Written By Wendy Owens
Married to 18 Seasons of Baseball
and Wife to Jeremy Owens

So, while once again waiting on the ‘big leagues’ for another milestone to occur in our lives, I decided (again) to move on without it. Thank goodness or I would still be without kids and too old to have them.

I became pregnant at the end of November, 2002. My due date was August 12, 2003. No big deal, this was towards the end of the season and he would perhaps come home early. At the time, we had just returned from the West Coast and he was coming off the 40 man roster but traded in the rule 5 Draft. We were expecting big things.

Being pregnant, I immediately wanted a house. We were living with his parents. Yes, his parents; common among baseball families to be living back at home. Anyway, I got a job, moved to Middle Tennessee, searched for a home and got power of attorney so I could close on the house we chose since he had to report to spring training. The day I was to close on the house I was over 4 months pregnant and left work early to view the house once more. I got a speeding ticket when I wasn’t speeding and was threatened by the cop that I was technically under arrest. He got irritated because I asked the definition of entrapment. On way, I had a call that there was going to be a lien put on the house. It was an extremely stressful day but I closed and all was well.

I drove 300 miles to move our things out of storage (parents house) in a 17’ U-haul pulling a car and carrying a cat. At least my best friend accompanied me. We pulled into my new house and the previous owners hadn’t moved out! They said they were allowed 30 days. I replied that was what the 30 days before closing was for. It was heated but in the end I had some help to unload everything into the garage and they were gone after the weekend.

Anyone who knows baseball knows we did not have the money for any of this, not even the house.

But, I was nesting and since I had no previous kid experience and was raised as an only child I wanted everything to go a certain way and was very anal about all of it. The next two and half months were spent moving things gradually from the garage by my self. Mowing almost two acres of land each week, killing a tarantula, setting up a new bedroom suit, flying to see my husband every 3 weeks or so, painting the bedroom, bathroom and nursery, laying down hardwood flooring in the nursery, putting together all the baby stuff like the stroller and crib, dealing with the garage door not opening, the gas logs having a leak and the lawn mower always breaking. After running over a rock with the mower that sent me and my belly into the steering wheel I opted to pay someone to mow it.

Remember, all this on top of a brand new full time job of which I was driving almost one hour one way to get to. My wonderful dad would drive 300 miles every other week or so and check on me helping with the mowing and cutting down some trees for me and getting some boxes up into the attic. I left the tarantula lying so I would have a witness it was a true tarantula. You can ask him.

By this time I had attended my work baby shower and family baby shower and had two more to go. I was on my way to a friend’s wedding one Saturday and as I was getting in the car I decided not to go. While working around the house the next day, my husband’s phone kept butt calling the house phone over and over. When I would call him, he would not answer. Not surprisingly. I knew he was on a long bus ride to the next away game. Finally, after hours of the butt calling I called the ONLY other number I had which was the trainer’s number I was to call in case I went into labor during a game. I politely asked him to relay the message to my husband to stop butt calling the house. (It wasn’t called butt calling then though) I in turn got a not polite call from my husband utterly embarrassed his wife would call the trainer for something other than an emergency. Needless to say we fought for hours because if he would just answer his phone and be more attentive to it these things wouldn’t happen. As it was, he was too busy playing cards. I was exhausted and went to bed early that night after we finally made up.

With six weeks to go until my due date I woke up that night at 11pm thinking my water broke. It hadn’t. I reached to turn off the light and then it did! Being alone out in the country I just stood there. Then I thought I should at least stand where I wouldn’t make a mess and went and stood in the shower. Stunned, it took some time for me to decide the first thing I was to do is call my midwife. See, I had planned on having my son at home. Remember how anal I said I was? Well, I was happy to be far away from family and have everything my way. No one would be telling me how to do things and no one would be around handling my newborn with germy hands. Future moms: keep reading to find out why this theory fails.

So, 30 minutes later my midwife arrives to confirm my water broke and I didn’t just pee my pants. She proceeds to take me to the hospital telling me they would stop the labor. I get there and they practically laugh at me once I tell them my water broke. I was having a baby.

In the meantime, during my phone fight with my husband he had angrily told me not to even call the trainer if I did go into labor. I debated this but decided I would go ahead and let him know I was going to give birth and to get to the airport fast. Uh, not only was he still on the last leg of his 9 hour bus ride across Pennsylvania but HE DIDN’T BRING HIS PLANE TICKET!

He was under instruction to just keep them in his suitcase a week or so before when we had gotten them.

This was not going well.

My dream of a homebirth was now down the tubes and my husband being the only one there to share the moment; doubtful. Here I was lying in the hospital bed having pretty bad back contractions. At least my best friend did show up. We had lain out in the sun the day before and she thought that is why I went into labor early. At least I was full of color and the nurses commented on my tan belly. There are several things that were going well I can look back on and see now. I was in a great facility for preemies and one of the best in the U.S. for postpartum care of moms. I had no clue what danger my baby was in. I never expected an early birth so had never read about the dangers. I had the best neonatal doctor in the world as far as I’m concerned. God was looking out for me. Seeing what I had been doing up until this point, it is no wonder I had him early but there was never a scientific reason for going into labor early.

It is so true. When in this pain, modesty goes out the window. I never believed it and that was the biggest reason for wanting a homebirth. But with an early delivery there were two shifts of nurses one for me and one for my son. There was the doctor and my baby’s doctor and his assistant. Well over 11 people in the room and me shouting ‘kill me’, ‘kill me’. I did do a natural delivery but the pain was only intense at the time to push. When the nurse told me the pain would go away if I pushed. I never read that in a book. I think the look I gave her scared her a little. I may even have said something. I don’t remember. However, once I tried it she was right. So man I was pushing and in 20 minutes he arrived! The neonatal doctor confirmed he was 6 weeks early and immediately took him to the neonatal unit. So very, very fortunate he was healthy.

Four hours after the fact my husband arrived. God was watching over him too. He began calling the airport for booking and the guys took up a collection for the last minute ticket price so we only had to pay about half. I did not go and see my son until after my husband arrived. He was the first to hold him and the first to feed him. I found out later he had been there in spirit more than I was aware. He had been calling the phone in the room during layovers and heard me screaming. Good. I had the best care ever at the hospital and after being discharged my husband and I went and did all the last minute stuff to bring our son home.

He was allowed 3 days off from baseball but got one extra since our son was in the neonatal unit. We brought him home and the next day my best friend drove him to the airport. I cried watching them pull out of the driveway. This is when it began. I got my wish. I was all alone with a brand new jaundice baby that was under 5 ½ lbs.

Sparing details; less than two weeks later: forget the house, forget the nursery, and forget all the extra baby stuff. I loaded up the Tahoe and my dad drove me and my son to Portland, Maine where my husband was sharing an apartment with an unmarried teammate.

Sorry teammate, here we come.

I couldn’t do it alone. I had to be with my husband and forget making it all perfect. I was hysterical but once I arrived I was just fine. It didn’t last long though. Since I began my new job after being pregnant I only got six weeks maternity leave. I had to go back. His preemie condition did not allow flying or day care.

Back in Tennessee, my mother-in-law came 300 miles to live with me and my son and to care for him while I worked. That was the hardest thing I have ever done. (Working leaving my baby at home, not the living with my mother-in-law part) Less than three months later my husband came home after playing fall ball. Training him to keep house and baby took a day or so but he did well. However, less than three months after that I quit my job, sold the house and here we are.

Sometimes traveling with my husband, sometimes staying put. A second son is in the picture now. It isn’t as easy to travel. They get involved in things and busy with growing up but we go see dad when we can. I have continued to stay at home having some odd jobs here and there but being here for the boys is the most important thing.

See, I have to play mom AND dad at times.

Being married yet living as a single parent must be what the military families feel like too. I would not trade it for any other profession, though. It is so exciting. With God in our lives knowing we will be cared for, we have nothing to worry about. There are tough times but there are more great times. I would have never seen the places I have seen or met the people I have met or gained family I have gained had it been any other way. There are so many wonderful people out there God has placed in our paths that have helped us along the way. They have helped us get to the next event in our ever changing lives. I am so thankful!


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3 Comments

  1. I LOVE this! You've done an amazing job describing what this life is like! I have great friends who try to get it but I find that it's only another baseball wife who gets it when I say, "I really can't plan for anything because we literally don't know where we'll be tomorrow". Thanks for enjoyable articles!

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  2. Seriously,loved this post. So, happy I found this blog and so many wonderful women who understand exactly what I am going through! Wendy, you are amazing!

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  3. I may not be married yet, but my boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years- long distance has really been tough. We hope to be engaged this spring and married next off season, but like you say- we can never plan ahead! Your post was great; I may not have a baby but this past summer I spent in DC with Daniel there was a players gf who had a baby. I spent a lot of time with her and boy did she have some bad baby blues! I am glad I got to be there for her as support and a side babysitter. I recently started my own blog and hope I can get better at capturing the events that take place as a baseball wife/gf!

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