Week Thirty Two:
"Why are we doing this?" Michael asked as they headed, him carrying two pillows, towards their doctor's office. "I thought you were all in favor of the lots of drugs version of labor and delivery."
"I am in favor of lots of drugs. But apparently it can hurt for weeks before the drugs get to be part of this, and one of your mom's buddies was talking about how Lamaze training is really good for dealing with the stress of the baby after it's born."
"I can understand that, but why are we going to a class? Don't they have videos online or something?"
"They probably do. Just humor me. We'll go, we'll learn, we'll sit on the floor and breathe, and then come home and eat some frozen yogurt."
Ever since full-on summer had shown up, Michael can't keep enough frozen yogurt in the house. Fi's been gulping it down, as one of the few things that keep her comfortably cool.
He's at the point where he's wearing suits all the time, not because he's got anything particularly formal to do, but because, as a resident of south Florida, he doesn't own any sweaters, and the jacket keeps him comfortably warm in their home.
Lamaze classes are painfully boring. Maybe if he hadn't read everything in all of the books his mom got. Maybe if, after having done that, he hadn't gotten several obstetrics textbooks and then read them. And maybe if he hadn't spent hours on line watching live births, both vaginal and c-sections, he would have felt like he was learning something.
As it is, he's feeling awfully over-prepared for this whole thing.
He watches Fi do the whole breathing thing, doing it with her, and feels like this is pretty silly. He got better training than this from the CIA, and he's sure Fi's good with this, too. After all, it's not like either of them are new to the idea of focusing, forcing themselves to relax, and just go with it.
That's anti-interrogation 101.
He is amused to see the focus items the other couples bring. There are pretty pictures, a few stuffed animals, some small random bits of art, a redhead and her husband have a tiny pewter dragon, and he and Fi have a detonator. It's not set to blow anything, but as Fi said, "It's supposed to help me focus, and nothing makes me focus better than explosives." He couldn't argue with that, so they brought it.
The redhead sees it, nudges her husband, and smiles at them, but no one else in the class seems to know what it is.
At the end of class they walk out, and Michael says, "So, yogurt at home or out?"
"Out, I want toppings."
"Not a problem." He never anticipated his free yogurt with unlimited toppings for life card was going to come in this handy. But lately Fi's wanted lots of chocolate yogurt with tons of peanut butter sauce on it.
When they get there, she sits down and he fetches the yogurt. She's still limping from her damaged hip, and sitting or lying down seems to hurt a lot less than walking. Doc Johnson had said that from the looks of it, the suture between her sacrum and ilium had slipped, which is normal for small women with large babies, but the result of that is whenever she goes to take a step the muscles that stabilize her pelvis have to work a whole lot harder than normal. So, it's going to hurt until the baby is born and those bones have a chance to get back to where they belong. The good news is that most women heal up from this with no long term issues.
He sets the yogurt in front of her. "Do you want to go back?"
She takes a bite. "Not really. I don't feel like they had anything to offer I didn't already know."
"I appreciate you going."
He smiles and takes a bite of his blueberry yogurt. "Thanks."
On Thursday, the furniture showed up.
Friday and Saturday were punctuated by the sounds of power tools, occasional cursing, but mostly laughing. Sure, Fi had left for the "modification" of the nursery, and since the paint fumes ended up giving her a headache when she went in to check on it, not being there was probably a good thing, but she was there for furniture building.
The four of them, Sam, Jesse, Fi, and Michael sat in a small room, playing with power tools, putting together a crib, a dresser, a changing table, and a rocking chair, and enjoyed it.
It occurs to Michael that this is probably the last time for what will probably be quite a while that all four of them will work together on something, and that lends a bittersweet quality to the work.
On Saturday night, his mom, Katherine, and Elsa come over for dinner, and to see the grand unveiling of the nursery.
The walls and furniture all are crisp, cool white. The trim and bedding is a soft, rosy pink, feminine but nothing reminiscent of Barbie. The details, like the cushions on the rocking chair, the drawer pulls, the pad on the changing table, and the curtains are a dusty yellow-green.
It's a welcoming place, and as the Grandmas ohh and ahh over it, Michael can imagine Fi, sitting in that chair, nursing Elise, as he leans against the door and watches.
During dinner, as they trade tales of stubborn furniture and not having all the right pieces, he realizes that yes, this might be the last job they all gather for, for a while, but it's not the last time they'll all be together. These people will be here, together, in the coming months to enjoy each other and welcome this child into their family.
And that thought arcs through bittersweet and fills Michael with a sense of peace and hope.