Maya Rashid AlJuma March 24, 2013
During my long absence my oldest daughter had the nerve to make me a grandmother without so much as asking me. As I said...what nerve. She was due around March 23 and thus I made it my goal to be with her during one of the most terrifying wondrous moments of her life. I was alone for the birth of all 5 of my babies so I know what it feels like to not have a hand to hold or someone to calm me down...I didn't want her to feel that way even for a moment.
Of course I told her I wouldn't be able to make it because I simply didn't have the money for such an expensive ticket. She believed me...so gullible.
I got busy on my side, ensuring I had a month off from work (all my coworkers seemed as excited as I was by the prospect of me becoming a gramma...ancient jokes were in abundance) and I waited impatiently for my tax return to show up. It was the only way I could afford to go but it was taking it's damn sweet time and time was running out on me if I was going to make it there before she delivered.
Now here is the thing. Other than my kids over here...and coworkers of course...I told nobody that I was going to Bahrain...not even my best friend there. The only person I did tell was someone I knew who wouldn't spill the beans..so he could pick me up at the airport. (well that didn't work out as well as I hoped but what to do?)
My daughter constantly made comments about wanting me there and how she was getting so nervous and worried. I told myself if she really did start to freak out I would ensure her I was coming to calm her down...but that point never arrived so all was good. The day I left I constantly texted her and everyone over there all the way across the U.S. until I lost contact in the air. By this time my best friend sort of had a clue of my intentions as I would see in all the texts back and forth later...but she wasn't positive.
I arrived in Bahrain after a torturous 23 hour flight all together. I was exhausted...and to make matters worse...my expected ride was no where to be found. My phone had discharged at this point so I couldn't even see his number to call him. I still wanted to surprise my daughter but wasn't sure what to do at this point. My plan wasn't working out...grrr.
I ended up waiting about an hour before I decided he wasn't coming (I was the only red head in a sea of dark haired people..he wasn't there or he would have seen me) so I decided to take a taxi to best friends house. Surprise her...then go to daughter's house and let the party begin.
By the time I got to best friends house it was fairly late..and she wasn't there. I spoke with her housemaid who ensured me she would be coming soon...so I hid in her ladies salon where I could see when she arrived. Unfortunately, her housemaid wasn't very good at keeping secrets and sort of let the cat out of the bag as soon as best friend arrived. So much for surprises...grrr.
She was surprised, to a point, but had a feeling I was coming over and so expected me as well. By this time it was quite late and since my daughter was late stage pregnancy and didn't need middle of the night surprises...I decided to wait until morning to spring my awesome self on her. I spent the night at best friend's house and anticipated the morning's adventures.
A little bit of back story at this point. I had told my daughter previously that I bought a lot of baby things for her...but would mail a box to her and hopefully it would arrive on a certain date (my arrival date no less). She was constantly asking me if I had mailed the box and I told her be patient. So the next morning my best friend calls her and tells her SHE had the box..as I had actually mailed it to her...not my daughter. My daughter was sort of miffed at that but was happy just to know it arrived..and told best friend to bring it over.
When we arrived at daughter's house...best friend knocked on door and indicated that the box was so big a man from the street was carrying it for her to the door. As I sprung around the corner..my daughter was standing there with a very skeptical look on her face at this point...but it immediately dissolved into a pool of tears as soon as she saw me. I quickly realized how relieved she was to have me there..and I was very happy that I had decided to come despite the crazy cost of the ticket.
After celebrating we got down to the business of waiting for baby to arrive. She still had about a week to incubate so we shopped, and readied baby room and just enjoyed the next few days while baby was still on the inside (always the best place for them).
During prenatal visits the doctor kept mentioning C-sections and epidurals as choices my daughter could consider and I was rather irritated by that. Why not promote natural birth first and foremost...why even bring those up unless the need was very apparent? By this point baby was being just a tad stubborn and delayed her arrival by a few days so induction was talked about. My daughter decided March 24th would be the day to get baby moving. We waited for that day to arrive with bated breath and mixed feelings of Fear and Finally it would be over with.
The morning of the Big Day we arrived at the hospital very early in the morning and daughter was settled in and prepped for an I.V. etc. to begin the process. She was scared but I could also see that she was very relieved to have me there..along with her husband. I might add at this point that her husband is a wonderful man and was there every step of the way with her (as much as he could be). Always attending her prenatal visits...always very interested in what she was going through and doing whatever he could to ensure her comfort and calm state of mind. They chose a private hospital that would allow him to be with her during the whole birth process as well and he was with her every moment. I like him a lot.
When her doctor arrived...she still brought up a possible C-section and epidural..even though my daughter was doing fine up to this point. Yes she was experiencing pain but she was handling it well..so what the hell? I talked with my daughter and advised her to do what she thought was best but that natural birth was the best choice unless something warranted such actions. She seemed intent on doing it the natural way...which didn't seem to please her doctor for some reason.
My best friend arrived at some point and we all spent the morning listening to the fetal monitor, getting my daughter whatever she needed..and counting the minutes down. She was very slow in dilating, was experiencing more and more contraction pain, but was doing OK. Once again the doctor came in and advised her to consider a C-section or epidural. Her comment was that she didn't think my daughter could handle the pain...which was odd considering that's exactly what she was doing up until this point. My daughter told her...I'm fine right now. Give me a chance to do it this way.
Shortly before noon, as we were all gathered around, my daughter (while suffering through more intense contractions at this point) suddenly demanded we get the nurse. It seemed the urge to push had just arrived. The nurse came and did a pelvic check and was surprised to learn that my daughter had went from barely 2 cm over several hours to 7 cm in no time flat. Suddenly things got serious and nurses came in preparing to take her to the delivery room.
Best friend and I waited just outside the delivery room for awhile...alternating between crying and excitement...waiting impatiently for good news. Her doctor came out at one point and said we could go in if we wanted. Wow...that was awesome. I didn't think I would be able to be with her..just near her...at that point. We put on gowns and hurried into the room.
Daughter was concentrating on her moment in the limelight...SIL was holding her hand and doing his part to keep her calm...and the nurses were running around like those last few minutes before the curtain was drawn and the show began was at hand.
Best friend and I elected to stand just behind the curtain since it was close enough to offer support but not in the way of all the activity. We shouted encouragement to her every step of the way..until we eventually heard what we had all been waiting anxiously for 9 months to hear...the indignant cries of a new life brought into the world.
We were all crying, excited, and overwhelmed...but not too overwhelmed that we didn't record the moment when new baby Maya was brought over to the table for her first check up. It's an awesome video that I would have loved to have with any one of my own children. Oh well..sign of how things are changing in Bahrain from the 80's. For the better in some regards.
At some point my daughter looked at her doctor and told her...see, I did it without drugs or anything. I proved you wrong. That's my girl. Don't let the doctors bully you into unneeded procedures unless it's absolutely necessary. Everything and everyone came through with flying colors.
And I was a new grandma. Grandma Coolred. How awesome is that?
I spent the next two weeks helping daughter with whatever she needed but she assured me that she had a perfect example on motherhood due to her own mother. She had this. Very cool. A million pictures and a hundred videos later...I was sad to see my day of departure arrive. I had to say goodbye to my two kids, my new granddaughter, SIL, and best friend that I love so much. It was the first time I had ever found it hard to leave Bahrain. Imagine that. All it took was a new little baby to make that happen...well not just that...but more on that later.
So little Maya is well over a month old now...thriving and keeping her parents on their toes. I get lots of daily pics and videos still and share them with everyone who doesn't run away at this point. My daughter is planning a trip here so her siblings can see their new niece and her husband can visit the states for the first time. I can't wait to see them.
I will make an effort to be in Maya's life because my own children did not have that sort of connection with their own grandmother (thought hind sight tells me they didn't miss out on much but at the time it was very hurtful to me)...plus I have so many things to teach this precious little girl. Sarcasm and a sharp tongue being top of the list...as self defense against the Stupids of the world.
It's the least I can do.