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The Arrival, Take Two – Part II

Standing at the altar, amidst the trappings of matrimony, it never occurred to me that one ultimate consequence of answering in the affirmative would one day lead to me standing up in an operating room and firing off a raft of pictures of a screaming mucous covered child emerging from my bride’s guts laid bare and bloodied before me. Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t mention it in the orientation session.

Having earned my C-Section merit badge with my first daughter, I roughly knew what to expect when I was led into the operating theatre by an overly friendly nurse with a darling British accent. My wife was positioned as she had been the last time, prone on a table with her arms wide and a curtain right up to her chin so that she was unable to view ‘the action’. I sat with her, doing my best to keep her entertained, and slipped the anesthesiologist a twenty for a little ‘extra effort’ in the pain management.

DSC01118.JPGWith Justine, I recall my wife handling it reasonably well, at least as well as conscious abdominal surgery can be handled. But that was planned – this was a different affair. The consequence of waking up without knowing you are getting sliced up is that you have a tendency to do things that are less than optimal for surgery, like eating and drinking. Because Kim had consumed her daily Lucky Charms (marshmallows only, of course), she was forced to drink some magical medical concoction to neutralize the acid in her stomach. Presumably this was to prevent her from spraying her intestinal contents about the walls during surgery. Instead, it actually seemed to intensify that possibility.

So there we sat, awaiting birth. Kim was intent on getting water to remove the nauseating taste from her mouth. The anesthesiologist and nurse behind me chatted about their weekend plans, while on the other side of the curtain the surgeons who had their fingers caressing my wife’s spleen and idly poking the water balloon holding my soon to be born child discussed Oprah’s imminent retirement. Me? I was trying to keep myself from live tweeting the whole thing.

The magical moment arrived, and I stood up and watched the birth of my second child as I did the first – through the unforgiving lens of a camera. It was like watching TV! Except of course that the blood was real, the guts my wife’s and the child a very real financial burden. Regardless, I intrepidly fired away, the shutter of my rather expensive DSLR capturing frame by frame our DAUGHTER emerging from the womb, trying to dodge the spatter.

Yes, another daughter, which officially tips the gender ratio of my life firmly estrogenous, with now a wife, two daughters, two female dogs, a female cat and a female rabbit. Even our receptacles are all female.

1000000579.JPG Our anesthesiologist completely blew it by the way – he practically guaranteed a boy, apparently overstating his ‘really good track record’. Stick to the knockout juice, buddy.

After my daughter was whisked away to the baby station to get weighed, eye gooped and made TV show birth presentable, my wife breathed a sigh of relief, and resumed her requests for water. After ensuring that Kim was handling the aftermath of her scalpel induced infant wrenching ok, I headed over to view my latest addition to the gene pool.

Unlike my first daughter, this one was not licking her knees against her will, but rather lay rather mucous covered and gross under the heat lamp. I spent most of my first moments with her shoving a 2 inch diameter piece of glass up to her and terrifying her with loud clicking noises and the occasional bright flash. She was small, smaller than the watermelon What to Expect When You’re Expecting suggested she was at this point in out pregnancy. I estimated a casaba melon, or perhaps a blue ribbon eggplant – however the nurse would not play this game with me, instead sticking to the facts, which was 5 pounds 14 ounces.

By far the most distinguishing feature of my newborn child was the size of her feet. I’ve long been told that the final size of puppy can be determined by the size of their paws. Judging by the clown sized clompers of our newborn, I’m reasonably sure we have jus birthed a future starting center for the UConn Huskies.

1000000587.JPG She was rather unhappy, possibly because she was forcibly pulled from a dark water filled sac unexpectedly, had to learn to breathe, got a shot, goop rubbed in her eye, weighed, dressed, passed her first test (a 9.9!), and was forced already to spend time with Dad when all she wanted was her Mommy. And this all in the span of five minutes – just imagine what the rest of her life will be like.

Eventually the nurse swaddled her into the only baby blanket style legally permitted, and walked her and me back over to my wife, who was busy attempting to trade our CRV for a thimble full of water. I showed what we had made, pointing out that our daughter was up to human standards. We took the requisite pictures, and then we were given the news that our daughter was to go spend the next few hours in the nursery so that she could be monitored as she continued mastering the rather important skill of breathing.

After a tear-filled goodbye (I was a little surprised at the anesthesiologists emotions), I left my wife and followed in tow with the nurse and my newborn daughter out of the operating room and into the maze of hallways and locked doors that led to the nursery.

Did I mention that we didn’t have a name yet?


Posted in Birth Day, New Baby.

The Arrival, Take Two – Part I

Waiting. Watching the clock. It’s 3 o’clock, it’s about to start.

I sat, impatiently, in the loneliest seat in the world, staring at the clock on the wall. Waiting. Watching. Wondering.

Waiting while my wife was prepped for a surgery neither of us woke up expecting to handle today. Watching while a steady trickle of specialists wandered by me into the operating theatre, their knowing eyes peering from behind their surgical masks at me fidgeting in the only chair in this massive hallway. Wondering how life could change so dramatically in only 6 hours.

This was not in the plans today – no, today was yet another ‘routine’ ultrasound, the last of a ridiculous number of sonic intrusions on our high-risk, unborn fetal tax write-off. We had already suffered through the inevitable consequences of such intense examination of pregnancy, through scares of placenta accreta, Bieber fever, and more recently low fluid levels that had turned my extremely active wife into a modified-bedrest ridden turtle, afraid to leave the house lest she fall into the finality of permanent bedrest and/or snapper soup. But we’d muscled through it, and through relaxation and consumption of river-like quantities of water we returned to a sense of normality and turned a wary eye toward ‘regular’ labor.

I was nearly late to the ultrasound, after dropping our daughter off at my parents a bit late led to a frantic drive across town to arrive at the office moments before my wife was taken back. The plan was a final ultrasound in which we’d glimpse a last vision of our newborn before he/she slid down ‘chute o’ life’. Then on to work for me, a day to be filled with meetings and status updates, a long lunch and a quiet night at home watching John Quinones drop another bombshell on some unsuspecting diners.

Instead, our unruly technician, who seemed to have little patience for performing what I can only assume is all that she does all day, declared my wife’s fluid levels to be low. Dangerously so. My wife, after dozens of ultrasounds over the preceding months, verbally sparred with her, trying to eke out a higher value, lest we end up in the hospital.  For my part, I stared at the static on the monitor and wondered if the machine had Internet access. After the doctor’s confirmation of the levels, and a less than cryptic ‘congratulations,’ we were directed to Labor and Delivery.

We were shepherded into a triage room so that everyone’s vitals could be monitored. The baby was fine, Kim had elevated blood pressure and I was diagnosed as ‘piss drunk’. Our OB arrived from what I can only imagine is the ‘Huxtable Lounge’ and gave us the rundown. Baby – today. We considered this and then tentatively countered with baby – later? Thus ensued a delicate dance wherein the hospital staff performed ‘tests’ and ‘supplemental ultrasounds’ and ‘tarot card readings’ to convince us that yes, the fluid levels were pretty darn low. I saw the dipstick myself – it was undeniable.

But we had a few reservations – first and foremost it was Friday the 13th. While it seems ridiculous that this could be a factor in our thinking, consider this – there is ZERO evidence that Friday the 13th is a bad day to have a child. Wait – what? Secondly, Kim’s fluid levels seemed to wax and wane at Bay of Fundy proportions – who’s to say they wouldn’t be back up to normal tomorrow? Finally, we, being second time parents, were pretty much completely unprepared for a new child. To illustrate, as we sat in triage I downloaded a baby name app ‘just in case.’

Our decision really boiled down to this – today or tomorrow. The doctor was willing to admit us and monitor my wife overnight and reevaluate in the morning. They also agreed to give us the AAA discount on the room despite my card having lapsed. We considered this, and had essentially decided on it. Then, for lack of a better explanation, we decided instead to just ‘screw it – rip the thing out now’. I was surprised at the rapid change of direction, but have learned over the years that when one of my several personalities makes a decision, it’s best to go along with it.

I left immediately to pick up a few things we thought we might need, notably a camera to capture the event, a change of clothes, and my daughter’s veterinary set, in case the doctors needed additional equipment. I also ran our new puppies, who had been spayed two days earlier to our vet to board for the weekend.

Oh, the puppies? Yeah we got two new puppies when my wife was 6 months pregnant. Yes, we are insane.

I frantically drove back to the hospital, encountering heavy traffic along the way and spouting copious epithets at the construction workers who were tying up the main thoroughfare back to the hospital. Meanwhile, my wife was being prepped for surgery and being asked questions like ‘where is your husband?’ and ‘why is your husband not here’ and ‘two puppies? Are you insane?’. I pulled in to the garage five minutes before the surgery, abandoned my car across 3 handicapped spots and pushed an old lady with a walker down the stairs in a mad dash back up to Labor and Delivery. A scowling nurse threw scrubs at me, and the next thing I knew I was in that chair.

Waiting. Watching the clock. It was 3 o’clock.

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“Alas, Chilly Willy, I knew him well…”


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