posted on February 26, 2013 00:00
My first child was prepared for with the precision of a NASA mission, though legitimately carried out, as opposed to that “moon landing” we’ve been sold for years.
I had finally straightened up my shit, at least for that period of time, and convinced the wife that I was ready to assume the responsibility of fatherhood over that of putting various barmaids through college.
She was about as organized as it comes, where things like this were concerned, and birth control had been seized at the appropriate time before attempts at impregnation and the sex schedule was pretty mapped out for what was to be our mating period.
Regardless of the lack of passion this really allowed for, I was looking quite forward to many attempts before success – somewhere along the lines of the Atlanta Braves, but WELL short of Chicago Cubs territory.
The first attempt was so methodically planned out that a rare visit from my brother in-law had to be cut short with the point blank statement of “I need to fuck your sister sometime in the next 20-minutes”, as I was running out of time before another commitment called for my early exit…on both fronts.
I’m still not entirely convinced that this convenient “drop-by” wasn’t actually orchestrated by my mother in-law in exchange for some money or babysitting duties, but that’s another story.
He finally exited and the deed was performed. I’ll spare you the passionate details of those 3 ½-minutes, as a lot of you ladies may be at work and probably don’t need “Fifty Shades” of moisture complicating matters in that office chair.
I’ll just say that I put in some quality work and would also like to take this time to point out how much I fucking hate the inventor of the digital clock.
Bitter sweet emotion arrived in a about a month as I learned that, while I’d successfully knocked up my bride, I would not be seeing the increased practice field time I’d been hoping for. I’m still shocked at my own virility, given the abuse that I’d inflicted on my own internal (and external) organs, but those DNA test demands tend to hinder a happy marriage.
As you’ve likely deduced from the wife’s preparedness to get that way in the first place, the pregnancy was met with surgical precision in which all classes, books and appointments with the “ditch doctor” were strictly adhered to. Everything was to be perfect.
We had mutually chosen to not find out the sex beforehand and, if I’m being honest, I’m not so certain the combination of the blurry images of 2002-ultrasounds and the unfortunate genetics of my male genitalia would have made this possible in the first place.
Some friends had said that a woman’s gift is the carrying of the child and that the man’s was the pride of “announcing” the arrival to a room full of anxious friends and families, and thus revealing the sex. This looks incredibly fucking cheesy when typed out on paper, but we thought it was pretty cool then, and I actually still do now.
The books, doctors and class instructors constantly reiterate that everything will NOT go perfect, or as planned, during this experience, but ours had literally seen nary a wrinkle.
The due date had passed, which is pretty standard, as these guys barely edge out the goddamned weatherman when it comes to predicting this shit, but that was really it. An induction was scheduled and we checked in to have our little BMFP.
Being our first child, and my actually having a rather large group of friends at that point in time, the waiting room was filled to capacity purely for our support and to meet our new addition. I could not wait to bust through the doors, swelled with pride and announcing a name.
Unfortunately, this much-visualized scenario would never play out.
We were shocked with how smoothly everything was going, relatively speaking AND from the guy whose vagina wasn’t being stretched to unimaginable proportions, right up until the birth.
Our nurses were fabulous and, after hours of their hard work and attention, the doctor showed up for his 15-minutes of fame and to steal the fucking glory before making a hasty exit.
My firstborn arrived at 10:51 that night and I quickly realized just how accurate all of that cliché bullshit really was. I immediately experienced a new level of emotion that I didn’t know was humanly possible and am still dumbfounded by the phenomenon of falling madly in love with somebody you’ve never even met.
The baby was placed on her mother’s abdomen and the cord was cut…and then our worlds crashed down. The bridge to my next generation opened its’ mouth to greet the world and nothing came out. I saw a baby’s face screaming for all it was worth, yet not a sound coming from its’ precious little body.
While obviously new to this whole experience, you’re still pretty aware of how this should work and this was to be our “unplanned” moment. Within seconds, and without saying a word to either of us, the entire focus of that delivery room was diverted to my newborn child and quickly joined by about 11-other members of the medical staff from parts unknown.
If the local fire department had that kind of response time, I’d throw more trinkets in their boot at the intersection 3-times a year, but I digress.
Before I knew what hit me, I watched as a tube was shoved down my minutes-old child’s mouth and complete strangers did all they could to help, with the urgency of this being one of their own. The baby was stabilized and whisked away with me being told to follow immediately behind.
My poor wife was left in her stirrups, alone and unable to help the young life she had just so courageously and beautifully brought into this blatantly cruel fucking world.
The first glimpse that our supporters in the waiting room got of me was a tear-soaked face of despair following quickly by the windows of the door as they all wondered what the hell had happened…and so did we.
My child was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and things were now explained to me, as they were simultaneously being explained to my wife upstairs. A random “mucus plug” had lodged itself in the baby’s throat at birth and it had unfortunately experienced several minutes without oxygen to its’ little brain.
It was getting close to midnight and we were now told to retire to our room with overnight test results revealing a lot more by morning. I did feel the relief of knowing that my baby would pull through, but we now had to wait about 5-8 hours to know the level of damage that may have resulted. Sleep was not to be had.
I saw a lot of tiny little, VERY sick children in that unit and really should’ve felt lucky compared to other distraught parents occupying the very same halls, but that’s honestly no comfort for you when you’re in the “here and now” of it, as selfish as that sounds.
I know that others that night would end up with far worse news than us, but I truthfully didn’t give 2-shits. I wanted to hold my baby and know that all would be okay. It was ALL I wanted.
They say that the day your child is born is the happiest day of your life. I often say that ours was actually the day after.
Our family and friends would ultimately find out the much anticipated sex of our baby, not from the words of a proud father, but from the accidental words of a doctor who stopped in to inform them that “she” had experienced a loss of oxygen to her brain upon birth and would be tested throughout the night before we’d know anything.
“She…?” my mother in-law would ask.
Thanks to an incredible hospital, and an even more incredible group of nurses, and even a few doctors, “She” turned 11-today. “She” is in her school’s gifted program, “She” is active in archery, choir, softball and dance, and “She” also dabbles on the piano and guitar.
Most importantly, “She” would become the 2nd-person to save my life. No, it wasn’t with the hoopla and urgency of how her own was spared, but it was every bit as important to me.
In retrospect, I honestly weep for those who’ve lost their children and those whose news that following morning does not paint as rosy of a future. You are the strongest people walking the face of this tough as shit world and no amount of words can convey that to you.
I find myself sometimes wondering if there was anything that we’ll never know was lost that night in the delivery room and always come to the same conclusion.
For those believers in balance and some sort of “God” out there, I have to think that he was just leveling the old playing field for the rest of you – as this world doesn’t yet know what hit them.
Happy Birthday, my sweetheart, my firstborn, my savior, my RMFP…KMFP-out!
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