P.S. — Elliot

July 14, 2013

Here is the story of how our universe was delightfully disturbed.

We arrived at the hospital at 5 a.m. Sara was nervous but beautiful. She wears pregnancy like it’s Vera Wang. We went up to the fifth floor with memories of Alice’s birth tiptoeing through our brains.

The nurse motioned us into a room. Not the same room as episode one, but a room with a view. A view of silhouetted trees, layered hills, and the soon-rising sun.

Our nurse did some prep on Sara. She talked about many things, but here are the things that stood out: 1) I haven’t worked here very long  2) I recently had a bike accident where I fell on my face and blacked out. These two things did not inspire confidence. Neither did the fact that Sara’s IV stick required assistance from another nurse. It also caused Sara to sweat and feel like fainting.

So we were off to a good start. I think I forgot to mention that I was so Zen when we first arrived.

Eventually, Sara started to gain some of her color back and the room seemed like less of a misery-go-round. Unfortunately, this nausea would be a pattern for the day.

Around 7 a.m., Sara’s nurse, doctor, and I wheeled her gurney into the elevator which took us down to a pre-op room to get her ready for her C-section. Sara met with the anesthesiologist, who told her about the medications she would be taking. They gave Sara a blue cap and handed me a cap, suit, and booties. Being an OR novice, I had to ask whether the zipper to the “bunny suit” went in the front or back. I also took my shoes off and put the booties on. More on that later. Finally, one would think the cap would be a no-brainer, but apparently I put it on so poorly that Sara had to fidget with it for a few minutes. While she did this, a nurse came by and remarked, “I didn’t know there was a way to put one of those caps on backward.” When all was said and done, I looked like an anti-Smurf.

Sara was a bit nervous, so I had to be calm. She looked beautiful, even in a blue cap. The chaplain came in and prayed with us and they wheeled her off. I was alone with my cap, suit, booties, and shoes. Then I got to thinking, if I leave my shoes here, will I be able to come back and get them? What if someone else needs to use this room and then my shoes are just sitting here? After a few minutes, I concluded that the booties must go OVER the shoes. Surely this footwear logic puzzle was a genius ploy to keep me distracted from the real concern. MY WIFE GETTING CUT UP AND MY SON BEING BORN. Oh yeah, that. I probably sat in the room by myself for fifteen minutes. Twenty at the most. But it seemed like an hour at least. I wondered how Sara was doing, prayed a lot, and watched the clock.

Around 7:50, they called me into the OR. Sara was laying down with a curtain draped at chest level while the doctors operated on the other side. Although the anesthetist had applied the spinal, Sara was still feeling some pinching and pain. The medical team was quite confounded at her resistance to their drugs. I blame D.A.R.E. Apparently, her body was just saying no. In light of this, a local anesthetic was applied.

The cutting and pulling was a bit more violent than I thought it would be, and Sara winced as the gurney shook. She was being super brave, as she had been throughout the entire pregnancy.

My attempts at empathy were interrupted by a joyous proclamation. “I see legs!”

“You can look over the curtain,” a nurse gestured encouragingly.

Thanks to plenty of E.R. watching in the 90s, I peeked over without hesitation. And sure enough, there were legs! And a belly too! The legs were flailing around wildly, like they were searching for the pedals on a runaway bicycle. A few seconds later, equally wild arms appeared. And finally, at 8:01 on a Wednesday, the body came to a head. A hairy round screaming squinting head. He was perfect. And he was huge!

The nurses took him to a station located a few feet away and cleaned him up. I could see many emotions on Sara’s face as tears curved over cheeks. Pain I’m sure. Agony over not getting to immediately hold her child. Joy over having delivered another life into the world. She sent me over to be with him. I took pictures so she could see.

It must have seemed like maternity eternity, but at last mama got to hold her son. He immediately snuggled up to her, and he must have known in that moment that he would be loved forever by the greatest mother in the world.

After restoring order to the universe, I got to hold my boy. Before he was born, I legitimately worried that I couldn’t love another child as much as my first. But once I held him, he made my anxiety seem absurd. Really rather ridiculous. I experienced a sudden onset of Reverse Grinch Syndrome as my heart, and capacity for love, seemed to be two sizes larger.

But enough with the sentimentality and Seuss-ian analogy. We had some business to take care of.

Going into the surgery, we were down to four names. We won’t divulge them now in case we are judged by history, but I basically left the final choice up to Sara. She earned it. She did a smidgen more than me in these last nine months (though it was really really close).

“He looks like an Elliot to me,” she said, almost afraid to be certain. After a bit of our typical waffling, we said goodbye to Billy Bob, Shaquille, and Mephibosheth and settled on Elliot. James and Kiyoshi had already been decided.

While the docs sewed my favorite PhD back up, I went with Elliot to see how he would do at the Baby Combine. Alice, Debbie, and George met us on the fifth floor—a happy family in waiting, one of the benefits of a scheduled C. Elliot checked in at 7 lbs 7.9 oz (which we rounded up to 8). He measured 19.5 inches. He Apgared out at 8 and then 9. However, his 40-yard dash time was less than impressive.

After all that work, it was time to hit the shower. Once clean, his nurse inked a perfect set of footprints and, because he showed a huge upside (to balance his tiny backside), we decided to pick up our little prospect.

Minutes later, Sara would be wheeled back up to a beaming daughter. The nurses brought Elliot in while Alice waited patiently at the door. Living up to her cat persona though, she peered in, hoping to get a glimpse of mom and baby bro. Once given the green light, she was in the room and climbing like Tenzing Norgay on Mountain Dew.

And so here is where we will end the little postscript to our delightful disturbance. With a big sister getting to touch her baby brother while her mother holds an answered prayer.









2 Responses to “P.S. — Elliot”

  1. Sara Says:

    Aw, so sweet! I cry every time I read it (at least once a day, so far). E. is lucky to have such a good dad! Plus, I can’t complain that there’s one part of the official record, despite photo evidence to the contrary, that is quite so flattering. :-)

  2. teachiro Says:

    This makes me so happy. At least several more years of blogging to be had based on this comment alone.

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