Yes, my womb had a new tenant and this pregnancy, as all others before it, advanced just as “ordinary” as its forerunners; accompanied by the usual -nausea, wretched vomiting, dizziness and bipolar-like mood swings. I really didn´t remember what “normal” felt like anymore and had developed my own peculiar barometer for measuring discomfort.
During the first trimester, I sought to maintain my strict workout schedule, but it became more difficult as my body expanded in all directions. I tried to continue training my “client princesses,” but because they demanded so much attention which sometimes also included performing the actual exercises for them, I had to wind the business down as well.
My children were excited to have another baby to play with and my husband had just realized his dream of starting his own company. He had held onto his vision for many years. Just recently he had prepared the business plan and finally put together a team of investors and now his office was open. He was ecstatic. We were radiating happiness; finally, after so much heartache.
Through it all and despite the circumstances, we always tried to stay optimistic, at least for the sake of the children. There were no “pity parties” at my house. Our kids were generally unaware of our slew of misfortunes. Being so little and impressionable we tried to avoid as much as possible that they should absorb any of our burdens. In fact, to this day, they have no idea about most of the incidents that transpired. Why mention it now? I guess they will just have to wait for the book to come out to first learn about it all!
The months flew by and just five weeks prior to the baby´s delivery, we planned an overnight romantic escapade to a remote island off the Caribbean coast. We were celebrating our eight year anniversary which seemed so totally ridiculous considering that we had experienced so much together that it felt as though we were already married fifty years.
The logistics involved in the planning of one night away were astounding. We managed to cover it all; we had three nannies watching over the children, a gardener in charge of the dogs and overall security of the house and a very dear friend spending the night to oversee this small battalion. All doctors and veterinarians were notified of our departure (as if it were for a month,) and to receive any phone call from our loyal comrade, Madam Supervisor.
One morning as soon as we saw the children off to school, we were history. We arrived after a four hour car ride over dirt roads full of giant potholes and stones the size of baseballs. Once we got to the "ferry"- which was actually a small canoe, we were paddled across a gorgeous bay to a private island about thirty minutes from the mainland. On the island were only two hotels, ours and an old dilapidated abandoned edifice.
After we checked into our room, we rapidly changed into our adventure gear and did some hiking around the island. Upon returning to the property all sweaty and bruised up, we indulged in a refreshing swim and with the hunger of a pack of wolves, were now ready to feast. We were savouring our scrumptious tropical lunch accompanied by the proverbial piña colada and admiring the exotic birds flying freely about this boutique hotel property. The day was breathtaking and we absorbed the tranquillity of the ambiance right through to our veins. We wanted to capture this feeling forever and have it become part of our very being.
With such a positive outlook (minimally assisted by a few strong tropical beverages,)we conversed about gearing up for another round of parenthood; diapers, nighttime feedings, the whole deal. This time it would be virtually undetectable, we agreed, that an additional child was about to arrive. I mean, once you run out of hands and lap-space to hold them, it´s really all the same.
Once back inside the hotel room, we dozed on and off, tired from all the relaxing. We looked out our hotel room window and witnessed a magnificent sunset and toasted to our eight years of happy matrimony. We went through each anniversary one by one reminiscing about how we celebrated each year and remembering what we ate, what gifts we exchanged and how many children were born or about to be born at that given time.
I don´t remember at what time we fell asleep, but I do recall receiving the horrifying phone call at 11:37pm. Our closest friend, the sister of the woman who was house-sitting told us something unconscionable. There had been a break in robbery and all the adults in our house had been tied up and gagged at gunpoint. Without catching her breath, she immediately told us that by a miracle of God, the children were not touched and had in fact slept through the entire incident….
To be continued…