LORD, PLEASE KICK IN THE AFTERBURNERS!
Back at home, with the island trip a beautiful, but distant memory, it was back to work as usual. Life continued on it’s typical fast pace when you have two young people with a small child, two jobs and a home to take care of. We moved to a house that was close to the school I was teaching in and my family and friends helped me decorate it and fix it all up. Through all this I was beginning to get out more and we joined a church. I sand in the adult choir and Lindsay sang in the children’s choir, and we both enjoyed it very much. I had sung in the choir in college and in church choirs since I was very little, so I was very happy to be able to sing again. There was only one thing wrong with this picture. The choir loft was up a flight of stairs and it used to take me a very long time to get up there to sing and then another very long time to get back down again. But I had a good incentive and managed to do it and we all three became very active in our church.
In 1988, when Lindsay was five years old, I began to think that I really didn’t want to raise her as an only child. I talked to my neurologist about my getting pregnant again, and he didn’t seem to think that I would have any problem. That the spinal cord tumor shouldn’t have anything to do with being pregnant. Greg seemed willing to go along with whatever my wishes were as long as I wouldn’t be in any danger, so I was very thankful and happy when I learned that we were expecting again. My friends were thrilled with the news but my family was somewhat taken aback. By the end of my second month I had to agree with some of their fears and concerns. It seemed that my legs just didn’t want to hold me up anymore because I was having difficulty walking.I didn’t get discouraged because I really felt that if God didn’t want me to be pregnant, I wouldn’t be. So, as I did with every other situation, I turned it over to Him. I kept singing over and over again…”Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my soul, Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride, Ain’t no one gonna slow me down.” That and the prayers, “Dear God, just let me get to the car.” There came a day, while I was sitting at the school, that I decided that I had better start using my wheelchair. I was starting to lean against walls to hold me up. A high school is definitely not the place to fall flat on your back! Fortunately my mother was at home and was able to bring the wheelchair to me in a taxi.
The school had some classes for the physically handicapped students so luckily the entire school was equipped with ramps. There were also the students who would open doors for me along the way. I could still drive, so one of my friends would meet at my car and push me to my room and then during lunch hour, my friends would bring me a frozen dinner for me to pop into the microwave and we would all have lunch together. Then after school they would help me put the wheelchair back into the car and I would drive off to pick up Lindsay from pre-school and sing and play word games with her all the way home.
This went on for about three months. One day, while in the restroom, I found myself looking up at the ceiling instead of going out the door. Pregnant women should not be falling down on hard floors and I just wanted to die of embarrassment when three of the janitors had to come in and scoop me up off the floor in the restroom and put me back into my wheelchair. It was then that I realized that the wheelchair was not a viable option anymore and I decided to switch to an electric car that I could keep by side at all times. That is how I managed to keep working until April. I would use the cart to get me to my room and then transfer to a more comfortable chair. It’s funny, I probably could have made a fortune from all the students who wanted to take my cart for a ride through the hallways.
I was scheduled to have a cesarian section and it was planned that I would have a lower epidural anesthetic. But my neurologist said that I needed a general anesthetic and he called in the anesthesiologist. He also felt that he would be more comfortable using general anesthesia but that we had better do it right away, since I was already in labor. He turned to me and asked me if there was any pertinent medical history that he should know about. Oh Great, I thought. Now I have to tell this guy, in sixty seconds, what usually takes at least two hours, to try and make him understand what was going on with me! So off I started, as best I could, to bring him up to date.
Another doctor came in and said that he would be the one who would do the C-section and then he left. He came back in a little while and said that they were changing shifts and he wouldn’t actually be doing the C-section after all. By this time I thought, I just really didn’t care who does it, just pick one and get on with it. Fifteen to twenty minutes later he came back and said that the other doctor was late and he would be doing it after all. I guess you could use this circus run around as an example to someone to never go into labor during a shift change at the hospital. This kept going on back and forth until the new doctor finally showed up and as I was heading for the delivery room he said, “Good morning, Mrs. Janssen, how are you doing?” At that time I was trying extremely hard to remember that I was a Christian and not to say bad words or give dirty looks! He told me not to worry about anything that we’d be getting started right away. Thank God, he didn’t ask about my medical history.
I remember lying on the delivery table and when a hard contraction would come I would tighten up and shake uncontrollably. By this time I was dilated to a 9 and I asked the nurse, who was putting in my IV, would you please just put me under. Anesthesia does have its advantage and Lord, I really don’t want to do this anymore. I suppose the staff could see I wasn’t doing very well at this point and that is when blessed sleep took over. When I woke up, it was April 25, 1989, and Greg was there telling me we had a beautiful baby girl and we named her Brittany. Thank you Lord, for my healthy baby in spite of all the trials I went through to have her.
ANGEL BABY II
One advantage of having a C-section is that you end up with these incredibly beautiful babies that have no marks on them. They aren’t all red, and wrinkled up, but pink and plump and pretty. Brittany had a lot of dark chestnut hair and pretty deep blue eyes. I made up a song for her that went, “Brittany Lynn with eyes so blue, Mommie really does love you.” About six months later her eyes turned brown, like Lindsay’s, and her hair was getting continuously blonder. So much for my little blue eyed, chestnut haired baby, and so much for my little song. Guess I’ll have to think of something else to sing to her. How about, “Brittany Lynn, pretty little girl I like to touch, Mommie loves you, Oh so much.”
Now the trick was to get back on my feet. At the time, the only parts that were not cooperating were my legs. I was a typical silly mother and I wanted to be in the nursery changing diapers, but was unable to do so. Life went on it its usual rapid pace and although I was in a hospital bed I was thankful each day with my family. I tried to just take it one day at a time. I went to Loma Linda and to a neurologist and he just said to keep doing what I was doing. Medically I must realize that there is no magic pill that was going to make it all better. It’s like, if you can’t dance you might as well just listen to, and enjoy, the music. Thank goodness, Greg was never one to go out dancing anyway!