February 23, 2005

You're never ready, no matter how prepared you think you are

My wife will be the first one to tell you this, but she sucks at being pregnant. I think I'm acutally quoting her here. No, she is an immensely talented woman and I am very proud that, in a moment of extreme weakness, she agreed to pledge her troth to me (isn't that a fun expression?) but she really isn't any good at being pregnant.

With the second pregnancy, she fell prey to pregnancy induced hypertension. This is an ugly condition, potentially fatal to her and potentially fatal to the pregnancy. More than once, we were confronted with the possibility of losing the baby. We made a couple of late night emergency trips to the hospital after a phone consultation with her doctor. Those drives were tense affairs even if they took on a certain regular occurance feel to them. I remember that I made arrangements with the snow plowing people who did our driveway to keep us at the top of their list all that winter because I was afraid that if something happened, I would not be able to get out of the garage and get her to help.

In any event, February 22, 2003 was a day much like every other in the pregnancy. Except that my wife's blood pressure shot up again for no reason that morning. We called the doctor and we followed the instructions to try to bring it down. She lay, on her right side (I think) for a half an hour, and it didn't come down. We grabbed a bag and went off to the hospital. On the way, my wife took a call from one of her underlings and went through what needed to be done that day. I then called a client for whom I convinced a court to enjoin a meeting of the shareholders of a co-op to prevent dissolution and explained I would be out of touch for awhile.

The hospital, NY Hospital at 68th and the East River, was bustling but they were expecting us. They took blood and ran tests and said, something is brewing. They said, at 37 weeks into the pregnancy, we can induce labor and we want to induce labor because we don't like what we are seeing. Preeclampsia kills, you see.

So, bang. The routine trip back to the hospital was not so routine, although I think we suspected that on the way in. They admitted my wife and began the induction.

It went very, very slowly. Nothing happened for the longest time. Eventually, they instructed me to go away and get some sleep. I went to a nearby club and crashed from about midnight to maybe 5 a.m. and then went back to the hospital. I was still in the same clothes I had been in the night before. On the way back, I stopped off and picked up a disposable camera.

The delivery, as it turned out, was quick. I think that she started pushing at 7:30 a.m. and the Boy Child arrived in the world at 7:40, a scant ten minutes later. He was so little.

The doctor assured us that he was beautiful, although, I doubt she'd really say otherwise. The doctor, who had also delivered the Girl Child, pumped her fist and exclaimed: "two for two!". She also asked us to have a third child so she could go three for three. In that, I'm afraid, we will disappoint her.

The Boy Child arrived to join our little family on February 23, 2003, today, two years ago. He arrived small, a little jaundiced, but that just gave him a lovely tan, and quite bald but with the most shockingingly blue eyes you've ever seen. Looks nothing like me. Today, he has hair, butter yellow blond, a peaches and cream complexion, and still has the blue eyes. He is, altogether, quite the most beautiful little boy I've ever seen and looks remarkably like my wife's baby pictures. He could be, with no evidence of my genetic contribution anywhere on his face, the official poster boy of Norway.

We brought him home and put him in my daughter's lap as she sat on the couch. He cried and she looked terribly perplexed. It didn't take long before she was telling us, while standing in her crib: "Baby brother is crying, get him for me."

I will end this birthday post with this thought that my daughter had one day while she and I were talking:

Me: You know, that the Boy Child is my son.

GC: He's my son, too.

Me: No, he's your brother. He's my son.

GC: Well, then if he's your sun, he's my moon. And my stars.

I've always liked that.

Welcome to the world, Boy Child! Happy birthday!

(after the jump, by the way, in extended entry, are some other famous birthdays and events today)

Born today:

*1633 Samuel Pepys, London England, famed for his memoirs and diary
*1685 George Frideric Händel, composer
*1734 Mayer Amschel Rothschild Frankfurt, founder (House of Rothschild)
*1868 William E. B. Du Bois Great Barrington MA
*1929 Elston Howard Yankee catcher (1st black New York Yankee/1963 AL MVP)
*1940 Peter Fonda actor (Easy Rider, Lilith, Wild Angels, Trip)

Deaths today:

*1468 John Gutenberg German inventor
*1554 Henry Grey Duke of Suffolk, Lady Jane Grey's father, executed
*1660 Charles X Gustaaf king of Sweden (1654-60), dies at 37
*1792 Joshua Reynolds English painter
*1821 John Keats, poet, dies of tuberculosis at 25 in Rome
*1848 John Quincy Adams 6th US President (1825-1829), dies of a stroke at 80
*1924 Thomas Woodrow Wilson 28th US President (1913-21)
*1942 Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer
*1965 Stan Laurel
*1995 James Herriot

Today in:

*1455 Johannes Gutenberg prints 1st book, the Bible (estimated date)
*1689 Dutch prince William III proclaimed king of England
*1778 Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge
*1792 Humane Society of Massachusetts incorporated (erected life-saving stations for distressed mariners)
*1792 Joseph Haydn's 94th Symphony in G, premieres
*1836 Alamo besieged by Santa Anna; entire garrison eventually killed
*1861 President-elect Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington DC to take office
*1874 Major Walter Winfield patents game called "sphairistike" (lawn tennis)
*1896 Tootsie Roll introduced by Leo Hirshfield
*1898 In France, Emile Zola is imprisoned for writing his "J'accuse" letter accusing government of anti-Semitism & wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfus
*1940 Walt Disney's animated movie "Pinocchio", released
*1945 US Marines raise flag on Iwo Jima, famous photo & statue

Posted by Random Penseur at February 23, 2005 10:53 AM

A very happy birthday to the Boy Child!!!

Great story, scary but happy ending.

Posted by: Wicked H at February 23, 2005 11:35 AM

I swear that you have THE most adorable children.

Happy birthday, Boy Child!

Posted by: C at February 23, 2005 02:33 PM

Happy B-day Boy Child!

Hey, I'm just curious, but, uh, when is the Nanny's birthday? :-)

Posted by: Howard at February 23, 2005 03:30 PM

Oh my god, Random...when I read what the GC said, tears jumped up and STUNG my eyes! Painful..I mean, beautiful, but..

Oh my god.

:::huge sighs:::

You know, just this morning I was talking (again!) to Dan about the grandkids. You know, the ones that don't exist because my kids are too stubborn to have any for my sake? ;-)

Anyway, I said, "When Little Zoe or Zack come to spend the night, we'll...blah blah" and Dan just burst out laughing.

You see, those are the names Dan had picked for kids in case he ever had any. Long, long ago before he decided he wouldn't be a good dad after all and got snipped.

He said, "AMBER! I can see right now where this is going; you are going to look at the grandkids and think, 'We can pretend they are ours when they come over, kinda, sorta.'"

Ay-yi yi...well...I guess he caught me. I guess I do live vicariously through other parents' experiences to a certain extent. That's okay...I got to do it for real once and it was the BEST! :-)

Posted by: Amber at February 23, 2005 04:20 PM

Amber told me to come and read this post because it was so beautiful. She was right, just gorgeous and it made me get all teary when your little girl said "Well, then if he's your sun, he's my moon. And my stars." Sometimes children say so perfectly the things we mean, even when we don't know we mean them. Just beautiful. Warm fuzzy feelings to you and your family and especially your darling birthday boy.

Posted by: Sarah at February 23, 2005 04:44 PM

Felicem diem Natalem!

Posted by: Mandalei at February 23, 2005 05:04 PM

happy birthday boy child!

and i echo the other sentiments concerning your post.

girl child...does it again.

Posted by: standing naked at February 23, 2005 10:16 PM

A very happy birthday to the little scamp. You're going to need to figure out how to make digital movies soon for your audience's pleasure. ;-)

Posted by: Jim at February 24, 2005 06:57 AM

Hope it was a fun and happy one for all!

Posted by: michele at February 24, 2005 01:21 PM

Thanks for all the great comments, y'all. The day was properly marked by some small presents and a raspberry and chocolate cake.

Posted by: RP at February 24, 2005 06:04 PM

You might be interested to know that Most Beautiful Grandchild In The Worldâ„¢ was born on February 24, 2004. So, early or not, the best kids are born around this date. :)

Posted by: Margi at February 25, 2005 02:26 AM
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