The days, weeks, and months after your death were difficult to say the least. August trudged into September, fall slid into winter, and soon it felt as if the dark cold world outside reflected what was in my heart. You left too soon and too suddenly. There was still so much I wanted to share with you.
I wanted you to see Robby graduate college, and share in my immense pride as he set forth into the world to share his gift of song. I want you to see him marry someday, and share in his happiness like you did on Katie’s joyous day. I wanted you there when Katie and Nate announced their pregnancy. I wanted to see the tears of joy on your face when you saw your Great Grandchild for the first time. I wanted you to see me become a Grandma.
Wherever you are, I pray you are close enough to atleast feel the joy I feel each and every day, the joys inherent with being a Mom and Grandma. The story of my life as a Grandma is one I won’t be able to share with you in person but I have found the next best way, the written word. You gave me the gift of your love for writing, and I am giving it back to you, and to Bristol. I want you to know each other. I want to share Bristol with you Mom, and tell you her story, from the beginning.
Bristol became a twinkle, as you liked to say, in Katie and Nate’s eyes just as the calendar turned to spring in 2011. She was the tiny seed of a beautiful little flower in our lives already. After a long dark winter of mourning your loss, Mom, we had a life to celebrate.
Katie blossomed and she was a beautiful Mommy to be. Nate took very good care of her, he was so excited to be a Dad. Watching them together, preparing for their first born, made my heart swell with pride.
Spring blossomed into summer, summer sweltered into fall, and Katie swelled into her third trimester. We gave her a shower in October. Aunt Betty gave Katie one of your little trinket boxes for Bristol. It was one of many sweet gifts, and one of a few tearful moments that day.
Katie’s due date was November 25th, Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, and one of Katies favorite days. As you know, she loved to stay up all night and get to the sales bright and early. So we thought it was pretty funny that she was due to deliver on that particular day. As fate would have it, Baby Bagley couldn’t wait for the 25th to arrive. Early evening on the 23rd of November, the night before Thanksgiving, Katie started to have contractions. She and Nate were spending the evening with friends, and when the contractions became stronger, came home so she could relax, take a bath, and figure out whether or not her contractions were the real thing. The contractions became stronger after the bath so they called the doctor, and headed for Borgess Hospital.
The excitement began almost immediately when on the way to the hospital at 3am Katie spotted a woman walking down the middle of the road, her coat wide open, revealing her bra, no shirt, just a bra. Thanks, lady prostitute, Katie needed a distraction right about then.
Once they got to the hospital and got settled in, Katie called me. I knew when I saw my phone light up at 4:30am, it was time. Steve and I quickly headed to the hospital.
I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to garner the strength to help Katie through the labor. While she was in light labor, Katie wanted friends and family to visit. When heavy labor began she wanted Nate, Kristy( Katie amd Nate’s cousin and close friend, and a wonderful nurse), and me to be there for her. I had been stuck in bed for months with a Fibromyalgia flare, and I prayed everyday for God to take away the pain so I could be Mom and Grandma. My prayers were answered and as each minute passed in that hospital room I was infused with more and more power over the pain.
I also felt your presence in the room Mom, watching over us, and it gave me strength. You were there when Katie and Robby took their first breath, and I was once again thankful you were with us again. I wish I could say I handled labor as well as Katie, but I cannot. Remember how much I swore when I was in labor with Katie? And how much I screamed with Robby? Yikes! You were so calm through the whole thing Mom. I kept thinking about your reassuring smile and your loving words while I tried to emulate your actions for Katie. She didn’t really need much reassuring. She was so strong and happy through the whole thing. And Nate was a rock, I was so proud of both of them. Just when I thought I couldn’t be prouder, the doctor told us the baby’s cord was compressed and we needed to get her out quick. Instead of panicking like most people, Katie very calmly said ok, with the strength and determination I have seen through the years, but never realized just how strong until that very moment. I know she was scared, we all were, but she never wavered, and neither did Nate. He was right there with her, reassuring her, trying to bear as much of the burden as humanly possible.
It was the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, and the Lions game was on, just like it was when I gave birth to Katie on a hot September Sunday 26 years earlier. And just like I did all those years ago, Katie began to push. She pushed for over an hour, and during that time the baby’s heart rate would fall very low and faint. The doctor would reposition her to slacken the cord, and her heart rate would return, strong and steady. We watched the crown of her sweet little head poke through for what seemed like an eternity. With every heartbeat my heart rose and fell at the same rate.
At 2:19 pm on November 24, 2011, Bristol Layne Bagley entered our lives and our hearts. She didn’t cry right away, and she was a scary shade of purple. But very soon her skin began to lighten, and she began to breathe. Just as the doctor was placing her on Katies chest she took a very deep breath, opened her eyes and looked around. She was so sweet laying there in her Mommy’s arms covered in our tears, squirming around, she was so strong and alert.
It was time to cut the cord and check her out. Nate, still concerned about Bristol and her Mom, and still shaking from the adrenaline, asked me if I would like to cut the cord. Through tears of joy I cut the cord connecting Katie to Bristol, and thought to myself, ‘as one connection ends, another begins….’