The holiday season this year, no exception compared to other years, has been busy for T and me. Of course, this has been a *little* busier. For one, I am no longer a pediatric resident. This means that I actually get to celebrate the holiday with family and don’t have to expect to be working several 24-hour shifts during this stretch of time. Second- we are expecting, which has put a whole new spin on the holidays. Even though we are not expecting a Christmas baby, Christmastime has been pretty busy and it certainly feels like we are having a Christmas baby!
Last week I got together with several dear relatives visiting from several parts of the world, and we are blessed to be spending much of the next few weeks together. Now they have ventured off to New York for the time being prior to Christmas, but last week was filled with playing with their 2 and 5 year old (at least attempting to have them warm up to us!!), shopping, and preparations. You see, I was fortunate to experience not one, but two baby showers over the past several days.
The first was at my work. I didn’t expect a thing and people were constantly asking me about my last day at work and my due date, so I thought that if they were going to plan something, it would probably be closer to that time. But lo and behold, on the day of our Christmas party, my colleague pediatrician brought me in front of our entire health center staff and congratulated me on our pregnancy! Boy was I surprised. Not by them – they are an amazing group of extremely warm and friendly people and of course they would do this for people. But it is incredibly special to know that after knowing a group of people for only 3-4 months, they have already welcomed me as one of their own. And they gave such beautiful gifts – clothing, a baby monitor, safety items. It was so thoughtful and I know it must have been so challenging to organize. It really warms my heart to know how much they were all thinking of me. One individual even stayed up late many nights knitting me a baby blanket, booties, and two hats for our little baby. It was just too sweet of her, and so thoughtful. I am a lucky, lucky person.
And then for weekend time I was able to witness my family showering me with tons of love – dealing with my stresses, spending hours and pretty much all day Saturday decorating the house. I learned that the previous weekend they had spent a day buying animal decorations to bedeck my parents’ home. I learned that they had made all of the food from scratch. I learned that my mother had not only ordered a beautiful cake, but gave very specific instructions on animal decorations and had brought special props to surround the cake.
This was all an even bigger challenge because my grandmother fell sick on this very weekend. She had just returned from Washington DC and was developing a fever and chills and difficulty breathing. I started her on an antibiotic Saturday but by Sunday morning – the day of our shower – she really wasn’t doing any better. But the show went on. We had a prayer ceremony the morning of the baby shower to appeal to the planets and to God to bless our new arrival, and all this was extremely special and personal. Then I got ready for the shower and learned that Naniji really wasn’t doing any better and that my brother was literally surrounding her and holding her tightly because of how much she was panicked, shivering and complaining of cold. I was extremely stressed worrying about her but my family called some adult physicians we knew. They took care of her and called and ambulance and got her to the hospital.
And she got great care. We learned that she had contracted flu – the first case that I have seen this season, and she is in the hospital now, improving steadily and hopefully she will get home tomorrow. Of course, as all this was going on my parents missed the baby shower – they were in the hospital with my grandmother. One of our neighbors, a very dear and close family friend, took over the planning and running of the shower, and she ended up missing the opening of the gifts. For all the work and preparation that my mom and she put into the shower, it was actually able to run without them even being there.
And then several my close companions – including my sister-in-law, my brother’s girlfriend, and a friend I have known since childhood – began with extremely joyful games, including “pin the pacifier on the baby” where they had doctored up a huge blow up picture of T, me, and the “baby.” My cousin made everyone laugh by getting blindfolded and, to the tune of my laughter, identifying my baby belly and pinning me with the pacifier. The girls also organized several other games including word scrambles, identifying the baby’s future career . .and other things.
So this is all to say that I have a lot that I have written about, and a lot to write about, because there are so many details that aren’t included in this email. I just have to say that with all of the challenges and worries that occurred that weekend, my family and friends reslly made this weekend special for me. I have already known that I am loved by them all, and their gesture, love, and care really overwhelmed me and made me feel special. I really look forward to the time when I can do something like this for my loved ones! I will give more details later and hopefully some pictures, but this will have to do for now!