Chapter 53 Moments of Momentum
Rained and snowed out of any actual activity today. I worked instead and after writing boring reports all day long I finally got to do a wine review of a lovely port style dessert wine. That's out into the world and to the wine maker so now I can really have a little fun. Consider the statement the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The best answer to this is in our three dimensional world it would depend on how high the mountain is between. The journey is half the battle and sometimes half the fun of getting there. Writing this piece has been a journey one I didn't expect to take but has been rewarding in its own perverse way. Tonight's chapter is an aspect of the term Moment of Inertia. The meaning goes something like this if you are going around a corner in your car too fast your moment of inertia may overcome the friction of the tires on the road and you will slide off the cliff. The moment of momentum is the measurement of the velocity of you going off the cliff. Contractions during labor can be described using these two physics formulas. The contraction itself is the moment of inertia because it has happened how much it hurts is moment of momentum. I think you see where I'm going here or you threw up your hands and moved onto the actual story. Either way I'm not responsible for any pregnancy on the TBBT show, its characters or subsidiaries that I'm aware of and yes that entire diatribe was to say that giving birth hurts like hell. Or I could be talking about the interfacing of different dipole marbles within the circle of life.
Anything can happen last Thursday
Penny sat at the kitchen counter watching everyone busily get ready for their first pot luck dinner. Since the couples had all moved back to Pasadena they had tried to revive their Thursday routine. It was inevitable that one couple could not make it each week. The new plan was the 4th Thursday of each month would be anything can happen Thursday. This was the first inaugural event. It would also mean that they would all be having Thanksgiving together for years to come. It being the 4th Thursday each November.
Leonard had made a vegetarian stir fry. The Koothrappali's brought a curry chicken dish Aisha made. The Wolowitz's brought brisket and potatoes. The Cooper's brought chocolate and banana cream pies for dessert. Penny's dad was sitting next to her on the couch watching everything going on before him. The last two days with him had been wonderful except for him bringing up past boyfriends and how he'd have had grandkids much earlier if she would have married Leonard all those years ago. He had really enjoyed spending time with Lisel. She had showed him her art work and Wyatt had shown Lisel how to draw a horse. Something he'd been doing since he was a child. He was watching her now playing with Raj's children. Wyatt leaned his head next to Penny, "She's a genius isn't she?" Penny shook her head no, "We call her gifted daddy. Leonard would tell you that genius is generally a one or at most two dimensional state. You have that one or two talents that make you a genius. But being gifted is a much broader intelligence. Someone who's gifted can become a genius at almost anything they are passionate about. Lisel can play the piano already, Leonard's afraid to give her a violin or cello yet though he plays. She can read three languages and write in two of them maybe three by now. But she's also gentle and has a soft kindness to other children and animals. Like I said she's gifted."
Penny was smiling at Lisel who looked up and smiled back and gave a small wave. "I wonder what Matisse will be like?"
She was really talking to herself but Wyatt answered. "I'm sure she'll be beautiful like you. I also know you and Leonard will be better parents than your mom and I ever were."
Penny started to protest but he just shook his head and went on, "It's okay slugger you mom and I were much younger and could barely make ends meet. We both barely got through high school. But between you and Leonard you've got everything that's required to raise great kids. You're both mature and patient and you both have put your careers in proper perspective to your family. Leonard is educated, funny and kind. He's going to teach your kids how to learn and find their potential. You're going to teach them poise, empathy and compassion. You both will teach them kindness and love and how to be happy. I wish someone had taught your mother how to be happy."
Penny felt a little teary, this was one the first time she had this high of a compliment from her father. She just clutched his hand and gave him hug, "Thanks daddy"
Penny stiffened it wasn't overly painful but it did seem to keep on going. She let out a small squeal as the contraction eased. She looked over at Leonard standing with all their friends in the kitchen. They had all stopped what they were doing and were staring at her. She looked at Leonard and nodded her head. Leonard dropped the bowl of salad he was holding and it went clattering to the floor. If Leonard had noticed he showed no sign but moved quickly but without hurry to her side. "How long did it last?"
Penny was breathing out sharply, "About a minute I've never had one like that before or that lasted that long." Penny looked up at her guests, "It's okay everybody I just had a small contraction you should all eat."
Everyone went back to what they were doing except Sheldon who took his phone out of his pocket and typed something into it.
Trust in the moon
Howard and Bernadette left first right at 8:00PM. Penny knew Bernie was tired and how that felt they were only a few weeks apart. Then Raj, Aisha and the girls left they had school in the morning. That just left the Coopers. As Amy bent down to give Penny a hug she was hit with another contraction. This one lasted a whole 90 seconds, she'd had quite a few in the last 3 hours but this was by far the longest and most intense. Sheldon came over and set next to Penny. Penny breathed out several times very hard. "It's okay Moonpie I'll be fine."
Sheldon just gave that odd smile he would give when he was about to correct your grammar. "Of course you will be Penny it time to go to the hospital. Your contractions are about 8 minutes apart now and intensifying its time. You could wait for them to get under 5 but statistically 8 is a better estimate from the data I've studied." Penny looked over at Leonard, "I got to go with Sheldon and the numbers. I'll get your bag and Lisel's." He turned and headed for the hallway. Amy gave her a hug again, "Let me get my boys and little girl home then I'll be down at the hospital." Penny knew there was no point arguing Amy would come either way, "Okay but call Bernadette and tell her not to come until I've had it."
Leonard was there now with her father and Lisel. He hugged Amy then waved at Sheldon, and Tyler as they moved to the garage
Friday 9/26/2025 8:32AM
Penny had been in labor for over 15 hours now since the first contraction. She had been in active heavy labor the last 4 hours. Leonard was at her side holding her hand. Wyatt was in the next room sleeping with Lisel. Amy held Penny's other hand. Penny had refused an epidural at one point not wanting to slow things down. Penny's doctor told her to push when the contraction started. She was crushing Leonard's hand but he barely noticed as he watched the baby crown in the mirror. Penny pushed again and the head was out. The doctor cleared the baby's airway and made sure the umbilical cord was clear. Leonard heard the doctor's soft voice, "One more gentle push Penny". Leonard felt her bear down and the baby was out.
She was covered in a fine white powdery substance. The doctor then lifted her up and gently placed her in Penny's arms. Tears rolled down Leonard cheeks not for the first time tonight. Amy was in tears also. Penny was holding the baby gently, smiling now, hair wet with sweat, but her faced relaxed and calm. Leonard leaned over and kissed her forehead and she reached her one hand up and touched his cheek. "Say hello to your newest daughter." Leonard was speechless, he finally gurgled out "Hi".
The doctor and nurse had clamped the umbilical cord. The nurse touched Leonard's arm, "would you like to cut the cord?" Leonard looked up over at Amy, "You do it Amy I want to be right here for a while."
Leonard sat in the rocking chair next to the now sleeping Penny with baby Matisse in his arms. Lisel and Wyatt had just gone back to the Family suite next door. Amy left to go home shortly after 10:30 promising to be back in the afternoon with Sheldon and her children. Leonard was very tired having been up some 30 hours at this point. The nurses checked on him to make sure he wasn't ready for a nap himself.
Leonard was emotionally a wreck. He's had hated seeing Penny in pain it had been wrenching in so many ways. He'd had to force himself to stay emotionally present and not retreat into a clinical scientific observer mode when Penny had a contraction. There was even one where as he tried to coach her through it she gotten mad and bitten his tummy. It would make a wonderful tale to tell someday but then it had been startling. He had redoubled his emotional presence at that point. He cried when she had hurt so badly that the deep breathing turned into a scream several times. Who ever thought Penny was too perky to make a horror film had never heard her scream. He was chuckling to himself now starting to let the stress drain away. The nurse came in and he handed her Matisse. The nurse swaddled her and placed her in the Plexiglas sided crib next to Penny's bed. Rather than go next door Leonard curled up on the bed like bench next to her bed. He sat up a couple of times checking on Penny and the baby then at last fell asleep without pillow or blanket.
When Penny woke a short time later she was aware of exactly where she was. It was very vivid what she had just been through. She sat up and looked around Matisse was in the crib asleep beside her. On the other side Leonard was sleeping curled up on what looked like a very uncomfortable bench. The door to the family section cracked open and Lisel stuck her head in. Penny scooted over and patted the bed. "Hey honey climb up with Mommy." Lisel walked over and got up next to her, Penny snuggled her against her side and kissed the top of her head. "There's your new sister should we get her and hold her for a while or would you just like to lay with me." Lisel wiggled in closer, "Just me for a minute grandpapa wants to come in too. He sent me to see if you were awake." Penny heard the door open and her father came through the door. "Hi slugger how are you feeling?"
Penny took his hand and held it "I'm doing great daddy. Did you take some pictures of us to send to mom?"
Wyatt took his phone out, "I got a couple earlier but you look much better now. Let me hand you the baby and I'll get all three of you together." Wyatt gently picked Matisse up and handed her to Penny and Lisel. They held the baby between them as Wyatt took several pictures. "That should teach her to fake air sickness", he quipped as he sent the pictures. As he did Chelsea came into the room from the hall. She stood and smiled at the scene.
"Hi boss, Hi Wyatt I see I'll need to learn a new skill soon, diaper changing and baby burping." Chelsea gave Penny her cute smile. Penny returned it, "I'm glad you're here would you go next door and get a pillow for Leonard and blanket. Poor man looks horribly uncomfortable laying there. He should have went next door and got in the bed."
Wyatt shook his head at his daughter, "You couldn't have got Leonard out of here with a cattle prod. It's like I said the other day. No way, No how." Chelsea returned with a pillow and blanket and with Wyatt's help got the pillow under his head and blanket over him. Penny noticed that Lisel was now asleep next to her. She must not have gotten a great deal of sleep either. Penny liked her right there and she had plenty of room.
She offered Matisse to Chelsea who cradled her and began to rock back and forth. Penny smiled at her PA and young friend. "Any press out front Chelsea?"
Chelsea looked back and frowned while nodding, "A couple of dozen of them but the security guys are outside the room now. They have a list of all your friends and family that will be let in. Oh a great big young guy named Bret said to say congratulations."
Penny smiled and told Chelsea to thank Bret then get her brush and make up from her bag and see if they could repair the damage. She then looked over at where Leonard was sleeping and smiled. She thought that he was getting good at this. He had the security folks lined up just like he booked the suite. That's' my brilliant and gifted husband, not genius, gifted.
Visitors need not be patted down
Leonard woke up several hours later to the sound of laughter coming from the family suite. The door was open and he could see Penny sitting in the rocking chair with the baby. Her hair was curled and she was talking to at the least Howard and Bernadette. He wondered where the pillow and blanket had come from. Leonard got up and stretched, he took a quick look in the mirror. His hair was a mess and he had a day's growth of beard on his face. There were bags under both eyes. He used his hand to straighten out his hair but had little luck. He started to walk into the family suite when Penny looked up at him and gave him a smile that stopped him in his tracks.
Her hair and makeup was done and she looked refreshed and glowing. Most people think pregnant women glow and Penny had but not like now. He smiled back at her it was like someone had a spot light on her. Happiness radiated from her. She spoke before he could, "At last my loving husband emerges." Leonard walked over and looked at the baby and kissed her lips. She must have known he wanted to clean up. "You're all scratchy honey, go hop in the shower everybody will be here pretty soon." Leonard grabbed his bag and waved to Howard, Bernie and Wyatt. He saw Lisel reading his tablet by the window. He stopped by her on his way to the bath. He kissed her head and she looked up and smiled, "Hi daddy I got bored of all the chit chat. I finished Beowulf and started on the Hobbit, I really love Gandalf and Bilbo."
Throughout the next several hours all of their friends came by to see the new baby. Raj and Aisha both cried. Sheldon held Matisse and declared her fascinating then gave Penny a soft and warm hug. Amy gave Leonard and Penny both a hug. Bernie said screw it she was getting the epidural. Howard was glad because as he put it she has the grip of a wrestler. Mindy and Sheila came by also and held the baby. The doctor had offered to let Penny go home if she felt like it but thought one more day here might be a good idea. Leonard had agreed so they settled in for one more night. Wyatt had gone back to the house though he said he would watch the dogs and drink Leonard's scotch for him. He had wanted to drive but Leonard called him a town car.
They had moved the baby and Penny's bed into the family suite so they were all together. In the early evening there was a knock on the suite door. Leonard answered it the hulking form of Bret just beyond the door was inescapable. Penny chirped, "Hi Bret, and thank you." Bret waved back and Leonard turned to Penny, "We have a visitor not on our list, Sam Larson would like a few minutes, she says off the record."
Penny shrugged so Leonard opened the door and told Bret she could come in. Moments later Bret opened the door and let her in. Sam looked the same as she had last Christmas to Leonard. Penny smiled at Sam, "Her name is Matisse Liisa Hoftstader and you may be the first and last press to see her for a while." Sam walked up close and touched the baby lightly on the face. "I want to thank you guys for seeing me."
Penny must have been in a maternal mood because she made it easy for her. "Sam it's nice to see you I suppose you would like a follow up interview with the Hoftstader family?"
Sam nodded yes, "I would but there's more. I want you both to know how happy I am that one of my stories actually brought people back together. So many times its more about the tragedy it gives me hope that I might help someone else even inadvertently."
Penny smiled at her, "Call Josh in a few weeks and he'll set it up, probably be on a weekday night or weekend though."
Sam touched her hand and turned and gave Leonard a light hug. She started to leave when she saw Lisel sitting in a chair near the door. Sam walked up to her, "You must be Lisel Leonard's daughter, I'm Sam."
Lisel looked up from her reading, "I'm Penny's daughter too, nice to meet you Sam, isn't that a boy's name?" Sam looked over at Penny who gave a very serious head nod. Sam gave her the same nod back acknowledging that they were still off the record.
Proud parents, I hoped you liked it
Reviews, general rants, criticism, general gossip and rumor are all wanted and replied to.