Bridge of the Headless Horseman

Bridge of the Headless Horseman

Gigi's Journal - December 29, 2011

7 months pregnant with our first baby.  There was no finding out what you were having via ultrasound prior to birth.   We would have to wait until his birth.  We had two names picked out - Jennifer Ann or Timothy James.  I was due on December 20, 1978.  During the first week of December Ray and I decided on Christopher James if it was a boy.  Never gave the name "Chris Schmidt" being born around Christmas one thought!

Just days old in this picture!  Looking back I think labor started around 7:30 AM on December 28, 1978.  I remember waking up at 7:30 with a backache, 8:00 backache, 8:30 backache, etc.  Throughout the day the backache became more frequent.  I had a clinic appointment that day and mentioned to the other women waiting to be seen that I was having this backache every 10 minutes.  One of the women assured me I was in labor.   It was 3:30 PM and this was the first thought that I might be in labor!

I remember seeing the doctor soon after that conversation about possibly being in labor.  He was listening to the baby's heartbeat when I had a "backache".  He kind of mumbled under his breathe and it was then I mentioned the backache I had been having.  He asked if I had been checked before.  No, I hadn't!  Almost 2 weeks after my due date and no one worried about checking me, inductions, fetal testing - nothing!  Ah, those were the days when pregnant women who went past their due dates were treated normal!  He checked me and I was 3-4 cm.  He told me to walk around for an hour and come back.  My friend Kevin and I walked around the hospital.  (Kevin is a good friend who took me to many of my appointments.)  The doctor rechecked me an hour later, told me I was in labor and sent me home.  He told me to come back when I couldn't stand it (the contractions) any more!

Not completely understanding what that meant I ended back at the hospital at 9:00 that night.   Ray and I took childbirth classes, so he was allowed to come in the room with me!  The night nurses were great - they asked me if I wanted the "prep" which included an enema.  I gratefully declined!  Ray and I were put in a labor room.  I was 5 cm.   No monitors.  Just a bed, chair, table and TV.  That's where I labored.  It was comforting to have Ray there but a well intentioned nurse kept coming in and asking if I wanted something for the pain.  The revival of unmedicated childbirth was fairly new and the routine of asking was well ingrained in this nurse.  Finally, at about 6-7 cm, I gave in to Demerol, a narcotic that makes you feel loopy and not really care that you are in pain.  

After trying for a few more hours to cope and making it to about 7 cm, I got the epidural.  A newer method of pain relief administered by the OB!  He tried 4 times and finally got it in.  I will never forget his words to me after I became comfortable.  It was 1 AM.  He told me, "I'll see you around 5:30 and we'll have us a baby".  Amazing how those words have affected me this many years later.  

Not sure when I started pushing or for how long but I remember when they rolled me back to the OR, where everyone gave birth.  Ray was by my side the whole time.  The doctor used forceps to get him out, which was pretty common,being so numb.  At 5:37 AM Christopher James Schmidt, 8#7, 21" long was born!  At 5:38 AM the phone in the OR was ringing.  It was my mother, who had awoke out of sleep and just knew I had to have had that baby!  She called information and one call and transfer after another until she got through to the OR!!!  Crazy.

I was in a recovery room for an hour or two before transferring into a four bed room.  I got to the room and the other women were being discharged.  By the end of the day I was the only one in that huge room!  Christopher was brought to me every four hours so I could hold him and breastfeed.  

My mother, after talking to me in the OR, got in her car and drove 12 hours to meet Christopher.  She stayed 10 days which was so helpful for me and Ray.

I was 19 when I gave birth to Christopher.  I have no regrets of having him so young.    I just had to stay one step ahead of him :-)

On his birthday this year, he gets the best gift.  He became a parent in July.  Our view of our parents changes when we become one!  Happy Birthday Christopher.  You were the perfect child to be born first.  You gave us a run for our money and kept us on our toes.  May you always stay one step ahead of your girls!

Gigi's Journal - December 25, 2011

Coeur sporting her Dad's Jaguar hat on Christmas Eve.
 Christmas this year was different.   Part of the family lives in Kentucky, part lives in New York,  part lives in Maryland and part lives in Ocala.   We made the best of it, though.

Last weekend we celebrated Christmas in Kentucky.   That was so nice.  We were able to bring home presents for the ones who couldn't make it to Kentucky.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve, we went to Ocala to celebrate Christmas.  Many but not all of us gathered together to eat, watch football and open presents.  We brought home presents for those who couldn't make it to Ocala.

This morning, Rebecca, Luke and Kati came to our house and opened presents.  After opening presents Jeff and Kati went to her grandmother's house to celebrate and open presents.  Luke and Rebecca stayed for Christmas Breakfast.  They left to go to Luke's family Christmas gathering.

Next weekend we will celebrate Christmas once more when all of our children will come together to open the miscellaneous presents.  We will have our Christmas dinner in the evening.
This stocking (about 1") has been on every tree since I was a girl.

Care to have a little pie with that cream?

Lennon on Christmas!


Aunt Sharon holding the newest member of the family, Tommy Jr.

Gigi's Journal - December 20, 2011

A day of reflection as I celebrate 31 years of being Michael's mother.

Michael was due on December 20, 1980.  On December 19, Ray and I went to the church Christmas dinner.  It was very cold that night and we didn't have heat at our house.  Our dear friends, Garry and Nancy Haralambou invited us to stay at their house.  So we stayed in their oldest daughter's bedroom - warm and snug.

At 3:30 AM, I woke up with regular contractions.  I let Ray sleep and woke Nancy up.  She and I stayed up timing contractions.  Around 10:00 that morning we headed to Birthpointe where my midwife Bobbie Johnson met us.  My brother and his girlfriend took Christopher to the park and entertained him that morning.  I remember many things from that labor but one thing that I won't forget is being stuck at 7 cm for a while.  At one point I asked Bobbie to give me 10 minutes without contractions or else I wanted to go home.  It's rather funny now to think about today but 31 years ago I was very serious!  Bobbie climbed into that bed with me and instead of laughing (although I'm sure she was laughing on the inside) she told me to forget everything I learned in Lamaze class and just breathe.  Well, 10 minutes later I was complete and at 2:35 PM I pushed out my 9 pound 9 ounce baby!

When he first came out Bobbie announced rather proudly, "It's a GIRL!!!"  Somehow, I knew he was a boy and didn't really hear her proclamation.  Ray reached over and removed the umbilical cord from between his legs and said, "Try again".  She then went on to apologize for her error.  In the days before routine ultrasounds and Sneak A Peak boutiques, we were surprised at the gender of our children until the birth.  No ultrasound - I just knew he was a boy.

Christopher was brought in just seconds after Michael was born.  He sat beside me on the bed and touched Michael.  He was in love with "his" baby!

After the birth Ray went to Wendy's to get us all something to eat.  And by dinner we were home, snuggled in bed together.

Michael and I after we got home.  He was 5 hours old in this pic!

Gigi's Journal - December 18, 2011

Today was bittersweet as Ray and I drove home.  One hour out and Ray & I were saying how much we missed them already (sigh).  It's been two weeks since I've held, kissed, hug or hung out with Oliver.  Two weeks!  In all of his life, this is the longest I've been without him.  My heart hurts.  I want to hold him.

Gigi, Coeur, Lennon and Papa!   They woke up to say, "See you soon"!

Gigi's Journal - December 17, 2011

Chris and his girls!
Behind the scenes with Santa.
Big girl, Lennon!

Lennon quite pleased with her gift from Tia and LP.

Coeur reading the label :-)
A quick trip to Kentucky to take The Girls to see Santa and deliver our gifts.  We got here on Friday afternoon and are leaving in the morning.  A short, but exceptionally sweet, visit.  Let the pics tell the story.
Coeur opening up her gift from Tia and LP.

Coeur got overalls from Gigi and Papa.

Lennon got overalls too!

Something to hold their iTouch :-)

Coeur is getting so big!

Flying Coeur!

Lennon on the left showing Coeur something.

Papa and The Girls!

Santa and The Girls!

The boys and The Girls!

The Girls and The Girls!

Abstract Tree.

Gigi's Journal - December 10, 2011

 The Girls had a visit with the Pediatrician yesterday.  Coeur d'Lane weighs 12#4 and is 23" long.  Lennon is catching up at 11#11 and 22 1/2" long.

They will be seeing Santa next weekend :-D
Oliver and Santa

Gigi's Journal - December 4, 2011

I left a piece of my heart in New York this afternoon when I left to go home.  It was bittersweet.  New York was mostly awesome.  The people are friendly with one exception - when they are behind the wheel of a car, taxi or truck.  They drive with haste and God forbid you get in someone’s way.  It’s as if there is no tomorrow.  They seem to only live for the moment.  On the highway of life they are traveling about 90 m.p.h.  But out of their cars, the people I had contact with were extremely friendly.  I believe the reputation of the angry New Yorker comes from those who only experience a drive through the city.  The people in the bagel shops, hardware stores and restaurants are exceptionally friendly.  

Another thing about New York - there are more mom and pop shops there than any other place I have ever been.  Rare to see a chain fast food restaurant or even a chain gas station.  It's actually pretty cool that there are so many.  Good to see that.

We had breakfast at Tom's Restaurant this morning.  It is a diner that was opened in 1936.  It's on the corner of Washington Ave and Sterling.  It reminds me of the corner grocer near my grandparent's home in New Jersey.  Very quaint and reminiscent of the television program Cheers - "where everybody knows your name".

After breakfast we went to this amazing cemetery.   For anyone who really knows me, you know that I love genealogy and photography.  Well put the two together and voila!  Cemeteries!  Mike and Colleen took me to Green-Wood Cemetery.   There are about 560,000 (half a million) people buried there!  Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Morse, Henry Steinway (of Steinway & Sons piano fame) and 559,997 more.

We left for Penn Station around 1:30 for the hectic Sunday drive into the city.  By the time we got to the station Oliver had fallen asleep.  I was rubbing his head, like I would do at home, hoping he would go to sleep.  I was afraid that if he was awake when I left he would cry (as he sometimes does when I leave).   Normally that would be a good thing.  It makes me feel important and he's at an age where he recognizes that saying goodbye means someone is leaving for a while.  Crying means he will miss that person.  One of us crying would be enough for today.

When it all comes down to basics, there are only a few things in life that are really important.  Things will break and fail, visions and dreams of a particular future fade with time.  When you are young, you don't understand this.  There are so many tomorrows to be had, and well, we are born selfish and it takes time to mature and become selfless.  As we mature, our lives become multidimensional.  It's like when we are children there is no one else that matters but us.  Then as we grow we become aware that the world does not revolve around us.  The older we get, the more we recognize that there is so much more to this life than "me".  One of my all time favorite quotes - "The most important things in life aren't things.  They are people."

Getting a beso at Tom's Restaurant this morning!

A cool pic from the Green-Wood Cemetery.

One of my favorites things to do with Oliver - make "crazy face" pictures.
Will be sure to take a lot when I see him in two weeks!
I have always dreamed that I would be that grandmother who lived down the street from her children and their families.  That we would have Sunday dinners together, play together and live life together.  That there would always be a place for the grandchildren to come over whenever and I could be that soft, fluffy Gigi; a place they could come when mom and dad were just "too mean".  I haven't given up on that dream, it just seems a bit further away than yesterday.

I am in a sleeping car on an Amtrak train and directly across from me is a mom, dad and two year old little girl.  She just asked for something and said "pweese".  Thank you Lord for putting them across from me so I could hear that sweet little voice in my head.  Now all I need is a "ha-wow" and I'll be set.
Oliver was watching a cartoon Christmas program and saw
 that there was a star on the tree.  He found a plastic
star  - the lid from the container the ornaments came in,
and put it on the top of the tree.  Genius!


Gigi's Journal - December 3, 2011

Today was a whirlwind day of tourism!  I drove past Central Park, Broadway Radio City Music Hall, The site of the World Trade buildings, The Freedom Towers, went to 30 Rock and went to the top of the building's observatory and rode the Staten Island Ferry.  Here are some pics of today's adventure.  Tomorrow will be bittersweet.

Self explanatory :)

Cartier building.  I liked how it was wrapped.

30 Rock - all 70 stories!

On Top of the Rock getting a beso from Ollie.  Empire State Bldg in background

How cute!

Give my regards to Broadway!

Cool buildings.

Freedom Tower #1 

Lady Liberty

Mike and Oliver on the Ferry

Cool view from the Ferry.

View from Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Nice shot of the Statute of Liberty

Oliver and Gigi

Colleen, Oliver and Mike on the Ferry.

Gigi, Oliver and Mike