I want you to know that it was not my intention to keep y’all hanging for this long. If you haven’t read Part One of my What We Did series check it out here. If you did read it and then went off to live your life for two months and don’t remember where we left off, so the rest of you…here’s a recap: Lineman is Apprentice and working out of town during the week at this point and I’m about to give birth to our second baby. Then he comes home with the news that he is getting moved to Oklahoma on Monday if we don’t deliver this weekend. Stage is set.
If you haven’t given birth let me share the special kind of neurotic panic I was in with this news. Intellectually I know that I can’t force my will on the powers that be and make this baby come any faster. At least short of medical interventions and after my experience with my first birth I was not lining up to do that again. But in my empowered female, strong linewife, “I can do anything” brain I was certain if I just worked at it hard enough I could start my labor.
Oh the miles I logged. This is July in Southern Arizona and I’m at the end of my third trimester. Let me take this moment to tell you that I really like being pregnant in general. I am like a dang fertility goddess and feel so in touch with some Earth Mother vibes. Even with that, third trimester in triple digits is it’s own special kind of torture. So, the miles were logged in local malls. Round and round and round we walked with the stroller and an 18 month old. Because I can do anything, remember? No labor.
Maybe I need to up my intensity, let’s try jumping jacks. That resulted in leg cramps but no labor. How about Zumba? Didn’t work. Some times spicy food does it so let’s put hot sauce in my salsa. That’s a great way to give yourself heartburn, but was not effective for starting my labor. We are religious folks so naturally desperate prayers were said. Labor didn’t start but on Sunday afternoon Lineman got a call saying that he was staying in Arizona for another week. My relief had to of been palpable! It’s hard work trying to convince a baby to get out before they decide to. Next weekend was more of the same. Us trying desperately to start labor and a call on Sunday afternoon saying we have one more week.
The next weekend was the real deal though. He isn’t going to work on Monday because everything is packed up and on Tuesday he’s leaving unless our daughter decides to make an appearance. Come Monday morning and no labor we were feeling defeated. Nothing had worked before and we weren’t very hopeful that it would work this time. He was just going to miss the birth of our daughter. We walked a mall again but essentially tried to enjoy our last foreseeable day together. We had lunch with his mom. Went home and had some “special adult time.” We snuggled and took a nap. What follows is like something out of a movie.
After our nap we were sitting with my brother and his wife in our living room chatting and coming up with our plans for the evening when I experienced a unique sensation. Instead of a general tightening of my abdomen I had this wave of tightness that started at my sacrum and wrapped around my hips and low under my baby bump. “Was that a real contraction?” I ask. Four minutes go by: “I think these are real contractions!” My Midwife would hand me my daughter 4 hours later.
When Lineman went back to work after his previously agreed upon time off it was still out of town but at least he was kept in state. He’d come home on the weekends and me and our oldest would be thrilled. The baby would…well, she’s a baby. This is normal, obviously she’s just gonna be into mom more. This was especially hard for him and it took months before she bonded to him and was happy to see him. The stark contrast between this newborn experience and the one previously was sobering. That winter he was on a job working 7 days per week so if we wanted to see him I’d drive with two babies for 4-5 hours into the snowy mountains and stay at the hotel with him. That’s how we had Valentine’s day together, our little family, at a little diner spot in Flagstaff.
The next spring the inevitable happened. He was sent to out of state. Not next door to New Mexico but 11 hours away to a transmission job in west Texas. I had managed to hold on to my sanity for a year with weekends and a few random visits but now I wasn’t going to see him until our family trip to Disneyland at the end of May. I won’t sugar coat it, this was a tough time. Our son was 2 and our daughter was 8 months and I was barely keeping it together.
And I know. I can hear you. Some of you have been living separately for years. And I raise you up trophy high! You are strong and courageous. It just isn’t for me. I did not get married so I could sleep alone. And my husband doesn’t go work his cute little tushie off to come home to an empty house. When we looked at the reality that our son would be nearly 5 when the apprenticeship was over it was a no brainer. You cannot buy back time and we were missing each other’s lives.
We decided to sell the house and move into our 29 ft. bumper pull trailer together. So while he was in Texas, working dawn until dusk, I was selling everything I could and putting what I couldn’t, or really didn’t want to sell, into a storage unit. Dishes went, my rocking chair stayed. I couldn’t have done this without the help of my family. Truly, they were indispensable. I had set an ambitious goal and I wanted to be in Texas by our anniversary in the beginning of June. Regardless of whether the house was sold. (It wasn’t.)
The night before my anniversary I loaded the kids into their carseats and my mom into the front seat. She graciously offered to help drive and I would drop her off at the airport in Odessa on my way. Our car was tiny and we could only just fit the two carseats in the back seat. I could only bring what I could fit in my trunk. This was pre-travel-trailer-life and I was not used to downsizing. But we made it work and even found room for a pot and my kitchen knives.
Y’all, Texas is huge. No, you don’t understand. It. Is. Huge. I feel like we hit El Paso 2 hours into our trip and the rest was Texas and we weren’t even going to the middle of the state! The sun was rising as I dropped my mom off and the kids walked around the little airport in Odessa.
Fields and fields passed interspersed with tiny towns that you’d miss if you sneezed twice. I was worried I’d passed Snyder, that it was a turn off I’d missed while I was yawning. I hadn’t. I just needed to keep going. Mind you, I was working with a flip phone. You remember that time right? You know, when you looked up the directions and wrote them down. Maybe you used a map.
We found the town and eventually the RV park. I had made it. I’d missed kissing my lineman good bye as he left for work by a couple hours, but I made it to him for our anniversary. I sent him a picture of our car in front of the trailer as soon as we got it.
Writing about this now makes me a little teary eyed. My Lineman is a happy man in general but when he got home he was absolutely jubilant! We were going to be together again. We were going to see each other every single day. It was the best anniversary present we could imagine. We didn’t realize how crazy it was to move our family into a little trailer, and we honestly didn’t care. We could figure anything out together. And that’s been how we handle most everything we come across. Together.
Until next time,