Friday, February 7, 2014

When winter halted metro Atlanta - and I had a newborn baby boy

When the snow/ice storm of late January hit Atlanta, I was in a hospital bed. A newborn baby boy quietly grunted and snored next to me, in that newborn fog of only semi-consciousness. My husband was watching the winter scene unfold out of our one window to the outside world. We saw the mass exodus of hospital guests and employees sliding out of the parking deck. Over time, the sound of ambulances became more and more frequent as car accidents built up on the roads.


I was sad that day, since our plans to see Amelia were cancelled; it was not going to be safe for my parents to get her to the hospital from our suburban home. They picked her up from school for early dismissal and within minutes, the under 2-mile distance from school to our home was iced over and traffic was at a standstill. With the help of GPS on a tablet, they were able to navigate another road and make it home. Other nearby friends were reporting hour-long drives just to get home -- no more than a couple of miles! The school bus was one hour late. Parents sat in cars at the stops, waiting and worrying. Other friends began texting, reporting 4+ hour drives just to pick up their children and get home. Some didn't make it back to their own homes and endured nights with no PJs, no favorite snacks, and no pacifiers, loveys, or other habitual comforts for their kids.


Back at the hospital, Steve donned his coat and hat to investigate the snow and ice. Always a Florida boy, he gets excited at each bit of wintry weather, no matter how small. But this one was big! Baby and I, of course, were trapped indoors, in our one-room world of nurses, medicines, diapers, and feedings.

The hospital was on Code White - all employees had to stay put until following shifts could make it in. Empty rooms on our floor were made into bedrooms for the nursing staff - three to a room with cots and air mattresses. Some of our nurses worked three shifts in a row, with only the odd sleeping arrangement to rest their minds and bodies. They had children, elderly parents, and pets at home. While I was miserable and fretting about not getting home, at least I was resting. They were working - serving me and all of their patients. It was amazing how they continued to serve us with a smile and a truly caring attitude. If you know a hospital nurse? Hug one.

We eventually made it home, a few days late. The early arrival for induction, then a surprise c-section and snow day meant we spent six total nights in the hospital.

I will never forget the feel of that hug I received from Amelia at the garage door. She grasped me tighter than she has ever held on before. I wanted to burst into tears, but held it in for her sake. She was very well taken care of during our absence but oh, how I missed her! Andrew has no idea of the story that unfolded in the city during his birth week. But we have photos. And he will have this story.

For now, I am so glad we are all home together. The sun is beginning to come out again and the clouds (both in the sky and in my heart/brain) are lifting. Onward -- tomorrow is another day!

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