Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter

Coasting Along……………

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Coasting Along……..

I’ve got 2 months on the brain this week. Wednesday makes 2 months since we found out that Doria died. That sent me looking back to August 16th, that last innocent evening when everything looked right with the world. We were prepared, putting some finishing touches on things, and coasting to the start line. We were ready for Doria, and Doria was ready for us.

I started the day with a visit to the police station. I told everyone later that day how odd it had been to call the police in order to come in. Like many places, the police in Ames will check out the installation of your infant seat. I had a great meeting with the officer, and learned a whole ton of things about installing the car seat. I wondered quietly about installing it in the middle instead of the bucket seat. The officer suggested, “Why don’t we move it to the middle?” It was much more secure there. That thing wasn’t moving for anything. Therefore, Doria wouldn’t be moving for anything. My little girl would be secure. Daddy mission accomplished!.  The officer and I had a great chat, he offered his congratulations, and our march to Doria’s birth pressed on. All good! Things were coasting right along.

I went from there to a meeting with my major professor, who I work for this semester as a T.A., and my T.A. partner. We are three highly energetic, direct people, so our meetings are a blast. This was our first team meeting, and it was even better than expected. For me, that’s rare. I hate meetings, so I rarely expect much from meetings, and they usually deliver. This was a good one. We kidded around about the workload coming. My professor joked and reminded my partner and I that I “had it all planned out.” For months, I had mentioned that I was going to put my expectations for Doria on a clipboard and casually read them to her. I had a hilarious Facebook picture planned for it. It was a genius plan. Still, they both offered their help should I ever need it this semester with the new baby. Little did any of us know how much I would. Still coasting along…..

I followed that meeting with our annual T.A. orientation and lunch. It was a great time. Our Director of Graduate Education and I traded a ton of jokes (mostly at his expense–he’s an extremely kind man). He talked about how each of us would be going through major life changes as we adapted to our new roles. Every time he listed one or furthered his point, he’d turn my way and say “dad” with a wonderful gleam in his eye. Good meeting, having a great time. Things were going well, and the Dori-train was coasting right along.

I shared my excitement (again) with Becky, and we had a great night getting more things ready. We built a musical mobile for Doria’s crib. Like most baby things, the directions were built to enrage a man, but we worked through that. The mobile is extremely cute, with its little stuffed frog, bird, alligator, and deer going in a circle. We hugged and played that thing over and over. (When I went back to the apartment from the hospital for our suitcase, I played it then, too. That time was less fun, and I’m shocked that the neighbors didn’t call someone about the wailing.)  We were coasting along while the mobile spun along.

Not to leave things undone, we picked out the sheets for Doria’s first time sleeping on her bed. We picked the cute pink raspberry ones, and a neat teddy bear quilt that my grandmother made. It’s amazing, with teddy bears all over. Some of them look like they’re playing peek-a-boo. It’s really cool. We had that done. Doria’s clothes were all folded up and organized into dresser drawers and totes that fit neatly under her crib. We had them divided out nicely: the newborn sizes in the dresser, more 0-3 in a tote 3-6 months in another tote, and then those next sizes. We were loaded with clothes for Doria and ready to roll!  Too easy. Coasting right along. 

It was another normal day for us. Things were simple, steady, and normal, but filled with excitement! Our little miracle baby Doria, the baby that couldn’t happen, was full term. Any time now, we would meet our little heartbreaker face to face! Things were good. Nothing could go wrong from here. We were excited. We were ready to roll. We were taking it for granted. We were coasting right along.

We were so naive. We liked it that way.

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