Jonah's 10th Birthday: Celebrating a Life That Almost Wasn't
I was driving car pool ten years ago, when I got the call. I dumped my co-workers out at the eastside Huck's. (a fellow coworker picked them up) Gretchen's water had broken. It was our second child but first birth. We had adopted four years earlier with the knowledge that our chance of conception was very slim to none. But here we were. We had made several trial runs as pre-term labor was constant problem. We dropped Noah of at my brother's house and off to Centralia we went. Another problem that we always have is that when we need our doctors, they are always out of town. That is just our luck. Anyway so Gretchen's gyno is out of town. We get checked in and Gretchen gets dressed in one of St. Mary's finest gowns. And we wait. And wait. And wait. I decided to go downstairs and get some lunch. I ate and then went to the chapel. A place I would visit more than once. Okay so I go back upstairs. Still no action but that was about to change. The nurse says she can give Gretchen something that would speed things up. Okay go ahead. She had already had her epidural and they had placed a heart monitor on the baby's head.(yes it was placed there vaginally) After a short while, the baby's heart rate started to get faster. I thought it must being getting close. Nope. The heart rate was then all over the place. The nurse was trying different things. They had called for the doctor but she was not to be found. The nurse had her turning this way and that way trying all sorts of things. Then the nurse, almost in tears says, looks at me and says and I quote, "I don't know what else to do!" I seem to recall other nurses in the room as well. Finally the doctor arrives and she wants Gretchen to roll over and get on all four. The problem was she was numb from the waist down. So the doctor is yelling for her to rollover and she's trying and the heart rate number is all over the place and then ........the heart monitor hits and stays at 0. I'm about to go in to shock. The heart monitor had slipped off during all of the movement. Then things then calm down. They get Gretchen on her back again and the heart monitor is placed back to here it reads positive numbers. During all of this my mom had been in the room the whole time but my dad had went down stairs . He had missed all of this and had came back just as this was going on. I shook my head no and he stayed in the hall. After I give the okay, dad came in wondering what in the hell was going on. The doctor tells us that our baby was in distress and that we had two choices. A) since the heart rate was back to normal we could wait and try again to have it naturally or B) we could have an emergency Cesarean. Gretchen didn't want to take anymore chances, she would do the Cesarean. She is in tears and I'm still recovering from seeing the big 0, but time moves on. They prep her for the procedure and I'm told I can come in with her. They come and get her and I'm apparently invisible. So I follow behind and they stop me at the surgery doors. I say "They told me I could come in." A nurse responds "You will have to wait in there(pointing to a little room to the side) until they come and get you." Okay, so I'm in my little room and they bring me scrubs to put on and a mask. I wanted to say "You do know I'm not the doctor." But I kept my mouth shut. In St. Mary's they stamp your baby's foot on the wall after their born and put their name above it, For those baby's that don't make, they place an angel stamp with their name above. So, I'm sitting in my little room and look out into the hall and freak because the last stamp on the wall leading into surgery was an angel with Jonah above it. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Anyway, they come and get me. Now for those of you that have never been in on a C-section, be prepared to see things that you probably won't see anywhere or ever again like.....your wife's intestines sitting on the outside of her body. I take my seat beside Gretchen and hold her hand. She is awake and we talk a little. Then just like that the doctor reaches in and pulls out our baby. The cord had been wrapped around his shoulder. They show me it's a boy and take him to the side. The nightmare was over.
Jonah turned ten today. What a great ten years. Fours years after his birth, we would have baby girl, but not before I would get kicked out of the delivery room. But that story is for a different day. This day belongs to Jonah. Happy birthday Jojo.