How Our Quarterly Baby Became an ArtPrize Baby – Part 2

I very clearly remember that fateful evening of September 26th, 2011 like it just happened and it’s been one month exactly. That night I dug deep into my psyche, past the “Riled Up Caroline,” past the fearful one, past the “Angry Caroline” who handles media buys, there I found it… “Zen Calm Caroline.” In all honesty, I’ve only channeled her once before, on my wedding day. Nothing jarred me, nothing surprised me, nothing threw me. So here we were speed walking across town to get to my car, me leaking, my mom trying to keep up asking for me to slow down and here I was, completely calm.

My mom asked if I was going to call Adam. A thought that hadn’t occurred to me, I thought he was still at work, poor guy had been home for over and hour, he was calling to see what we were up to earlier and apparently we were up water breaking. Here is how that conversation went:

ME: Hey there.

ADAM: Hi there. What are you guys up to?

ME: Not much, we are walking back to my car. So I think my water broke.

ADAM: Really? Okay. So what happens now?

ME: I think I will need you to pack my bag for me (we were going to do it that week. oopsie)

ADAM: Okay… which bag, what should I put in it?

And so the conversation went on as I tried my best to note where some items can be found and calmly explained where my travel-sized toiletries were hiding upstairs in our house.

We finally got back to the DeVos Center, not a moment too soon, each minute we were walking we weren’t driving which means we were losing time. But yet again I was calm, I had 24 hours before they would have to extract said infant by surgical means. I confidently yanked on the front door of the DeVos Center… only to learn that the doors were now latched for the evening. Apparently the building closes at 9:00pm and now we will lose more time walking around the building and then walking through the creepy subterranean garage to get to my car. Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic… thankfully we caught the eye of a couple who was still lingering within the hall looking at some ArtPrize entries (there was a God!) Next thing I remember is my car emerging from the garage and turning onto Michigan. I calmly pointed out that we will be heading up the hill later that evening to get to Spectrum Hospital, but first we’d need to head home to pack that bag and find some way for me to stop leaking so I could enter the hospital with some dignity (dignity is checked at the door after that your lady bits are nothing sacred and you’ll be poked and prodded more than you’d ever care to encounter in a lifetime.)

My  Mom was promptly sent out to acquired the biggest, baddest, thickest pads short of Depends possible so we could go to the hospital. She was not channeling “Calm Jolanta” so she needed to have the directions to the Alpine Meijer explained to her about three times (head down Ann Street until it dead ends, turn right, Meijer will be up on the left about a half mile away.) While holed up in the bathroom, I called the doctor’s office (Dr. Klyn would not be available that evening.) okay, as long as this person isn’t a guy. He was a guy, a guy I had never met before… oh well I needed him to extract my baby and now was not time to be shy nor picky. We were encouraged to get to Spectrum 1-2 hours from water breaking. Okay fine, but I need to find some outfits for the little guy and I am STILL HOLED UP IN THE BATHROOM. sigh. patience.

Mom showed up a few minutes later apologizing profusely that a train was crossing the road and she had to wait for it. I could tell she was stressed, I let her tell me the story a few more times but then told her she met her limit and now we had to finish getting ready.

Ready meant, me packed, baby packed, Adam packed, dogs secured, backseats put back in the Element, car seat in place and us in the car heading to the hospital. Yet here I was on my hands and knees digging through my baby’s closet trying to find something suitable for hospital photos, for him to wear home. And since I was expecting a linebacker baby I was looking at the 0-3 month clothes and reluctantly brought a couple of newborn items (let’s face it this baby will be big).

I honestly forgot about all the training in birthing class, like counting contractions or breathing. If you’d ask me how far apart they are I’d have guessed 3 or maybe 5 minutes apart, but who honestly knew. I was starting to get somewhat less comfortable by the time Adam told me that we really should get going.

2 hours later I was walking through the ER entrance. Here is how the conversation went:

ER NURSE: How can I help you?

ZEN CALM CAROLINE: I think my water broke, so I am probably in labor.

ER NURSE: (looks somewhat surprised, as in why so calm lady.) Oh okay, well let’s get you checked in and have you wait in the hallway for transport.

Z.C. Caroline: Sounds great.

How Our Quarterly Baby Became an ArtPrize Baby – Part 1

From the first day we found out that I was expecting a wee Ramseyer we knew that this baby would be arriving on 10/14/11. Which falls toward the end of my Quarterlies at work, a time when we all work late, eat takeout each night and work long hours. It’s tradition and it’s the reason I was originally hired at my company. So no wonder that my full expectation was that I would do my best to work this sacred time even if I was delivering soon after.

This entire pregnancy I tried not to let my physical shape and level of energy succumb to the nature effects of my condition. Meaning? I walked the dog as much as possible, I moved around a ton and I overdid things frequently. It’s how I rolled (almost literally toward the end.) Strangers would act surprised when I would tell them with confidence that my baby was due mid October and here I was a few weeks out enjoying long walks and lots of activities.

Mom and the 360 degree GR photo at the DeVos Center

Not surprising either that when my mom came to visit on Friday September 23rd, I made sure our schedule was filled with lots of activities and fun ArtPrize venues. She hadn’t been to the downtown area in many years and this was the best opportunity for her to see how the place had changed and enjoy some art in the meantime. Saturday we walked around for 6 hours. Yes, we overdid it, we could barely stand on our sore feet, but we braved the crowds and saw the GRAM, the Public Museum and all three of the hotels downtown, each sporting impressive amounts of art. We decided to save the DeVos Center and the B.O.B. for another day.

One of the ArtPrize entries at the DeVos Center

Monday rolled around and my mom debated returning home to Warren. I persuaded her to remain because I had more “ArtPrizing” I wanted to do with her and so she agreed… by 7:00pm we were headed back to the city center. We parked underneath the DeVos Center and began our second evening or artistic immersion. At some point we ran into a friend of mine who I used to work with. We chatted about me wanting to work right up until “the day,” little did I know how close I was…

The evening wore on and we weaved our way through the DeVos center questioning some of the pieces, while chatting it up with the artists of other works. i felt fine, in fact I felt great. With the DeVos behind us I had further stops on our agenda. That included the Ford Presidential Museum lawn and the B.O.B. What were we doing after? oh heading to Alpine for a Starbucks coffee. Like I said I had big plans.

Let’s cut now to the B.O.B. we wove our way through the main floor and the basement where we discovered an artist who paints faces of the elderly, she then interviews them and writes the stories of their lives within their wrinkles. Wish she had made it into the Top Ten.  Rushing on we headed to the 2nd floor my mom complaining that she could hardly keep up. 🙂 We round the corner up the steps to the second floor and I veer for the ladies room. This is not right, we just stopped in a rest room at the Marriott and there is no chance that a mere 10 minutes later my bladder would be battered enough by Hercules to require another pit stop. Oh… there that feeling is again, and again and again… nope don’t need to pee, I believe my water just broke and I am at the B.O.B. with my mom… don’t panic just go to the rest room and double check. I joked about him coming 10/4/11… it’s 9/26/11. I’m usually late to things, there is no way Herc is early. But here we were at the B.O.B. needing to head home and my car was parked 1 mile away. I would need to make my way across downtown with my water breaking before it was too late.

the evening sky the night of Henry's birth.