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.
With 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.
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.
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?