The day's schedule was pretty well set. We were heading to Cape Girardeau to spend the day with our daughter celebrating her birthday.
The next thing I knew my wife came crashing into the room.
"We're having a baby," she burst out. I just hope the Privett s and Spencers were awake by then because I'm fairly certain they heard our good news as well.
"Adam called and said he and Andrea are at the hospital. He said there's no need to hurry it'll probably be six or seven hours," she added.
Change of plans.
I got up and headed into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. I took my cup and went into the den, sat down and turned the news on. My wife was in the bathroom and heard the television come on.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
Silly me. I knew it was about 3 and one-half to four hours to get to the hospital, depending on how much time we spent in Cape getting our daughter loaded up. Adam had said six to seven hours. I had plenty of time for a cup of coffee.
We loaded baby gifts from local friends and Christmas gifts into the vehicle and headed out. We were making good time. Haylee was on board and things were progressing well.
My wife was exchanging an occasional text and phone call with Adam, keeping us informed on the progress, or lack thereof. Then came word that they were going to break the mother-to-be's water at 10:30. At that point I knew that if my wife's first grandchild was born and she wasn't there there would be an opening on the grandfather Christmas list next year.
With apologies to Dennis Rainey and the rest of his troopers; we made it on time. In the event this can be construed as any sort of confession send the ticket along. My wife agreed to pay it anyway in the event we had an up close and personal encounter with Missouri's finest. I was not too optimistic her strategy of "It's our first grand baby," would garner much sympathy.
We walked into the birthing room to find it pretty well stocked with family. Dave and Joyce Bono and Andrea's brother, Jeremy, were there and doing a pretty good job of what we would all be doing for the next several hours; sitting around.
Water flowed and Andrea was given an epidural for the pain. Adam was looking for a little sympathy for himself showing where Andrea was um, holding his hand when the labor pains began to get a little intense, but it didn't work.
We started our own little pools about whether or not the baby would have hair, how much she would weigh and what time she would make her debut. Jeremy had already called the day. He passed up a hunting trip and came into town because he, "Just had a feeling."
Our first guesstimates on the time came and went after the four o'clock hour passed.
Around five we learned the time was near and the nursing staff began to make preparations. No doctor though.
A few minutes before six the doctor with, what we learned were "pretty eyes" came strolling off the elevator. Andrea and her mother have the same doctor and I suppose pretty eyes are as good as anything when it comes to choosing a doctor. Although, I suspect we were all more concerned with his catching skills at this point.
The doc changed into scrubs said a couple of encouraging words to all of us in the waiting room and headed off to work.
It was less than 15 minutes later when the little darling announced herself to the world. Aubrey Paige was here.
We gathered in the hallway outside the room. Nurses came and went a few times. Honestly, I never knew nurses moved so slow. We could hear Aubrey and I knew she was telling the staff she wanted to see the rest of us, but they just wouldn't hurry up. I know they really were not moving slow, it just seemed that way. Of course, it probably didn't help they had to run a gauntlet of six people every time one of them left or went back into the room.
Finally, the door opened and the nurse said, "Okay, she's ready."
At that point I was standing nearest the door. However, it occurred to me that it would be nice if I were able to walk out of the hospital and also that if I had a broken arm I wouldn't be able to hold the baby.
I made sure "Grandma" Bono was the first one in the door followed by "GiGi" Hunt.
Aubrey Paige is, "perfect" to borrow my wife's description.
She arrived with a full head of black hair at 6:02 p.m., weighing in at six pounds, twelve ounces.
Dave was the only one in the group that believed she would be born with a full head of hair. Joyce hit the weight right on the number. Lee was closest on the time at 6:03 and Jeremy predicted the correct day. It was a Bono family rout, but as Jeremy explained they had a home field advantage.
By the time we left Monday evening they were accusing me of being a baby hog. However, what most of the rest of them did not understand was that I was doing the work of both granddads. Dave had just a hint of a cold and so he would not get near Aubrey. The way I looked at it I was doing the grandpa thing for Dave and I both. He would have done the same for me if the situation had been reversed. I've also learned he's been making up for lost time now that the cold is passed and that's just fine.
Godparents, Jeremy "Uncle Jay" and Haylee, gave a good account of themselves as they began their duties.
I haven't been told when we're going back, but it would be a safe assumption that we see a lot more of Interstate 55 in the coming years.
Bud Hunt is
regional vice president,
publisher of the
Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and
North Stoddard Countian.