I sit now in the kitchen on my laptop. But somehow I'm still in the chair in the family room wondering what happened, what is going on, is Timmy okay? I started having images of when I looked into Timmy's eyes the day he was born, and promised that I would be the best father and dad I could humanly be.
I held him in my arms, as he suckled on a bottle, feeling the fear of failing this tiny little baby and the jubilation of knowing that he is healthy and my child. I explained with a matter of fact rationale, to him that his mother was in recovery following an emergency C-section and that I came very close to losing both of them. It was our first father-son talk. I didn’t bargain with God – I demanded both of them be kept well and in His care.
My wife and I entered the surgical suite, after being in labor for twelve hours, and listening to a woman separated by a curtain cursing in Spanish and announcing her contractions with a commanding “Ay, Ay, Ay!”
I thought to myself, “Who is that? Charo?” Images of the mambo singer pushing a watermelon out into the world did distract me from my own counting between my wife’s contractions. That was met by a glare from her.
The local was giving, and the cutting began. I stood there powerless wearing a sterile paper gown, cap, and slippers, when the alarms clanged. I was spun and pushed out the door by the charge nurse into the nurse’s station. After pacing for five minutes, which seemed more like five hours, I was allowed back into the suite. My wife lay in the cruciform position, intubated, her eyes taped to keep from fluttering by the Anesthesiologist.
I thought “What am I going to do now?”
The OB-GYN brought me over to my son. He was wailing in protest, screaming on top of his little lungs. The pediatrician was examining him and said Timmy was an APGAR of 8. I said aloud, “He’s a 9.” The pediatrician was about to explain to me the APGAR scoring system, but the OB stopped him with a wave of a hand.
“This is the dad. And he is a medic, he knows APGAR –I agree the baby is a nine.” The OB leaned me closer. “You’re a daddy. Would you look at the muscle tone on those legs?”
I stepped closer and held out my gloved hand, inching my finger to his little hand. Timmy gripped it. He was covered in a cake of powder, as the little gold heart for the neonate monitor reflected the light from the neonate warmer. I was paralyzed with fear. I thought about how my wife and I announced we were married four days before Christmas.
Gigi tapped her fork on her water-glass at Christmas dinner. “I have an announcement.” The family stifled their idle holiday chit-chat and looked up with smiles. I guess they were expecting a toast or a blessing…boy were they in for a surprise. “I’m pregnant…and Marty and I got married four days ago. Pass the mashed potatoes.”
My father-in-law, newly father-in-law I might add, stood up and rushed over. Gigi, in fear of her shocking announcement, stood at the same time.
“I can’t shake hands with my new son-in-law and welcome him to the family?”
So I sat on this stool, seven months later, holding this little human-being as he suckled on the nursing bottle. I told him how his mother and I met, how we came to living together, how much I loved her. I made promises to him that only a daddy can promise.
I told him how ten months before his mother and I attended my brother’s wedding and how I was kicked out of my dad’s house because of the consequences of fate. I chose to put a knot in the skein that night. If given a choice, I would do the same again.