Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Burning The House Down


This time of year brings back all the feels as I remember the final few weeks that we waited to meet Miss Addison for the first time 8 years ago.

While I have shared a lot about the pregnancy, her prenatal diagnosis, and the overall uncertainty as to what was coming, I don't think I've shared how I almost burned our house down while on bedrest.

And how it was completely my fault, which showed just how inept I was to handle adult things. Which then leads me to seriously question how a couple short months later, the hospital trusted us to leave with a medically fragile infant who required g-tube feedings, full time oxygen, and a medicine schedule that almost required a full up nursing degree.

They say special children require special parents. I say that special children make parents into something much better and stronger than they were previously, making them then able to do what they need to do to keep all the people alive. At least this is true in our story.

But back to the house burning down.

Because of our high risk pregnancy, we had lot of extra tests done. One of these tests told us that there was a very high chance that Addison would be born prematurely. (She wasn't. Unless you count an induction at 39 weeks and 31 hours of excruciating labor because she decided that SHE WOULD NEVER BE BORN as "premature".)

Because of this test result and some of the physical stuff that I was going through, I was put on temporary bedrest. I was to stay as unstressed as possible. To RELAX. To not worry. To make sure she stayed in there cookin' as long as possible.

Oh okay. Missing days of work with nothing to do but sit around and ponder how my unborn baby had Down syndrome and who knows what kind of physical problems and the entire pity party I had going on at this point in the pregnancy....this was all SUPER relaxing of course. (sarcasm font)

I was lying on the couch, trying to still my mind, when I received an email from a student WHILE they were supposed to be in MY CLASS with the sub and I was all like "why are they emailing me during class and I should BE THERE to keep these kiddos in LINE."

It was then that I decided that I should make a nice, calming fire in the fireplace. Surely as I stared at the dancing flames and felt the warmth fill my house, I would relax. I would build an ambiance of nonstress by building the perfect fireplace fire to distract me.

I decided to use a firelog starter that I had picked up on clearance for .50 (thrifty!!!!) to create as little work for myself as possible. (Look at me, rockin' bedrest!)

Also, before Aaron left, I had asked him to open the damper as I was still confused how to do this, BUT I knew it was important and that he could take care of it for me.

Done and DONE.

Except the wind somehow blew the damper shut (but I didn't realize it) and so this cheap, fire starter log immediately started to fill the house with billowing, black smoke. So much smoke, I knew I should get out of the house and not breathe it in. (But HEY that starter log did start a fire SUPER FAST! So win?)

I couldn't reach Aaron. I couldn't put the fire out as it was now roaring. I couldn't reach the damper even if I had realized that this was the issue.

What's a girl to do?

"911 what's your emergency?"

Next thing I knew, I was standing out in the yard, large and pregnant, sobbing, while dozens of men in uniform flooded inside my house to put out my "fire". (they ended up just opening the damper and then blowing out all the smoke OH MY WORD THE HUMILIATION)

Meanwhile, we live on a somewhat busy, 2 lane road. We also live right down the street from both the police and fire stations. This must have been a slow day because soon firetrucks and police trucks and ambulances came in such large numbers that the entire road was shut down. I almost imagine that every emergency vehicle in the state of Vermont was surrounding my house that day. It was dramatic.

Traffic on the busy road was stopped completely. Long lines of cars parked along the road, as far as the eye could see.

I could feel them all staring at me as I stood sobbing in my front yard in my pajamas in the middle of the afternoon.

Black, thick smoke was billowing out of my newly purchased home. (Adulting is hard.)

And I was NOT RELAXING and what if the baby came TODAY??? (low stress point achieved! Obviously.)

Did I mention we were entertaining an out of town guest? Yes, just then Aaron pulled up with his friend (they had been all the way across town and it took them a minute to get to us as traffic was stopped).

The emergency personnel secured the house and slowly departed. As we all walked back into the house, the first thing that struck me was all the black cobwebs. Black cobwebs? I don't understand? Were these spun while I was outside? Where did they all come from? (face palm)

This was not my finest moment. BUT spoiler alert....my house didn't burn down...Aaron had a great visit with his friend...Addison didn't come early...and students all survived the day with the sub just fine...and the fire, police, and ambulance response time is EXCELLENT to my house which was quite reassuring as we then brought Addison home not sure what might happen day to day.

I love looking back and laughing at traumatic stories....after they are all done.

So yeah...these weeks are packed full of memories from this anticipatory time before Addison was born. I also love looking back to those vulnerable emotions and questions, knowing now that there is a "happily ever after" to my grief at her diagnosis. I wish I could go back to Deanna then and show her a picture of what life would be like with Down syndrome. I think this was the relaxing info that I really needed. Not a fire.

Lesson learned. (-;