Defining Moments

By Rose Ann Sinay

Defining Moments

My cell phone dinged – a text from my son.

Get Dad on Skype, he had written without preamble. It was his father’s birthday.

I groaned. What was wrong with calling on the phone? I had just gotten a new computer and had spent the past few days trying to get used to it. Techie that I am (NOT), I hadn’t even looked at the Skype app. It would probably mean registering and creating another new password to remember.

Just call, I texted back, knowing he would not take No for an answer.

Get on Skype. It’s part of Dad’s birthday present, he insisted, guilting me out of my chair. Surprisingly, the program popped right up.

“The kids want to wish you a happy birthday,” I called to my husband.

We crowded in front of the computer screen as their faces appeared. My son and his wife had broad smiles on their faces. Each held a sign on their laps that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY. They panned the camera to another cardboard square: GRAMPA.

I squealed with delight; my husband studied the screen. “This is not a joke, right?” he asked, remembering the fake, winning lottery ticket from a previous year. (My son is known to be a bit of a prankster.)

“Nope, it’s the real deal; but it’s still early. We’d like to wait a little while before we break the news,” my son said, dashing my plans of calling everyone I knew and plastering it on Facebook.

“How long,” I asked.

“We’ll let you know,” he said.

Finally, feeling safely over the four month mark, they made their big announcement. I made my telephone calls. “You’re going to be a Grandma!” my friends sang back to me.

A few weeks passed. My daughter-in-law was not having an easy pregnancy. Morning sickness had turned into all-day sickness. The tired, bloated feeling was not going away. Her feet swelled; her legs, arms, her entire body inflated. She hesitated to call the doctor’s office thinking her complaints would be pronounced the typical hormonal changes of a pregnant woman (with a wink and the all-knowing smile). By the end of the week, she had gained 30 pounds and had become so swollen that it was difficult to walk. This was not normal. She made an appointment.

Jacqueline was admitted to the hospital, and the barrage of tests began. Kidney failure? Preeclampsia? So many fears popped into our minds. We rushed to the hospital in Boston where her parents were already at our children’s side, camped out in the waiting room – pacing, worrying.

Questions, questions and more questions – no answers. By day four, the team of kidney specialists had a diagnosis: Minimal Change Disease, the doctors called it. Not so bad, I had thought. “Minimal” meant small, so we had a small problem. Not so…It seemed this would be one for the textbooks.

Minimal Change Disease (kidney disease named for its inability to be observed in a specimen under light microscopy), is most common in children under the age of seven. It’s rarity among women, particularly pregnant women, became evident as the doctors searched for data. They found only two documented cases from which to draw information.

The high-risk OB/GYN team assessed Jacqueline’s situation and gave little to no hope of the pregnancy progressing. They delivered the same message day after day, warning my son and his wife of the threat to her health. My brave daughter-in-law refused to give in, the mother in her wanting one more day, and then one more after that.

The day before Thanksgiving, her doctors believed they could wait no longer; a decision had to be made. My son asked that we give them some time alone. There was nothing we could do, he told us, his face showing the strain.

We left the hospital desperately wishing we had the ability to shoo away their pain and heartache with a kiss and a bandage as we had when they were children. My husband and I wanted to know their child – this child – our grandchild. Sniffles and sobs punctuated the long drive to my daughter’s house.

Thanksgiving Day was grim. The irony of the holiday, though unspoken, was on our minds as we waited to give our love and support.

Finally, the call came. There was a glimmer of hope from the kidney specialists. Maybe…just maybe…they could manage the disease, keeping Jacqueline stable until the baby was born. After the birth, they could aggressively treat her condition with powerful drugs. No promises, but hope, none-the-less.

After two weeks in the hospital, Jacqueline and Terry went home to their apartment. Jacqueline’s parents (incredible people) took turns staying with them, helping out, while their daughter was on complete bed rest. Ups and downs and uncertainties shadowed their days; every twenty four hours so precious and scary. Day-to-day became week-to-week. A month inched by; two months turned into three. We were all so grateful as my son’s wife entered her third trimester of pregnancy. 

Today I received a beautiful picture. Black and white and grainy, it took a few seconds for my brain to recognize the leg and foot in mid kick. I laughed, and then I cried. My heart was so full of joy that I thought it would burst.

This month I will become a Grandmother. Correction: I am already a Grandmother in my heart and soul – and soon-to-be in person. I can picture her in my mind – a little bit of Terry and a lot of Jacqueline (as my son would say) and I am smiling.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

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15 Responses to “Defining Moments”

  1. Tammy says:

    What a beautiful story! So happy for them and their beautiful little miracle!!!!!

  2. Courtney says:

    Tears are streaming down my face, such a beautiful story! We have all been praying for the healthy arrival of your little miracle and were overjoyed by the news! Congratulations again, I am so very happy for all of you!

  3. Rose Ann says:

    We are so very, very happy to announce the birth of our granddaughter, Adelaide Tillie (a month early.) Her mother is doing well; her father is beaming, all four grandparents are walking on air, and Adelaide is healthy and beautiful!. We couldn’t be more thankful.

  4. Colleen Wenthen says:

    Such a wonderful story of strength, courage and love. Congratulations to all and welcome Adelaide, the litttle beautiful miracle baby.

  5. Sandy Grundy says:

    An incredible story with a very happy ending.😍

  6. Betsy Bergstrom says:

    What a special story this month. Your family is so blessed. Thank you for sharing.

  7. britt sinay says:

    A truly precious child

  8. Diane Q says:

    As tears are rolling down my face I am once again reminded of this beautiful little miracle and the tremendous strength of her parents. A defining moment indeed.

  9. Janet Grillo says:

    She is definitely a miracle baby! So happy for them! Well written!

  10. Another beautiful and incredible story. You are so very talented and really make your readers feel all the emotions you have gone through. Welcome to your beautiful granddaughter. Can’t wait to meet her some day !

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