidly changing realities.
Surprisingly, it all worked out with amazing precision. I got into Atlanta at 5:30 AM, hopped on a connecting flight to Orlando and was in the delivery room by 8 AM. Five hours later, Amelia Rose came into the world, a feisty baby, crying and breathing.
And then she wasn’t. Crying or breathing.
Thank God for the experts.
The medical staff whisked the baby away from my daughter while pushing the button that initiated a NICU (Natal Intensive Care Unit) Code Blue. Within seconds, six people, including a neonatologist and nursing staff, charged into the room and took over, clearing the baby’s airways and pumping her little chest.
After a harrowing wait which seemed like an eternity but couldn’t have been more than a minute, everyone held their breath until Amelia Rose started breathing again.
My plan had been to stay for a week to help Amanda and her husband Alan settle into their new life with their baby. Instead, Amelia Rose earned a six-day stay in the NICU unit to make sure she was not going to forget how to breathe again.
So, there we sat- for six, long days. We watched Amelia Rose get stronger every day, gradually getting off this tube and that monitor, finally being able to hold her, then feed her by mouth, then by breast, until we actually got to take her home on Saturday evening.
Neither the birth experience nor the plan for my trip turned out like anything anyone had expected. In the end, I was able to be there for Amelia Rose’s homecoming and spend the next 24 hours with the new family, before returning to Atlanta.
Although I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed after two weeks away, it was hard to leave. But I know they will do fine and figure things out, as we humans tend to do.
And what a lesson in letting go of expectations and control.
There is a skill in being able to get in alignment with the way things are rather than staying in the “I am not happy with how things are going” mentality. Whether it’s having a baby show up three weeks early or having a month or two where business is slow, the more we can get into agreement with what is and just do the next right thing, without making up a story about the circumstances, the better off we will be.
So all’s well that ends well.