Arrivals and Departures – Day One

For Rebecca,

The arrival happened over the period of a couple of days some 21 years ago. While it may sound clique, it is truly hard to believe that the years have passed so quickly. Memories of the growing up years are blurred by the busyness that is life. Now you have college graduation, a real job and your first apartment. Another transition for dear old dad to muddle through. At least during the college years, there was always the hope of your returning during those breaks in the school year and life could return to normal, if only for a time. I realize this next phase is how life should work, but it doesn’t make the change any easier. As I watched you receive your diploma the other day, I thought back, if only for a moment, and remembered those two unbelievable days some 21 years ago.

Day One

When you sit in the birth center waiting room, you think of a lot of different things, boy or girl, big or small, easy delivery or hard, feinting or no. Most importantly, however, you think of a life on the way and what an incredible blessing God has given you at that moment. Prayer is a close friend as there is quite a bit of down time for Dad awaiting the big moment. As usual, Mom is left doing most of the work.

As Mom and I awaited your arrival, we had thoughts of rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night, totally unprepared, with you making your first appearance just as we arrived in the delivery room. This is the way it went in every movie or TV show we had ever seen or book we had ever read. A little pain, some heavy breathing, and out you would come. Life somehow doesn’t imitate TV. Unlike Harry Chapin’s lyrics, you did not want to come into the world in the usual way. As it was, you were two weeks late and sitting none too comfortably on Mom’s bladder. I am sure you would have moved had you known the problems you were causing in our household at the time. I was told Mom needed to use the bathroom 4 or 5 times a night, though I tended to sleep through the considerable movement she made getting in and out of bed. The doctor said not to worry about your shyness; Mothers tend to be late with their first child.

At our final doctor’s visit before your arrival, I could sense there was a certain bewilderment amongst the medical staff. Everyone was wondering how your Mother was able to stand and walk, well waddle, considering the enormous weight up front. Finally, the doctor had seen enough and decided you would need some help if you were going to make it into this world before Christmas. This process is better known as inducing labor, or a polite way of saying your mom’s had enough. We were both relieved to know this would be coming to an end soon and we would finally be able to hold you and show you off to all our family and friends.

The day finally came when you were to be born. We thought we were well equipped. We had spent time in classroom training, read several books on the subject (well, your mother had read several books), visited the hospital birthing center, and in general felt we could handle just about anything. Unfortunately, life does not always go by the book.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. with no hint of labor pains and your mother generally irritable considering the hour of the day we were required to make an appearance. As you will learn over the years, your mother is not terribly found of early morning starts. We were shown our room, and the doctor kick started the process. We were requested to start walking in hopes that you would make a decision on your own to enter this world. Hospitals can be somewhat interesting for a while, but after about 5 laps in the same corridor, your mother and I were beginning to tire of this process. Supposedly, the steps we had already taken would normally be enough to induce labor. Unfortunately, labor was not part of your plan for the day so we headed off to try plan B.

Now plan B became a little more serious. We moved off to the birthing room and your mother was hooked up to a monitor which would show how much pain she was suffering and a line which would feed her the medicine which would start the pain. This is all seemed a bit odd to me, but I wanted to trust that they knew what they were doing. The contractions soon started and seemed to arrive every two minutes for the next 18 hours. This seemed to be another area where TV had led me astray. I had thought the time between contractions would begin to shrink as the big moment drew closer. Somehow we started out with very little time between contractions and the time delay remained at a standstill for the rest of the night. There are a lot of reasons not to watch TV, but none better than this one.  Next – day two.

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