Saturday, September 20, 2008


Having attended weeks of childbirth classes, I felt very prepared for the birth of my twins. In my wallet was a card upon which was written the names and telephone numbers of our OB/GYN along with helpful tips in order to keep me calm and rational during what would surely be a stressful experience for the wife and me. The restaurant business has made me an expert in dealing with disaster in a rational manner, so I assumed that when I got the call, I would remain calm, cool, collected, and confident.

I had just taken possession of my Biggie sized combo of reconstituted chicken, recombinant growth hormone, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil when my cell phone rang. "I'm pretty sure my water just broke, or else I just peed on myself." This statement alone would have sent most fathers-to-be into absolute shock, but not me. "Oh yeah? Well, what color is it?" I calmly asked, taking a bite out of my chicken sandwich. "Umm, it's kind of murky." Dipping a salty french fry into a crimson pool of velvety ketchup I coolly queried, "What does it smell like?". I had been well trained, indeed. I dialed the doctors number and explained the situation. The doctor sounded annoyed, probably due to the fact that my speech was impaired by the mastication of fast food, and she called the wife directly for more information.

It was about half way through the meal when it happened. My phone rang again and the wife informed me that there was now a small discharge of blood. My heart sank. I made a mad dash for the car and all the way home my mind was a mangled mess of electrical impulses, each one informing me that I was already a terrible father, and the kids weren't even here yet. I found the wife still perched on her porcelain pedestal, helped her to dress, and raced toward the hospital, both of us excited and nervous and anxious to meet our children for the very first time. Even through her contractions, she assured me that I was going to be a great dad. It made both of us stronger just being together; neither of us realizing exactly what lay ahead.

The contraction monitor was a useful piece of technology for which I was grateful, as the peaks and valleys being graphed in real time served as a warning for the violent mood swings and bipolar disorders that would overtake my wife for the next few hours. It was alarmingly accurate, predicting the tensing of muscles, the reddening of the epidermis, and the beading of sweat upon the brow. Fascinating. Does this thing come in a PMS model? During one particularly lengthy contraction, a nurse's aid came over to investigate. "I'm just going to lift this sheet and take a look," she announced. My wife felt compelled to warn her as if this was her first day working in delivery, "Be careful. There's a lot of fluid down there." The poor little woman had misunderstood, as evidenced by the look of puzzlement on her face and her next confused question: "There's FOOD down here?!". In obvious pain, but not enough to dull her razor sharp wit, my wife replied in a tone dripping with sarcasm and annoyance, "Yeah, I'm sneaking in a fried chicken. FLUID! FLEW-ID. F.L.U.I.D.!".

After a brief separation during which my wife was prepped for a caeseraion, I was ushered into the operating theater through the back door like a deliveryman. I was greeted by my wife's head and a guy named Bert. My wife's head was separated from her body by a large blue sheet. She seemed to be unaware that her body was being pulled apart by a team of medical professionals, focusing instead on Bert, to whom she was talking as if he were an old friend. Bert was a masked bandit whose only distinguishing feature seemed to be a pair of rimless glasses. He spoke reassuringly and had a very soothing effect upon my wife aside from the fact that he controlled her anesthesia. I was not so easily sedated, and couldn't help but wonder just what exactly was going on beyond the blue curtain. I got up my courage and peeked around the side, but the sight of bloody stainless steel surgical tools and a glimpse of entrails that might be found on the floor of an industrial meat packing plant was enough to make me see the folly of my brief curiosity and hasten a speedy retreat to the safety of my wife's talking head and the lenses Bert had apparently stolen from some unsuspecting frames.

And when I least expected it, two hands held up a red and pink squiggle of baby fat, announced "Here's your son", and then quickly disappeared behind the curtain again. I looked at my wife, astonished, then I looked at Bert and I could see his eyes smiling at me from behind those pilfered lenses. Just then, a nurse appeared from around the curtain holding a tiny blanket concealing the most precious treasure I had ever seen. "Would you like to hold your daughter?", she asked. And as I sat there with my wife's head by my side and my daughter in my arms, I knew that my fears of being a bad father were completely unfounded. There was no way I was going to screw this up. Here were these perfect little people that we had made together that would fill our lives with misery and joy and love and pain from this moment forward. It was the proudest moment of my life, and I was relieved that we had all made it through together. As my wife was taken to recovery, I staggered out to share the news with the family, and search for another chicken sandwich.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

alsome never knew you were a great writter its beautiful!! love ya meese