My little sister rarely does things as she’s “supposed” to. Rather than watch a movie once or twice, she’ll watch it a billion times more until she has it memorized. Invite over strangers or old people to have dinner, and she’ll bring up sex as a conversation topic. When we were kids, there was a time when she refused to put on clothes, at least in the house. She and my brother would run like monkeys naked through the house, shimmy up door frames and then swinging like bells. Even her hair is rebellious: my brother and I are blonds like my mom; she’s a redhead like no one else.
So it shouldn’t have come as much surprise, way back in October, to get a call from Jessie that she was pregnant. Though they hadn’t been trying, she and her long-time boyfriend welcomed the news. They were due in late June. We were due in mid-May. My parents were about to be grandparents for the first time, times two.
In the months that followed, we talked in a way we hadn’t before. Like moms, or soon-to-be-moms. Though I’m not pregnant, I am living with a pregnant woman, so I could commiserate with Jessie. She’d break down in uncontrollable tears and I’d tell her Marta was doing the same. She’d be dizzy with nausea and I’d say that Marta had felt that way a month or so back but that it had passed. In some ways Marta was like her pregnancy pioneer–by about a month and a half. Don’t worry, it get’s so much better in the second trimester, I told Jessie. But wait, I warned, it gets worse again in the third.
Marta was the pioneer, that is, until this Sunday, when my dad was in town and we got a call from Fred, Jessie’s boyfriend, that they were in the hospital. Jessie had started leaking some fluid and was having what seemed like contractions. The hospital admitted her. We were all suddenly very worried.
It turns out Jessie’s water had broken, but not entirely. Her baby, also a girl, was at 31 weeks. The hospital staff thought they might be able to reposition the baby so she could reach the pockets of amniotic fluid that remained. They told Jessie she’d be on bed rest, in the hospital, for up to a month.
But Jessie kept having pain. She told the doctors, and they told her it was probably from the baby moving around to find the pockets of fluid. Eventually they realized it was’t that. She was going into labor. On Tuesday we got another call from Fred that they were taking her to the delivery room. Less than an hour later, I talked to Jessie and she said, “She’s here.”
“What!?” I said.
“She arrived,” Jessie said. “She is tiny and has super black hair.”
And so, at 12:41 p.m. on April 16, Linnea Leo Viren Trujillo was born. Here she is:
She weighed around 3 pounds and will likely have to stay in intensive care for up to a month, but the doctors say she’s OK. They didn’t have to give her a tube for oxygen, though she does have a little puffer (that peach thing in the picture) that helps her breath. My mom’s up there now, helping my sister get everything ready.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are just watching from afar. I get so teary just looking at this picture of my sister’s baby, I’m frightened for how I’ll feel when Marta gives birth. But I’m excited that I’ll be able to share that experience with Jessie. In fact, I can’t think of a better person.
This is the picture I keep beside my computer when I write. I’m not sure why, exactly, except that looking at it makes me happy in that nostalgia-I’m-gonna-cry way . It’s Jessie and me, both fresh out of a bath, back in those days when “being a mom” was something you pretended to do.