• author
    • Jo Hatcher

    • December 3, 2013 in Columnists

    Cracked Open

    On Becoming a Grandmother

    There are those moments when life opens you, breaks you into pieces, and you experience wonderment.

    Avery Mae.

    Avery Mae

    That’s the wee baby who came to us, to my son and daugher-in-law 2 two weeks ago.  Avery Mae took her first breath in the world and started her life journey November 20th, at 9:15 pm.

    9 pounds 5 ounces of grace and beauty.

    It was a tedious labor…24 hours it took her to get here.

    Her mother was strong. Her father right by her side.  Avery’s two aunts – sisters supporting, waiting, texting.  She was surrounded by love.

    I also was waiting – minute by minute at the end of the phone – the text messages were like gold nuggets for me.

    The words would pop on the screen:

    4 cm.

    now at 6

    When things got hard, I saw it on the text. When the doctor came in, there was my text.

    I felt slightly bonkers, dizzy, gaga, ridiculously unable to focus on anything.

    I made playlists of favorite songs – my beloved “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – and shamelessly allowed the tears to fall.  Then I’d break out in laughter and I danced a lot. I was a lunatic would-be grandmother.  If someone had seen me, I could have been considered more than slightly deranged.  But the  joy and anticipation drove me to celebrate and embrace all the emotions I felt.  I played Julia’s song, “Just Dance,” by Lady GaGa.  Anything to send messages, energy, strength to my daughter-in-law.

    I texted my son that the “birthing angels” were being called in and surrounding them. He replied back, “well we could sure use them now, Mom.”

    My sisters, my birthing coach friend, we were sending love, holding vigil. I forwarded this team of mothers the texts as soon as I got them.   We were women waiting, helping birth this baby in our own way.

    “She can’t push yet until the baby is really low,” I saw on the next text.

    Next it was “Okay, we’re almost at 8 cm now.”

    I relived my own two sons’ births.  I recalled the sheer force of the experiences, how we got to the hospital and the nurses said “just walk around” because I was not at the required 3 cm dilated to be admitted.   After a few hours, I had decided that suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of the hospital seemed like a better option than labor.  The pain was brutal. Nothing had prepared me.

    In the delivery room, I heard a doctor say, “We’re gonna have to do a c-section.” I said “NOOOOO, WE ARE NOT!” With the might of an elephant, I bore down and my oversized 9.4 lb baby, Avery’s Mae’s uncle, made his way into the world.

    I remember how primal it all was, the birthing process. How at some point you realize there is no going back. It is beyond messy, it’s wild, it all comes down to when you push. Push with every power you have…and then it is over and another journey begins.

    It is a magnificent moment when one world stops and you fall completely and desperately in love with your baby, with life, with being alive.

    Avery Mae.

    I looked at the text.  “It’s close now”

    And then the words appeared:


    And something melted and dissolved inside me.   My granddaughter was here.

    The Family

    Pictures on the texts flowed in.  She was round and robust.  Strong.  Relieved and joyful, I knew she was healthy.  Thank you, thank you Universe, she is 100% okay. Her mother is okay, too. Hallelujah. Gratitude to the heavens.

    She was so close I could feel her, sense her. Taking her first breaths. She, this product of my son, my youngest who was not so long ago that baby….



    It was breathtaking.

    She takes my breath away.

    Welcome, Avery Mae to the world. May you have the best life ever. May you live it fully and well. May you get to make a difference in the world with your light and your love. You scored two of the best parents on the planet and a legion of people who already love you.

    I loved you way, by the way, before you were born. And I love you now before I’ve even met you.

    Avery Sweet Mae



      • Madgew

      • December 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm
      • Reply

      I love grammiehood. Seeing kids have kids is the best . As they grow they will love you more and more. It is the best . Welcome to my world

    • Thank you, Madgew. I’m very excited about this new world.

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • February 17, 2014 at 7:18 am
      • Reply

      Grandchildren are the best!

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