Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend with Valerie

I need to blog a little bit, but frankly I just want to crash into bed.

This weekend has sapped me. There were certainly some very bright spots, but I was either crying or on the verge of tears all weekend. OR, I was trying to be happy so that Crystal's daughter wouldn't realize how serious things were. I guess I'll start at the beginning.

Friday night, Crystal's husband Matt called and said that they were going to take her in for a c-section that night. I immediately imagined Matt and Crystal there alone with no plans for someone to look after Valerie. The baby was a month early. Why would you randomly plan for a babysitter on a Friday at midnight. I knew that Crystal needed to know that Valerie was being taken care of. So I told Matt I'd be there asap and I threw clothes in a bag and immediately got on the phone trying to get things taken care of for my rehearsal for midsummer.

As I drove down the highway, I began to realize how perfect this was. I had just bought a new car, the actors didn't really need me--they just needed the time to run through their stuff in preparation for the run thru next week. I have a great producer and wonderful people I can rely on in a pinch--and everything was going to be fine. I had kind of anticipated the baby coming early, and I had prepared myself to help out as much as possible. I really wanted to have a new car in time to be able to help Crystal out, since they live 2 hours away from me.

On my way, I called our friend Bri and asked her to come to the hospital in case they took Crystal in for surgery earlier. Bri got there in time to see the whole family asleep in their hospital room. Bri and I took Valerie from her parents and whisked her off to a motel. We got to bed and talked about how fun it would be to have a new brother. Crystal and Matt live an hour away from the hospital and I knew Valerie needed to be close to the hospital for the birth, etc.

The next day, the three of us went to the hospital in time to see Crystal wheeled off to surgery. We waited to see baby Asher come out, but we weren't able to see him. I was playing a careful balancing act with Valerie. I needed her to be close enough that Crystal felt Valerie wasn't missing anything important--like seeing her new broher--and I needed to keep Valerie's spirits up so that she wouldn't become worried about her mom. Crystal was pre-eclampsya and in a lot of pain. Valerie tends to turn her stress and worry into anger that I knew Crystal didn't want to deal with--so my goal was to keep Valerie's stress levels down--even if everyone else was going crazy.

A few hours after the birth, we found out that they were going to have to take the baby to UVA. We came over to see him. He was in his little travelling incubator. Matt gave him a blessing. And they took him away.

Crystal--who has given herself shots of heparin everyday to avoid blood clots because of her lupus to keep this little guy alive--who has felt this little guy kick her for the past 8 months and risked her life for this little guy--watched as they wheeled her baby away from her after barely touching his leg. I could hardly keep it together, but Valerie was watching.

After that depressing scene, Valerie and I went to McDonald's and then to Mamma Mia! We came home and colored a poster of dolphins.

This morning, I called Crystal to see how things were, and she told me that the baby had cried so much that he now had a hole in his lung. Matt's mom and sister were calling me trying to get information and I had to keep info to a minimum so that Valerie wouldn't get too worried. She began to complain about who she was going to be staying with and I could tell that some of the stress was getting to her.

I tried to keep her busy by having her clean her room. Yeah . . . they don't like that.

I tried to keep myself busy by cleaning a little here and there. I just needed to feel like I was doing SOMETHING to help.

Matt spent the morning on the phone with family members. And I packed up Valerie and took her to church.

At church, I helped the primary chorister--Cortney--get the kids to sing louder. It was brilliant and funny. Cortney is a genius with primary children. This was the bright spot of my day. Cortney volunteered to take Valerie for the next couple days. Her daughter is Valerie's best friend--so all is well there. I think Valerie will enjoy being with the kids. I heard her telling everyone how cute her little brother Asher is. The girl makes me smile!

After leaving Valerie with Cortney's family, I drove off--not knowing how I could help but still feeling this great need to do SOMETHING.

I called Matt and he said that he was staying in Charlottesville and I asked him if he needed anything. He said, a toothbrush. On my way to UVA, I stopped in to visit Crystal just to let her know that Valerie was being cared for.

To be continued . . .

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