The Circle of Life

Two weeks ago, on May 1st 2009, my family went through a whirlwind of emotions. We celebrated the birth of our sweet little Aiden Joseph on the same day that we grieved the loss of my dear grandfather, Pappy.

Pappy, my cousin Shannon and I at our First Communion

Baby Aiden Joseph

My mom had called to say that she was on her way to the hospital, so Brian headed to the cafeteria for some breakfast. I was laying there thinking about what the day would hold when I heard a Code Blue in the Emergency room called over the PA system. Not really thinking about it, I said a quick prayer for the poor patient whose heart had stopped. A few minutes later my mom came into the room. She explained that she was a little bit late because she had stopped in the ER on her way up. My Pappy had been brought in by ambulance and she had stopped in to see how he was. As soon as I heard that, I knew that he had been the person who I had just prayed for. I asked her if they had called a code blue on him and she nodded her head. She went on to tell me that my dad had followed the ambulance to the hospital and was downstairs with my Pappy. By this time Brian had come back into the room so I filled him in. All of a sudden my mom jumped up and said that she was going to run downstairs to check in with my dad and see how Pappy was doing. Brian and I settled in for another long day. My sweet nurse, Kelly came in and started the pitocin again for day two of intense labor. This time we all had our fingers crossed that I would finally start to progress and avoid a c-section. My mom slipped back into the room. I immediately asked her how my Pappy was and she had a funny look on her face. She tried to smile and she said, “Well, it’s pretty bad. He’s not doing very well. ” Something that you need to know about my mom is that she is a wonderful person, but a terrible liar. I knew immediately that my Pappy was gone. ” He’s gone isn’t he? Did he die?” I asked her starting to cry. I knew that she was trying to keep me from getting upset. She kept telling me to calm down, but I needed to cry. It was more than I could deal with at the moment. I just needed some time to be sad. After I had calmed down, I asked her what had happened. Thankfully she had gone down to the ER when she did. She was there just in time to be there with my dad and his brothers and sisters and my Grandma to say goodbye. My Pappy passed away Friday morning surrounded by his children and his wife of 63 years.

Pappy and I at my wedding

My dad came up to my room to check in on me. Brian went to my dad and hugged him telling him how sorry he was. That was about more than I could handle. My poor dad was going from the low of losing his dad to the high of becoming a grandpa again. It was a very emotional day for all of us, but especially him. He hugged me and told me that he had told my Pappy not to worry because we had his replacement upstairs waiting to join the family.
The rest of the day was very difficult. I kept going back and forth between excitedly awaiting the arrival of our little one to being overwhelmed by sadness at the loss of my Pappy. It was further complicated by the fact that I was not progressing the way that I needed to and a c-section was starting to look pretty likely. Finally at about 5:00 that evening, the doctor came in to check me. I had a feeling when she walked in that it was now or never. If I wasn’t ready to start pushing I was headed to the OR. That thought scared me. I had seven other kids at home. I don’t have time to recover from surgery. Not to mention the fact that I have a clotting disorder and am on blood thinners which makes surgery even more tricky. I said a quick prayer that I would some how be fully dilated. Miraculously I was! Doctor Narcisse looked as shocked as I felt. She said, “Ok, let’s try to push and see what you can do. ” She still had the OR on standby and didn’t think that I was going to be able to deliver him vaginally. Quite frankly I was starting to doubt myself too. After pushing for about 45 minutes, she had me flip onto my side to try to push. I was praying harder and harder as it looked more and more likely that I was going to end up in the OR. The problem was that Aiden was coming down at an angle and was also “sunny side up” instead of face down like he should have been. Basically as I was pushing, he needed to “spin” around into the right position. I was becoming exhausted. I was praying to every saint that I could think of and started to pray to my Pappy. I figured that he was alot closer to Jesus where he was than I was and maybe he could help me out a little bit. Well, it worked. All of a sudden, I heard the doctor and the midwife start cheering, “He’s spinning! Look at that baby spin!” Ok, I have to be honest. That freaked me out. I couldn’t see what they were talking about and quite frankly I didn’t really want to. What in the heck was “spinning!?” I just knew that I wanted it all to be over and all of a sudden it was. My little trouble maker had finally arrived. He had the cord pretty tightly wrapped around his neck and was a little bit floppy at first, but he perked up with a little bit of oxygen. His color pinked up and he started to cry.

Aiden Joseph

And at that moment the circle of life had been completed. As one angel slipped away from us, another came to be with us. I am sure that although Aiden will never have the privilege of knowing Pappy, he will always have a special bond with him. I know that Pappy will continue to look out him as he will for all of us.

This is from Thanksgiving 2008. My Gram and Pappy are in the middle. They are surrounded by their kids and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

2 thoughts on “The Circle of Life

  1. That was just beautiful, Nic. God is so good. I know how you feel having lost my mom shortly after Bryce’s birth and shortly before the twins’. “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD!” Aiden is a beautiful baby – and you are an amazing mom! Keep up the good work.


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