I stood by the hospital entrance I thought your mother would drive through so she would see me. It was dark and cold and I had to stomp my feet to keep warm. Then I saw her drive by. She didn’t see me, and as she continued toward the parking garage, I ran after her, a tall man in work boots chasing a black car.
On the labor and delivery ward, the nurses looked at me in my uniform and stethoscope around my neck and thought I was bringing in a patient, but I had to say, “I’m here as a father tonight.”
They attached your mom to a fetal monitor, which showed your heart rate as well as the strength of each contraction. Your heart was cruising at 140-150. When the doctor broke the sac to speed the birth process, there was green in the fluid – meconium.
The contractions continued. Your mother got more dilated. Then during one contraction as the strength of the contraction went up 30, 34, 38, 41, 45, 50…I noticed your heart rate started to go down…134, 128, 122, 115, 108, 96, 88.
I wasn’t certain if it was a problem or just the position of the monitor. The doctor came back into the room. Your heart rate was back to normal. The doctor studied the strip a moment and then left the room.
I stood by your mother and watched the monitors. The rate would go down to 120, sometimes to a 100, and then go back up, as the contraction eased. Your mom was almost fully dilated. The doctor tried to have her push, but you just wouldn’t come out.
And then your heart rate started to drop again, back into the 80’s. Then back up. There was the possibility that your head was pressing on the chord.
Please let her be well. Let her be healthy and strong and have a good life. I will do anything, give everything.
They brought me blue scrubs to put on and I sat on a stool next to your mother. From where I sat I could look around the drape and watch as they cut a horizontal line across her abdomen. I held her hand and sometimes rubbed her shoulders.
When they reached in and pulled you out, they pulled just your head up first and there you were. Your head looked just like a big blue bulldog. You weren’t breathing, but I knew that was alright. They took you over to the table and dried you off and cleared all the meconium away. I heard your first cry.
I narrated everything to your mom. “She’s pink. She’s beautiful.”
They brought you over to me and then there you were in my arms, cradled against my chest, full head of hair, big brown eyes open, looking to me.