My oldest son is studying to be a Physician’s Assistant and is currently in clinical rotations. That’s where they run you to a lot of places to work for different kinds of doctor’s and you get to practice on folks. As I write, he is witnessing his first live birth. I am sure he will come home either a) excited as all get out and can’t wait to get out of school and get to work or b) so completely repulsed by the whole idea that he throws in the towel on this career choice and drives a truck. Being as how I know him pretty well, I suspect he will choose the former.
The whole live birth episode brought back memories of the live births that I myself attended. It has been my (ahem) privilege to be in attendance at three over my time and I do not care to see a fourth. I was present for the live birth of all three of my kids and each one has had its own distinction.
The first, our only girl, began her entry into the world in the morning about the time I went to work. It was not until evening when she got serious about joining us. Our hospital was thirty or so miles away so we left before dinner. I had been told that some deliveries can take all night so felt compelled to stop for self-sustaining snacks. I further surmised that I may not have time to get gas for our car over the next few days so stopped for that too. Through this thirty mile ordeal that included two stops, my bride sat suffering in silence in the car. When I got her to the hospital parking lot, walking was almost too much for her. The nurses settled her into the labor room just in time. The contractions got stronger and stronger and, by and by, she looked at me and said through clenched teeth, “You can leave now!” Being the faithful husband that I am, I declined her assertions and stayed even after her stares at me had all the venom of an enraged rattlesnake. We survived it together. I think.
The second, the first of two sons, was in a bit of a hurry. We got to the hospital in plenty of time and were told to settle in for a long night. I brought out my requisite snacks and magazines and settled in. Our son must’ve heard them and seen me and decided to make liars out of all of us. His arrival came so fast that I had to change clothes in the hall while on the run. The mid-wife that did the delivery allowed me to cut the umbilical cord while announcing, “I am too old for this quick stuff.” He didn’t cry. He just hollered. I think he was laughing.
The third born (who is now the tallest of the three) came in such a rush that we never made it to the delivery room. He was the only one of the three that had an audience. I was later told that most of the ER staff had come up to observe. He must’ve known about the crowd as he was most certainly the loudest of the three. I think I may have damaged my hearing.
Next: advice to new dads.