Wednesday, September 12, 2007

E.T. Phone Home

It was a dark and stormy night ...

Actually, Fort Worth on the evening of Friday, September 11, 1981 was a bit on the stormy side. The first cool front of the season was blowing through, though your Mom and I were too distracted to notice it much. Throughout our pizza dinner at Gatti's (a meal which Mom was to see more of later [sorry about that, Dear]), I kept assuring her that it was just false labor. However, my self-assurance began to wane as the contractions became more intense and frequent. Finally, around 11:00 PM, I repented of my all-too-obvious heresy and we headed to the hospital. At Harris-Methodist, all the nurses kept assuring Mom that her labor was coming along just fine. Somewhere around 4:00 AM one of the nurses even predicted, "You'll have that baby before I go off my shift (at 8:00 AM)." Sadly, by 9:00 that false prophet was unavailable to receive the stoning the Bible mandates (Deut 18:20).

Around 10:30 a gorilla in scrubs walked in and announced that he'd be filling in for Mom's regular obstetrician and that it looked like you'd be a small baby (though of course, at 9 lbs 10 oz, you turned out to be the rough equivalent of 1.7 small babies). Mom was dilated 5 cm. I very stupidly translated that into inches and Mom was devastated to learn that you'd have to squeeze through a hole the size of a silver dollar. Thereafter Mom was given authorization to "push". The hospital personnel made "pushing" sound like a reward, I suppose for her being so good about refraining from pushing for the previous ten hours -- which, come to think of it, was when the doctor showed up -- funny that. Anyway, Mom was wheeled into the delivery room and the gorilla, doing his best "Pudge Rodriquez" impersonation (although back then it would have been a "Johnny Bench" impersonation), squatted behind home plate and started giving signals to the pitcher.

Mom was magnificent. At 12:39 she strained one last time and Pudge Magilla snagged (low and outside) a purple version of E.T. -- though, of course, no one had ever heard of E.T. before Steven Spielberg released his flick about the extra-terrestrial, but I digress. Then Pudge handed you to the delivery nurse who sucked out your nostrils, counted your toes and declared you a perfect "Apgar score". I had no clue what that meant, but I was thrilled nonetheless. (Though later, when I paid our hospital bill, I learned that a little jaundice might have saved us a few bucks, since our insurance didn't cover "well baby care". But still, the "well baby" was more than worth the bail.) As for your blue hue, that went away in a few minutes -- you just needed a few breaths to get those capillaries oxygenated. Also, your distended head rounded out nicely over the next few days (and thus, later in life you didn't have to go trick-or-treating being hauled around by Drew Barrymore and wearing a sheet -- good thing, too -- you were such a cute little candy-begging cowboy).

When the delivery nurse handed Mom her pretty little brand-new extra-terrestrial, she looked up and told me that even though I was wearing a surgical mask, she could tell I was smiling. She was right.

Happy birthday, Andy! (And please kiss our grandbaby for us.)


joyce said...

And we said, "Welcome to the world, Andrew !" Welcome to the world. Welcome to fatherhood--and we hope you enjoy your baby girl as much as we enjoyed every minute of your growing up. Love, mom

LadyBugCrossing said...

Awww... I love those stories!


Hula Doula said...

The celebrations of birth are what make my quest to be a doula the goal. I love birth stories. Now see here Bob, you're going to have all the ladies in tears if you're not careful.
Adorably sweet.....Welcome to the world Andrew (even if you are grown) and welcome to fatherhood...the adventure of a lifetime.