|13 years in the making.|
Official Baby Statistics (McBone certified)
Weight: 8 lb. 4 oz.
Length: 21 in.
Time of birth: 8:43 PM, 11/6/11
Species: Homo sapien
Sex: decidedly ♂
The name William Miguel was not suddenly struck upon. Years of planning lay behind this moniker:
William: my paternal grandfather, Firestone chemist who made wine, drank martinis, listened to Jelly Roll Morton and was my hero.
Vilhelm: wife's maternal grandfather. Danish-born engineer, inventor and lover of life. Immigrated to Venezuela in the 1930s and fell for one of the locals.
Miguel: wife's father, affectionately called 'Michael' by his family.
Michael: my father, affectionately called 'Miguel' by his father.
The plan was an all-natural, surgery-free birth. Nine months of preparations brought her fully contracting to our beautiful birthing suite at the new Clarian hospital in Lafayette. The birthing pool awaited us, as did our midwife. Grandparents were on hand. So was Doula. We were ready.
All was going as scripted, until she stepped into the pool and the time came to push. Though she pushed with all her might, the kid would simply not come through the chute. The midwife determined that he was turned the wrong way, and a sliver of cervix would not dilate.
Measures were taken: different birthing positions. Pitocin to ramp up the contractions and get the kid turned. A last resort epidural to prolong things, soften the pain, loosen things up. The kid, stubborn in the way his mother can be stubborn, would not budge. And why should he? His mom had been so good to him in pregnancy, singing songs in Spanish and setting modern day records for ingestion:
Milk: 50,000 gallons
Orange juice: 40,000 gallons
Protein: 5 billion grams
Calcium: Enough for 100 baby skeletons
Through it all, our parents kept us calm. Doula was there to spell me, keep us hydrated, whatever we needed. My father-in-law, the doctor, was invaluable when things got confusing and scary. No matter what happened, he kept reminding us that the kid's heart was beating and strong.
And when, after 16 hours of labor, after attempting to birth this kid in every possible way, after enduring contraction after crippling contraction, after finally reconciling herself to the operating table and the C-section she wanted so badly not to have, when after all of this she looked up at me and said 'I'm sorry,' as if this decision represented some kind of failure on her part, that was the moment my heart was atomized, sucked into the hospital's ventilation system and scattered irretrievably in a billion particles. I must endeavor to grow a new heart worthy of this incredible woman.
She was wheeled to the OR and I outfitted with disposable scrubs. When the time finally came, I peeked over the curtain separating me and her head from the proceedings down below. There can be no more surreal a sight than a physician's arms deep in my wife's abdomen, groping for an unborn child.
And there is no surge of euphoria comparable to seeing a head emerge from the womb, cough up some goo and unleash that first phlegmatic howl. Here are some early visual impressions that have stuck with me:
Edward G. Robinson
He cried as technicians cleaned him up, but he calmed when I said his name. Perhaps he knew my voice from those daily, post dinner conversations we had.
The wife was sewn up and handed her child. He took at once to the breast, feeding as greedily as he had a right to.
William Miguel is one week old today. To this blinded parent, he is, of course, handsome, brilliant, and defect-free.
Though this is by no means a baby blog, you haven't seen the last of the McBonerito.