Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nineteen Years Ago in Slidell, LA - Happy Birthday, Peter!

Just to back up a little, twenty years ago our little family of four was told that we were to move from Houston, TX, to New Orleans, LA for my husband at the time's job with an oil company.  At that time our boys we had were aged 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 year old.  We settled in a little town on the east side of Lake Ponchartrain called Slidell.  We were a mere 10 miles from the Mississippi state line.   We'd only been in Houston for 2 years at that time.  Almost immediately after our move I discovered I was pregnant.  About a month after that the oil company that had transferred us to Louisiana announced that in 6 months major layoffs were to commence.  We spent those six months scrimping and saving just in case the job was going to be gone.  We spent very little time exploring Louisiana, although we did some low-price, close-by things like picking blueberries and checking out Mississippi and a very little bit of New Orleans.  We did Mardi Gras small-town Slidell-style, which was fine, actually, with the small boys.  During all of this time this third child grew inside me, and I wondered how we were going to manage with three children.  It was definitely a time of high stress, and I didn't have the tools to deal with it.
Peter and Alan in CO

I had a very laid-back doctor, which I guess was good for the third pregnancy.  He was so laid back though, that when the ultrasound likely clearly showed that we were having another boy, he causally said that "it wasn't clear".  The ultrasound on the other two boys were pretty clear as to their gender, so this led me to believe that we might actually be having a girl.  That summer I swelled up in the heat and humidity so much that I couldn't wear any of my shoes comfortably, even the sandals that velcroed shut.

Peter: 4 months old, TX
Around the middle of July we got the word that my husband would keep his job but we needed to move back to Houston as soon as possible.  I put in my vote for after the baby being born.  With that news we relaxed a little and waited for the baby to be born and made arrangements for our move back to Texas.

Peter: A few days old
August 24 arrived with Hurricane Andrew threatening the New Orleans area, so the boys and their dad evacuated to a shelter in Mississippi, while I was deposited the the local hospital since I was so close to my due date.  Thankfully, the hurricane did not come through Slidell, and we were home again in short order.

My mother, my only help arriving into town, could only be in Slidell for three days.  The laid back doctor somehow agreed to induce labor three days before the due date so that I could have the help at home I needed.  At this point we were still thinking we were having a girl, and the doctor was predicting approximately 8 lb.

Alan and Peter, CO
Peter's dad went into work as usual that day, a bit early, as his memory of George's birth was probably still burning in his mind.  A result of his going into work so early resulted in his car being blocked by later arrivals in the lot, so was virtually inaccessible without contacting the people whose cars were parked behind his.  My instructions were to call when "things got going" with the thought that he'd drive the hour commute and make it in time for the birth. 
All the boys, 6th, 4th, and 2nd grade

Things got going pretty quickly, as it turns out.  By 11 am, things were getting going, and I'd had an epidural, and the call had gone in to the husband to go ahead and come out.  We waited and waited, only due to the epidural assisting in blocking all urge to push.  While we waited, it occurred to me to ask the nurse if she could see the baby's head.  She responded "Yes, and there's a big head of hair."  At that moment I knew I wasn't having a girl, and KNEW it was a boy.  After his dad arrived, and the baby was born, it turns out the doctor was a bit off on his weight assessment too, as Peter was born a whopping 9 lb 13 oz., at 12:05 on September 9, 1992.
Alan and Peter with his broken toe

The next day when the doctor came in to check on me, he told me that he didn't want to ruin the "surprise" for me that for the next 60 years I was going to know that I was the mother of three boys, and that's why he hemmed and hawed regarding the ultrasound.

George, Peter and Alan, May 2010
In the hospital I had a hormonal lapse and named him Peter Matthew when the original plan was to name him after his grandfathers.  After I talked to my dad to announce his birth and told him his name, I felt horrible, and realized he needed to be Peter David, so I put in the name change immediately.
Peter in Texas

Even though those early unknowing and uncomfortable days were full of trepidation and doubt and worry, the days and times since then have been even more fulfilled by having this child, as well as his brothers.  I have many stories about Peter and his brothers that will come in future installments.
All the boys, CO

Right now all I can say to Peter is:  Happy 19th Birthday!  I have no idea how you got to be so old so fast.  I am very proud of who you are and am excited to see your life unfold in front of you one step at a time.
Peter and me, May 20

1 comment:

  1. Yay for you and Yay for Peter!!!! Now he even had a chin!