Another year without blogging
2009 -- a year in which The Rag has been utterly neglected, and not for lack of anything to write about. The big news is that the son was born this year, a result of the wife's pregnancy that I mentioned in the previous posting. I really wanted to write about it when it happened and the memory was fresh, but that only would have made me even more sleep deprived.
My wedding anniversary happened to fall on President's Day this year, and I happened to have a job this year that let me take President's Day off. It was two days before the son's due date, and the wife had had quite enough of the whole pregnancy thing, but we still made plans to get out, have lunch at R.J. Grunts in Lincoln Park, and take a nice walk through the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
The traditional gift for the first anniversary being paper, I left home after breakfast to get some paper goods from the dollar store -- a deck of cards, a journal, construction paper. Upon returning home and presenting these gifts to the wife, we got ready to head out for lunch. At some point, the wife mentioned that there seemed to be something going on with the pregnancy. She wasn't quite sure, but maybe her water broke? She decided to call the doctor.
The wife made an appointment, but we still planned to go to R.J. Grunts afterward. She really, really wanted that salad bar, and whatever was going on with her body was probably nothing. False alarm. It could at least wait until after lunch! (Of course, you, the reader, know what happened. I mean, if her water hadn't broken, it wouldn't make a very interesting story, would it?)
And of course, as we entered the building where her doctor's office was, the floodgates opened. It should suffice to say that it was hardly necessary to get the doctor's opinion at that point. And R.J. Grunts would have to wait. However, there was one other thing that wouldn't wait.
Let's back up a few hours to when I was shopping for paper. As I was browsing the dollar store's collection of journals, my phone rang. It was Performers' Music, located in the Fine Arts Building on South Michigan Avenue, and they were calling to let me know my tenor recorder had arrived at long last! I could pick it up any time. I said I wasn't planning on being downtown that day, but I could stop by on my lunch hour the next day.
As the wife and I were leaving the doctor's office, I realized that there was no chance I'd make it to the music store the next day. Or any day that week, for that matter. But I had been waiting so long. I had ordered the instrument around New Year's, and the first one that was shipped was defective. Now it was waiting for me, just a few miles away, but the only way I was going to have it any time soon was if I picked it up right away. So yes, we drove down to the Loop, and I left the wife, whose water had just broken, in the car while I ran up to the ninth floor of the Fine Arts Building to pick up a recorder.
It was already late in the afternoon when we arrived at the hospital. The midwife was called, labor was induced. An exhausting twenty-six hours later, still not much progress. Cesarean, after all that. Sigh.
I joined the wife in the OR, and I don't know how I managed to stay conscious and upright. It was such an intense experience, I have a hard time organizing my memories of it. The wife was given an epidural that made her shake all over. There was activity behind a screen -- something I did not want to see. Then a baby crying. There he was over on the far side of the room being examined. My own tears obscured my vision. And then he was there in front of me, held up by a vague figure in scrubs. Wet. Hairy. Tongue quivering. Did I want to hold him? Are you kidding? Do I look like I'm in any condition to hold a newborn?
I'm sure everyone wonders, before their first child is born, what would their progeny look like? Would he have long eyelashes and thin eyebrows, or short eyelashes and bushy eyebrows? Short arms and long legs, or long arms and short legs? I had tried to create an image in my mind, but nothing I imagined came close to the real thing. The instant I first saw my son, wailing in the operating room, there was a flash of recognition -- this was my son, and he really did look like me, as much as a newborn could. My son. Wild.