When my wife got pregnant for the first time, it was sort of exciting, but not something I put much thought into. I live my life day to day, and embrace the immediate challenge long before concerning myself with the distant storm. I tried to be supportive of my wife and keep things flowing in a positive way, but did not make any substantial changes to my thinking or lifestyle.
Things first became real for me when we were already at the hospital. Our estimated due date had come and gone, and our doctor was recommending intervention, or an induced labor. The pregnancy months flew by uneventfully for the most part, which was great, but now my wife was in danger. I do not believe she was ever really exposed to any great peril, but as a husband seeing the woman you love in a bed with stuff poking out of her arms is far from ideal. As the Pitocin started slowly dripping away like the minutes on the clock, we waited. As the excitement ebbed away, and the fear accumulated, we watched episode after episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, trying to keep our frayed nerves in the back of our minds.
After about 12 hours of near solitary confinement, things slowly started to happen. Our son didn’t like the drugs, and every time the nurse tried to up the dose and speed things along, his little heart struggled. We played a game of give and take, and the word Caesarian kept coming up. I was internally panicking by this point, afraid not only for my unborn child, but my best friend, who might be headed into surgery at any moment. My façade was failing fast and it was getting harder to appear confident, although I felt it was necessary. Things took an upswing, and the doctor decided to give it one more solid try before moving the party to another venue, the one with the knife.
After a long, exhausting labor, including an expensive form of a toilet plunger being stuck to my child’s head, my son came into this world. The relief was palatable, although somewhat fleeting. I glanced at our limp, slimy and discolored child and really panicked. Unfortunately my mask was completely removed by now, and the look of concern on my face was a beacon of fear in my wife’s eyes. Fortunately our nurse had been around the block, and quickly re-assured us everything was going to be alright. About that time our son opened his mouth, and produced the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. Funny how that exact sound is now one of my least favorite, but that is another story. For now I am just grateful for healthy children.