With the holidays approaching, it’s once again time to write a year end post. Normally this would include a recap of a great and glorious football season. But this year, 2017, I had my own “season” which happened to be broken into trimesters.
So here’s a snapshot of what that journey looked like, and the highs and lows that I’m recollecting after giving birth to my first born, Noah, on December 8th.
I found out I was pregnant while dealing with a torn torn meniscus. During this time, my grandmother, Betty Wassermann, was struggling with severe health issues. I can’t begin to describe what MiMi meant to me. She was a coaches’ wife before there were support groups for coaches’ wives, and trail blazed a path for us all. Thanks to her, I was well prepared to marry into the culture. I know my coach-husband, Jeffrey, appreciates that!
We weren’t going to announce the pregnancy due to three miscarriages and the fear I might not be able to carry a baby to term. But MiMi, despite a strong battle with heart issues and other medical problems, was slipping a bit. She now faced a leg amputation, but kept insisting, “I’m going to get better.” Still, her health was steadily declining. My PaPa, Lloyd Wassermann, said to me privately, “You have to tell her about the baby. You have to. It will give her hope.”
So at 13 weeks, after an appointment for gender testing, we were able to tell MiMi that I had conceived and was carrying a boy. We even had the name picked out—Noah—and she was the first to hear it! The news was a huge pick-me-up. It had Mimi going from zero to 100! She kept saying, “I need to be strong so I can be here for the baby!” Everyone, and I mean everyone, thought she would be okay and pull through, and I felt so much hope, joy, and frankly, pressure, as I carried Noah. So much hinged on this pregnancy.
MiMi went through the amputation and was fine. And then we lost her as at the end of May I entered my second trimester. I can’t begin to describe the grief, and not just my own. The whole coaching community and every life she touched reeled at the news. It was then that I knew I’d write a book in her honor—a book that covered the fifty-year arc of her life as a coach’s wife, mother, and grandmother. Now we would face a series of firsts…first 4th of July, birthday, anniversary and upcoming holidays without her. I’m still adjusting to this “new normal.”
Jeffrey was gone a lot for work. Luckily, I was able to attend two camps with him because I was working those camps. That’s the beauty of what I do. And I had to coordinate a move by myself due to his new position, and began scouting houses that suited us and making sure our new home was located near a park, so that I could walk and have a place to play with the baby once he arrived.
I chose our new home by myself as Jeffrey traveled extensively out of state. And I moved us in, lock, stock, and barrel, sort of like a single pregnant person. If you are a coach’s wife, you know what I mean. Then I began decorating, all the while taking sports journalism assignments and writing a book. Thank heavens my mom came to help, and thank heavens Jeffrey loved the house. Honestly, I like living out in the middle of no where, so living in this neighborhood was a new experience. Plus, I was now closer to stores and amenities and family-friendly doctors offices, so that was a good thing.
Our old house had been affected by the 50-year flooding in Brazos River area and was still under renovation. Had we stayed there, we would have been under water. Friends sent us pictures, and our reaction was, “Whew! We dodged a bullet!” It felt like a miracle that the hurricane left our new house untouched. Our area in Cinco Ranch didn’t flood at all. The lights flickered only once. We could hear the evacuation helicopters flying overhead all around us, and we prayed for the people in Katy and Richmond who lost everything. It was heartbreaking. We kept saying we were safe because of Noah—like Noah’s Ark. What a blessing that our neighbors had built our house. They told us they chose this area because the future irrigation plans meant we would not flood.
It was Jeffrey’s last season as a JV coach—his last year before the crazy Friday and Saturday night games. His teaching schedule remained crazy, and he worked 5:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. continuously. This meant he could only attend one OB appointment, and that had been the gender appointment before MiMi passed away. My first baby shower, hosted by Stacy Porter, was postponed until after the hurricane passed. Stacy, bless her, rescheduled it at the end of August, and opening the gifts made the notion of motherhood so very real!
I had a birthday and was surprised by Jeffrey with a new car! I enjoyed a second baby shower, hosted by a coach’s family down the street. It was exciting and introduced me to new friends. That’s what’s so special about our coaching culture. Wives are embraced and welcomed and supported by strangers who quickly become family. I don’t know of another profession that does this. It’s amazing to experience first hand as a newbie.
From September to December Jeffrey focused on the program for a brand new school. He was developing and planning the launch of a new football app at the same time. I prepped for the baby, relaunched my website, and continued writing the book. The playoff season approached and I began counting down the weeks, and then days, until Noah was born. December 2nd could not arrive quickly enough! I was so excited at the thought of being a new mom.
December 2nd came and went. I thought, Okay, I’ll just keep working from home. What are the hundred things I can accomplish today? In fact, I worked while in labor. Yes, I walked and walked and used my smart phone to blog, collaborate with my book editor, coordinate the book cover with my graphic designer, beta test Jeffrey’s app, and more.
Jeffrey thought I was nuts when I told him to sleep while I walked some more. “But you’re in labor,” he protested. “And you’re exhausted,” I said. “I can use this time to get some things off my plate.”
I’m writing about a “fourth trimester” because recovering from childbirth and adapting to motherhood is a season in itself. At last, on December 8th, our post-40 week bundle of joy arrived just after 2:00 a.m. Noah was a beautiful newborn! I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother. He really was beautiful, right out of the womb! I was what the doctors called “post hemorrhage” because they had to clean out scar tissue before Noah could be born. I had a torn labia and stitches. They kept us in the hospital for four days, just to be sure.
It has been a lot of fun texting photos of Noah to family and friends. We are back home now, and he’s so cute in his “Noah’s Ark” nursery. Breastfeeding, diaper changes, and a baby who hasn’t yet developed a schedule has kept me super busy. It’s a different kind of busy, because I feel exhausted and emotional and maternal. Now I’m resting while he sleeps. Thankfully, the hard work prior to and during his birth paid off, which means my projects are in good shape and our future going in to the New Year looks wonderful.
So as my personal “season” winds down, I send prayers, well wishes, joy and happiness to the sisterhood of coach’s wives! I hope your holidays are filled with love as we continue to celebrate our unique roles in the sports world.