On this day in 1982 in Dallas, the first of my five boys was born. Nathan arrived in the early evening hours after a tense day of pitocin-induced labor … that was probably overly-administered and did more damage than good, resulting in a C-section baby. (The other four boys were not … and that’s not a common story … but Diana is not a common lady!)
During the labor, to pass the time, Diana and I were playing a card game that involved quick hands and movements. She was connected to an IV, but still beat me – more proof (as all the boys will tell you) that she is actually the more competitive of the two of us!
After the decision was made to do the surgery and Diana was taken away, I thought they would come and get me, and only THEN start the procedure. NO! I heard them say from down the hallway, “You can call the husband in now.” So I figured they would say, “OK, everyone is here, so let’s begin.” Nope, it was already well in progress as I walked around Diana, whose feet were toward the door. All I noticed out of my side view, as I went to my appointed place by her head, was a lot of red in her direction… and red on the floor. This whole childbirth thing really is very difficult on fathers, you know.
We had seen videos of C-sections in our child-birthing classes, and everyone in the video was having a good time – it was like a party! So we were unprepared when Diana said, “This really, really hurts!” The anesthesiologist – a fellow a bit lacking in bedside manners – said, “You are feeling something? Honey, they just cut you wide open, I don’t think you are feeling anything!”
At that moment, Diana passed out and her head dropped sideways. The anesthesiologist went into a bit of panic mode. He said to me (about the breathing thing over Diana’s face), “Here, hold this in place, I need both hands.” And he began frantically turning dials and dohickuses. About that time I heard a cry from a few feet away, but all I was thinking was, “OMG, my wife just died!”
Well, as you know, she did not die … but by the time she awoke and we both realized we had a baby, a good several minutes had passed. This experience, along with several other elements, put Diana on a warpath to never have another C-section … and she didn’t! (Diana is a tough dudette!)
As I went home that night, I remember being so in awe of the whole thing – a day which I recall all these years later as the most surreal experience of my life.
Nathan has been a great guy! He is truly one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. I did not think it was possible that there could be a less sentimental person than myself, but by comparison, Nathan makes me look like a writer for Hallmark’s collection of greeting cards for Valentine’s Day!
Nathan has brought some trauma to our lives! (as do most kids). There was the cancer-that-wasn’t scare of 1996, the diabetes onset of 1997, and a number of terrifying low blood sugars since then. And one of the great joys of my life was to see him come back from those episodes to win gold medals in high school track and to run in college … and because he was a runner, he met his running wife on the cross country team at Dickinson.
Beyond that, we’ve got Bella and Hudson, and an enormous multi-national business empire – sort of!