Jane Darby Debut Part One: The Number Nine

21 Sep

On Thursday morning, September 8, while we were both getting ready for work, I asked Drew, “Do you remember what tomorrow is?” He didn’t. I told him to think on it, that he would figure it out. But, alas, he still didn’t know.

September 9 is the anniversary of us closing on our first house, and 2011 made for two years. It’s a pretty cool day, considering that on 09/09/09 we bought a home with house number 609 in zip code 35209. There’s definitely something about the number nine and the Crawfords.

Still, when “tomorrow” rolled around, neither Drew nor I even thought about the house. In fact, we may never actually attribute 09/09 to the poor house again.

The week had already started out to be a crazy one, and very quickly at that. On Tuesday, September 6, Drew tweeted: “This week has been very interesting so far. Hoping it’ll be a bit more normal going forward.” (Sorry, Drew.)

On that Monday, after returning from a Labor Day weekend visit to Meridian (during a very rainy and windy drive on I-20/59 thanks to Tropical Storm Lee!), we came home to find that our power was out. Not good, since I was having what we’ll call “strange pregnancy issues” that had started up the night before. I had already decided to call the doctor’s office when they first opened on Tuesday, but by morning, I’d convinced myself to contact the on-call physician before the office even opened.

I wasn’t worried about my strange pregnancy issues, because we’d learned about them in some classes and were told they weren’t cause for concern. Plus, the baby was kicking up a storm. Still, at that point I was 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant, and I knew it was a little soon.

On the phone I explained to the physician exactly what was going on with my body. I am somewhat of an over-reactor, and I didn’t want to be “that girl,” so I was honestly gearing up for a sound explanation that would simply rule out any concerns I had. But this is what he told me:

“Well, from what you say, it sounds like your water has broken, and we usually put you on a Pitocin drip and have that baby.”

I remember sitting on our living room couch in shock. I got Drew and told him that we had to go to Labor and Delivery, that we might be having a baby that day, September 6, well in advance of our October 20 due date. After a short cry/freak out on my part, we packed a few things, got dressed sans showers, and headed out.

The next hours at the hospital were a bit chaotic, and we went through several verdicts: Yes, your water has broken. / No, your water hasn’t broken. / Well, we don’t know, it sure seems like your water has broken.


I’ll spare you the details of how the nurses initially test for amniotic fluid leakage, but the discrepancies led the doctor to perform an extensive ultrasound and microscopic exam. Because both ended up checking out fine, we eventually went home with orders to keep my activity level low-key. If I had questions or concerns, I could always call back.

Drew and I went home that night relieved. After all, we thought we might be having a baby that day, and nurses had told us our baby would likely have to spend a few days in the NICU if born at this time. We didn’t like hearing that. It was a big save, we thought. We finally called our parents and explained the situation. We hadn’t wanted to scare them before we knew they actually had something to be scared about.

I recapped to my closest coworkers what had happened, and that it was just a big, fat false alarm. I e-mailed the ladies in our Sunday school class to pray for us, that we’d had a minor scare, but that it was merely that: a scare and nothing more.

Wednesday went on as normal as could be. I was still having my strange pregnancy issues, and some increased full-body soreness and back pain, but I told myself not to worry. I’d had to teach myself not to be a complete worry wort throughout my pregnancy, and I wasn’t about to give in to my worrisome self at the ninth hour.

Because the prospect of having our baby so soon alarmed us so much, Drew and I spent Wednesday night using baby registry credit to finish purchasing all our must-have baby items: a crib mattress, car seat head rest, and jogging stroller, to name a few. We were set should the baby decide to come sooner than later.

Thursday rolled around, and my strange pregnancy issues were, well, more strange. I had several friends and family members encourage me to call the doctor back. What I really wanted was peace of mind: for the doctor to sit me down and completely assure me that I had nothing to worry about. If I could get that, I’d promise not to worry anymore.

Thankfully, the doctor’s nurse got me in for a 1:15 p.m. appointment on Thursday afternoon. I was excited. Just the assurance I need, I thought. I told my boss I had to return to the doctor for another quick checkup, but that I’d likely be back for our weekly 3 p.m. meeting. Honestly, I did think I would be back. I even left uneaten food on my desk! Normally when I worry something is wrong with me, I turn out to be just fine and dandy. Not this time, however.

When I saw my doctor, she performed the same initial test I’d had on the previous Tuesday. Her immediate reaction: “Your water has broken; I’m 100% positive.” I sort of doubted it in my mind, and told her that on Tuesday it was up in the air. But again, she assured me: the water has broken.

I called Drew at his work but told him to hang tight. It was sort of a “here we go again” phone call. I had another ultrasound, where I saw the baby was (still) a girl and had lots of hair. The tech told me the fluid around the baby looked great, and that the baby’s heart rate was excellent, so again, I wasn’t worried.

When I later spoke with my doctor, she confirmed yes, the fluid around the baby was at a good level. The amount, she said, had however dropped 32% in two days. Uh oh. Even if it wasn’t detectable on Tuesday, and even if my water actually hadn’t broken then, now it had. There was no reason for it. Nothing had caused it. These things just happen. And baby girl had to come out.

The ultrasound said the baby was measuring almost six pounds, but we were told many times these measurements are not to be taken as accurate. We were also told by one person that our baby may not have to endure a NICU stay at all, while another assured us at this point in my pregnancy our baby would definitely have to go there. We took all of this in stride.

For the next few hours, everything (sort of) sank in. Drew left his office and came to meet me, where I’d already been admitted to room 304 (my home for the next six days.) We got on the phone again with our parents and delivered the news: we’re back at the hospital, and grandbaby is coming six weeks early.


Drew and I were so very cool, calm, and collected. The doctors and nurses did an excellent job of ensuring that our baby was in great shape and in good hands. The predicted “short stay in NICU” didn’t sound all that bad, but as I later learned, I had no idea what NICU was anyway. Had I known what to expect, I would have absolutely dreaded it from the start.

Family began to head our way, and I had some (very uncomfortable) procedures to prepare me for the morning’s impending labor. The plan was to deliver normally, with some help inducing and then later an epidural. That night, I took a shower, washed and dried my hair, and made sure I was ready for all the just-gave-birth pictures that would ensue the next day.

Looking back, I feel a little naive for being so carefree. Maybe it was the shock factor. Or maybe I really wasn’t worried at all. Not then anyway. But the events of the next day, 09/09,  pretty much blindsided us.

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