The Love of Strangers

I’m sure crying and hugging out front of a hospital is normal scene. Maybe more so inside the hospital than outside of it though…

But today – if you would have drove by the hospital …you would have seen me crying my eyes out and hugging an adorable old lady with cancer, who completely stole my heart.

Let’s back up for a minute…

I walked into the doctor’s office and found myself instantly smiling at the adorable old lady in a pink shirt. I’d say she was about 75 years old. She was a rather petite woman, and her bubbly and talkative personality reminded me of Grandma Kaye.

Grandma Kaye and me a few years ago on Labor Day weekend.
She means the absolute world to me.

She was talking to young woman who reminded me of the meth head on Orange is the New Black. Now, I mean that with all honesty and no judgment.

Even Justin asked if I noticed the woman in the waiting room that looked like Kentucky from the Orange is the New Black.

The older woman started chatting with Kentucky about her granddaughter who is a writer.

“I just hate writing,” the older woman said. “I don’t know why or how people do it! I never liked writing in high school and even today – I don’t like writing this paper work.”

Kentucky leaned over toward the older man and said, “I’m about to blow your mind.”

I instantly re-positioned myself so I could hear this “mind blowing” conversation. I was so incredibly intrigued to hear what was about to come out of her mouth.

“I love writing,” Kentucky said.

THAT IS MIND BLOWING!? THAT IS ALL YOU HAVE!?

She looked down and started laughing then said, “In fact, I am writing a book!”

The older man said, “Oh my! That is crazy!”

And I couldn’t tell if she was serious or just messing around with her.

At this point, I was making eye contact with everyone in the office…we were all thinking the same thing.

We were all ease dropping.

And we all wanted to hear more.

“And I am about to blow your mind again,” Kentucky said.

OH YES! Here we go…Just then, I saw Justin walking into the office from the restroom.  But I couldn’t even acknowledge him – I was WAY too interested in this conversation to give him the time of day.

“I HAVE A PET MONKEY!” Kentucky said.

Hold the phone – am I really at the OBGYN office? Seriously, what is happening with this woman and what does her pet monkey (is that even legal?) have to do with her passion of writing!?

At that moment, Kentucky got called back into the doctor’s office.

The old woman yelled something like, “Tell your pet monkey I said hello” which made me almost pee my pants. Again, I couldn’t tell if she was joking or serious.

A few minutes later, I leaned over to Justin and whispered, “Oh no- I think I have to poop.”

Just then, the old woman looked up at me.

At first, I was nervous she heard me talking about how I had to poo.

But then she asked me, “Are you having your baby today!?”

“Maybe!” Justin said.

“But it’s unlikely,” I added. “I am due Sunday!”

“OH MY!” she said. “As in this Sunday?!”

I smiled and nodded my head.

“Is this your first?” she asked me.

“Yeah,” I said. “Well, we have a dog that we already treat like a child though…”

She laughed, “Well this is such an exciting time for you. Congratulations!! When I had my first, I was put me under…they drugged me and I don’t remember anything. But, boy times have changed!”

She went on to tell me all about her health history and relationship with her husband.

“But all of this was before The Big C entered my life – you know what I mean,” she said.

At first, I didn’t know what she meant and I slightly tilted my head and said, “NO?”

Then it hit me.

Cancer.

She has (or had) Cancer.

The Big C.

“Yeah, Cancer,” she said as if she was reading my mind. “And I have heart disease and a few thing health problems…but here I am!!!”

We all paused – it was hard to know what to say next.

“Well,” I said. “You really do look wonderful.”

And I meant it- she looked wonderful and sounded great. She was talkative and I never would have guessed there was anything in her life that got her down…

“Well, the doctors came out with these new drugs six years ago,” she said. “And those drugs…well those drugs are what kept me alive.”

“I am glad,” I said.

“Me too- the Good Lord kept me around me so I could do drugs!” she shouted. 

I literally almost peed my pants (again). We all knew what she meant, but couldn’t stop laughing. 

She went on to share more stories and crack jokes at everyone who would walk by or listen to her. I was probably a huge distraction from getting her paper work done because I kept asking her questions and egging her on. I just wanted to know more about her life. She made me laugh so hard I had to ask to use the restroom before I peed all over myself.

As I went to the restroom, they went out to call my name.

So even more hilarious? Picture this…

Ashley Sieb gets called in the waiting room…and Justin has to stand up, pick up my purse, and walk back to the exam rooms. I’m sure everyone (minus the old lady who saw me there earlier) was wondering if he had a sex change or what was going on…

Can you imagine how uncomfortable and awkward he felt when that happened? I’m dying just picturing it…

Anyway, I went to the scale and learned I actually lost 1 lb, which sounds impossible because I am pretty sure I ate a horse over the weekend. Maybe my extra workouts and walks made a difference!!

My blood pressure was 170 / 40 – so higher than normal still, but nothing that made them worry.

And for the scoop on Coop, well I am still just 1 CM dilated and 80% effaced.

She told me those are good numbers. She made another comment about how that’s a great cervical exam, and then I immediately felt less special when she told me last week I had the “best cervical exam all week” – but hey, it’s better than hearing it was the worst cervical exam, right?!

I told her that I couldn’t feel Cooper moving around as much…I’d been doing my kick counts, but over the last few days – it just felt harder to feel the movements. Or at least, be quiet and concentrate enough to feel even the smallest movements.

“Well, let’s do a stress test,” she said. “No, that doesn’t mean you or the baby have to run on a treadmill. Basically, we will just hook you up to monitors to see Baby’s heart rate, contractions, and movement.

I went into another room and they hooked me up to this machine and I got nervous. I had to hit a button every single time I felt a kick or movement.

Justin looked at me with a serious look on his face and just said, “Concentrate.”

He knows me too well…he knows my mind is always racing a mile a minute. I have a hard time relaxing and focusing when I am stressed or worried. Or in general.

I had to be hooked up to the machine for 20 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, I was getting anxious. I had only felt him move four times. Maybe four. I was slightly guessing…kind of like you do at the eye doctor when you do that exam and have to click the button when you think you see a flash of light….And one of those times, I think it was a gas bubble.

The nurse came back into the room and looked at the report.

“I think he is sleeping,” she said.

She pulled out this vibrator looking thing and I immediately wondered where she was going to put that thing…

“I’m just going to roll this over your belly,” she said. “It will vibrate a little bit and should wake Baby up.”

She rolled it across my belly once and sure enough, that woke (and pissed off) Sir Cooper! Almost immediately, he started kicking and moving around. His heart rate went up some too!

Finally, after 10 more minutes the doctor came in and said the report looked “beautiful” – she said we have a healthy and active baby in there.

I was relieved. She said it’s always better to be safe than sorry – so it’s always good to do this test if we’re worried about Baby.

It was such a big weight off my shoulders. I went to the restroom before I left, so Justin left before me.

My adorable old lady friend came out from behind me and we had the chance to walk out together.

“This is your first, right?” She asked me again.

“Yeah- it sure is!” I said. “We’re so excited!”

“And do you know what you’re having?” she asked.

“A baby boy,” I said. “Cooper Joseph.”

“Ohhhhh!” she shrieked. “I just LOVE that name!!!”

“Thank you!” I said, with a big smile. “We can’t wait to meet him!”

We walked on the elevator together and another woman entered the elevator with us. She had ultrasound pictures of her baby…and told us she just found out that she was having a baby girl.

“This really is the most exciting time of your life,” the old woman said to us both.

I was thankful for her positivity.  
The elevator dinged open and she said, “Well, I forget where I parked!”

Seriously, is this lady related to me or what? Or am I having a glimpse into the future and seeing myself as a 75-year-old woman?

“Can I help you find your car?” I asked.

“Oh no,” she said. “I think I am this way!”

“Well hey, me too,” I said. “We can walk out together.”

She smiled and said, “You know, I just couldn’t stop thinking about you and your husband after I met you guys. You seem like such a special couple.”

“Aww,” I said. “Well thank you!”

“And I just kept looking at him and seeing this positive presence of God,” she said. “Is he a minister?”

“Well,” I said. “Funny you say that….he isn’t a minster really, but he did get ordained online and  married my sister and her husband!”

“OH my!” she said. “How special- I just knew it! He seems like such a great, young man. Very humble and wise.”

“He certainly is,” I said. “I am very lucky to have him in my life.”

“Well, he is lucky to have you too,” she said. “And he knows it! You can just tell by the way he looks at you…he is proud to call you his wife.”

I immediately started crying.

She put her hand on my arm and said, “You are a very special couple and you will make great parents.”

I gave her a hug and didn’t want to let go. I had such a tough morning…even earlier I wrote a blog (that I wasn’t sure if I should publish or not – but I did anyway) about how uncertain I’ve felt about everything and how worried I’ve been about “being a good mom.” I am SURE these are normal thoughts that every emotional pregnant woman encounters…

“You’re wonderful,” I said. “Good luck with everything.”

We both had tears in our eyes and she said, “See you next year! Right here- same place and time. You’ll have your baby and might be pregnant again!”

I gave her another hug and asked if she wanted me to walk her to her car.

“See you soon!” I yelled back.

My only regret is not getting her name or number so we could keep in touch.

The love of strangers is so powerful. 

Don’t forget the impact that you can have on someone’s life or day – simply by striking up a conversation or asking about their day. 

I will never, ever forget this adorable old woman. She put so much faith and confidence back in my heart today. And I’m so thankful for her stories all afternoon and most importantly- that moment we shared hugging and crying out front of the hospital. 

Much love,
Ashley

2 thoughts on “The Love of Strangers

  1. b.mac says:

    Well now I'm crying in my office- how amazing! You should have put a disclaimer on that post 🙂 she was exactly what you needed, and I sure you reminded her of happier times in her life and made her day. Now I want to go talk to strangers!

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