It’s just after midnight, and I am sitting at the desk at home instead of in the hospital with Elvie. I knew that something was amiss when I had to take breaks while reading bedtime stories to Zinashi, just to regain my equilibrium. It wasn’t nausea, per se, but it was a distinct feeling of not being all right, perhaps a little dizzy. Still, I got ready to go back to the hospital, but as I faltered getting things into my bag, it finally clicked that the tension headache that had been building all afternoon was not letting up, but was, in fact, getting worse. It only took a quick text to Jarod saying, “I’m not feeling well,” to receive an offer that he would stay overnight with Elvie. I did go back to the hospital, with eyes closed on the streetcar to avoid excess dizziness, but only to exchange what Jarod needed at the hospital for what I would now need at home. It was that simple. I didn’t have to do anything other than let my husband know that I was struggling, and now I am home to do the only thing that will release the muscle which is causing all this nonsense: sleep. It is such a relief to parent with someone who can fill in the gaps that life unexpectedly leaves sometimes.
Back when I was single and hoping to get married and start a family, I had a friend who was constantly talking to me about marriage as a partnership. I didn’t think that sounded very romantic. It sounded like a business. A few very romantic relationships and just as many bout of brokenheartedness later, I realized that she might be on to something. So when I had my first date with Jarod and didn’t think it would go anywhere, I stopped, thought about it again, and decided that I would go on a second date. What I’d been doing in regards to finding a lifelong partner in crime had obviously not been working; I decided to try a new tactic, one that took into consideration first-date nerves and the value of a person who would be persistent but not overly emotional.
Nearly five years into our marriage, I can say that accepting that second date with Jarod was one of the best decisions I ever made. In him I’ve found a person who I am always comfortable with, who shares many of my opinions and values, and who is truly a partner and equal, and who regards me in the same way. Starting a family with him has been a beautiful thing, and I have loved watching him father Zinashi and now Elvie. With both girls, we have embraced certain challenges, and we have met those challenges together.
Going through this crisis with Elvie has further illuminated just what a great father and partner in parenting Jarod is. With Zinashi, I could often shoulder burdens myself and not have to ask for help, or if I did, it was more of a preference lately than a need. But with Elvie, there have been things that I absolutely couldn’t do on my own, like tonight. We may not have as much time to connect one-on-one as a couple, but I see how much he loves and values me through the way that he approaches our family life and steps in when I am unable to complete the task at hand.
Truth be told, I am a little sad that I didn’t make it through the last night with Elvie. I’m not sad, however, that Jarod is there with her. I know that in my absence, he will bring the nurturing she needs to make it through one last night at the hospital. And tomorrow, I’ll show up refreshed and feeling better, and we will bring our baby home together.