Saturday, January 08, 2005

Nolan Reid 

It all started as so many things around here start, with our dog, Ranger, most probably the greatest dog to walk our beautiful earth.

Regular readers of wrfarah.blogspot.com know that Ranger has -- usually when frustrated or feeling under-appreciated -- occasionally taken out some frustration on my wife. Those who know Ranger know he has a fondness for chewing on used tampons, Kleenex, and other bathroom paper products. So it was, then, that I left for work yesterday and Ranger felt like taking out his disappointment by dragging half the bathroom garbage into the dining room for a little night-time chew.

Jessica, who'd been sleeping all day, woke, came into the dining room, and saw the mess Ranger had created. It was when she bent down to yell at him, perhaps throw the debris into his face, that her water broke.

Meanwhile, I was sitting on the phone with a customer who just couldn't get it. He was trying, I was trying, but we just couldn't reach the finish line. A co-worker, who has a habit of crossing the call center to ask me a question, stepped into the cube across from me to ask me a question. Not in the mood for a question so early into my shift while on the line with some guy who really shouldn't be combining technology with finance, I ignored my co-worker. After a minute, he began scrawling on a piece of notebook paper:

"Your wife's water broke. She's going into labor. Holy shit. What do I do?"

I quickly finished the call and got on the horn to Jessica, who sounded as calm as a fisherman on Sunday morning: "Oh, the contractions haven't started yet. The doctor said I could eat now and just mosey in to the hospital later. My parents are here. You should come in a couple hours."

"Jess, I think I'm coming now."

I drove home. The house was empty, except for good ol' Ranger. Maybe they went for a walk. Maybe they went to get dinner. Ah! Lasagna! Nothing like getting out of work early, some tasty Italian, little bit of labor -- who-hoo!

So I called my mom, who was to take care of Ranger while we're at the hospital. She was talking about "Ohhhhh, Willy, this is soooooo wooooonderfuuuul. You guys are having a baaaaaaaaaaby. Ohhhhh, this is sooooo speeeeecial." And the whole time I was thinking, "Damn, will they get here with that lasagna, already, so we can eat and have this kid." That's when I saw the note on the dining room table:


"Oh, boy, ma. Gotta go."

So I put the dog away and rushed to the hospital. I got to her room and her mom and dad were there. Jessica was looking at me like she wanted to throw me out the window. "Why's she looking at me that way, Tim?" I ask my father-in-law.

"They get like that around now." He took two large steps away from the bed.

Apparently I hadn't had the special "pregnancy cell phone" turned on. Jessica's mom, always the picture of togetherness, patched this mix-up up fairly quickly, and then the in-laws took off. As Jess's mom put it, "this is between you two".

I've seen bitching pain before, and this pain I saw Jessica in matched that. She was in back labor, 5 cm dilated. Before I knew it, some cool guy with glasses and a thick Asian accent came in with a big cart. "I come with epidural for you." I though Jess was going to cry with happiness.

When he was finished: "Congratulation. You feel no pain. Well . . . not too much. And no headaches. Well . . . I don't think so. I do good job. You feel no pain. Congratulation."

Out he went with the cart, and there we stayed for the next two hours as Jess went from 5 cm to 9.5 cm. Finally, the nurses called the doctor in. "Eh, she's close enough to ten. Start pushin, why don'tcha? I'm gonna be out gettin a bite to eat. Actually, I'll also have to go to Walgreens. It's the wife's birthday tonight, and I got to get her a card. So far all I've gotten her is vacuum cleaner bags. But I got her the good ones. Hoover!"

Jessica began pushing. At this point, I could give all sorts of details about pulling on the legs, the pushing, the words of encouragement from the nurse, the things I saw that she pointed out to me, all the different bodily fluids I saw during this time -- things I saw I won't forget and have no real desire to see on a regular basis. But after 90 minutes, hell began to break loose. Jessica was hot. I was rushing around trying to keep the rags cold. More and more nurses were coming in, preparing things. Jessica puked, and I grabbed the dish to catch the puke. Then she projectile pukes, there's puke everywhere -- puke on Jess, puke on me, puke on the couch, puke on the floor, puke on the machines, puke on the nurse, puke-o-rama. I grab another pan. She finishes. Then she states: "I'm not pushing any more until I can brush my teeth!"

I run for the bag and find a toothbrush. She brushes. She pushes. Then finally, at the last minute, the doctor comes in (what a sweet job this is, reading a Men's Health magazine in the lounge for two hours while the nurses do all the work, then coming in for just the delivery).

I come back from a final trip to the faucet to cool the wash cloths and Jess pushes -- out comes this conehead bigger than anything that was ever on Saturday Night Live -- it just keeps coming and coming. Finally, a face -- sunny-side-up -- and so clean and peachy.

I help clean him on a table; he cries, then relaxes. I cut the cord. Jess relaxes. It is 10:30 now. Nolan is so awake and alert, looking at us, looking just like Jess. He's got her eyes, her pumpkin chin, her lips exactly. And when he frowns, he looks just like Jess does when she's dress shopping and can't find what she wants.

After this, it is a long night of tests and medications, and waiting, waiting, waiting. He wakes up and cries several times in the night. Both of us zombies get up and he calms quickly. It's better than you think. That's all I can really say, if you've ever wondered what it is to see a kid born, to watch his first minutes, to take the responsibility. It's better than you think it will be.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?