Mystic Writer

Peeking out to see if there is a real world out there...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Small wonder

I'm working from home today as my son has the day off from school and I didn't find time to arrange for child care. I had been working for a couple hours when he finally woke up and wandered into my bedroom. He stated "I can't see anything", so I got up and turned off the bright lights I use when my bedroom is my office. I asked "How about now?", and he replied "Nope. Still can't see...". I looked at his scrunched up face and queried "... and that is because...?", smiling because I knew what was coming. He held back a giggle "My eyes are closed!", and with that he fumbled forward, bumping into my bed and worming his way under the covers.

I climbed in with him, as I've done for the last seven years, and, as expected, he asked me to tell him a story. When he was little, I used to make up stories about him in fantastical situations. We even created two imaginary books titled "The boy in bed" and "The boy on the road", and I would always pretend to search for the appropriate book when he wanted a story. The bed book was always available, but the road book was only available when we were traveling, which was just a convenient way for me to get him to go on drives with me.

The imaginary stories stopped being of interest a couple of years ago, and now he likes to hear true stories of his life, and this morning he wanted to hear his birth story. It's a story I love as well, though for reasons far beyond the story he likes to hear, and someday I'll have to try to write those reasons, but today I think I'll simply write the story as I've told it so many times to my little boy.

A bit more than five weeks before my sons due date, Elsa was scheduled to spend a long weekend at a cabin with friends, and I was going to drive several hundred miles to go camping with Henry and Reb. Up till then the pregnancy had been completely normal, and so we really didn't think anything about our plans. Elsa called me at work and told me she had an odd feeling, and she was going to go to the hospital with a friend just to be safe, and that she would call me if there was anything to worry about.

News came quickly after that, and all of it was good. There wasn't any sign that there were problems with the pregnancy, and the odd feelings had gone away, and when Elsa asked whether we could pursue our weekend plans, the doctors had said "Probably". Elsa and I discussed it, and just as we decided to go ahead and travel, the odd feeling came again, and she returned to the hospital.

I met her there, and again there wasn't a diagnosable problem, but the staff was worried and so they had her stay overnight for observation. I stayed with her till the wee hours, then went home to sleep. They kept her in the hospital Saturday, and in the evening they told us they thought my wife was going to deliver. The doctor stopped by and told us that if the baby was born so premature, the baby wouldn't have full lung, kidney, or muscle development. The doctor made it sound very dire, and Elsa and I were filled with fear.

Sunday passed without event, and late Sunday night they told me that they would release her Monday if things still looked OK. Elsa encouraged me to go to work Monday morning to get things in order, even though it was a holiday "just in case", and so Monday I drove the 40 minutes to work at 5am.

An hour later, I finished some work on a server and was just reconnecting it when the phone rang. It was Elsa in a panic "The doctor says we have to deliver this baby NOW!". I was scared, but I truly wanted to be there, and so I asked "Can they wait for me to get there", and Elsa said "No - the doctor is saying it's an emergency", and without any more explanation she hung up. I ran out of my office to my car, and hit the road. I made the 40 minute drive to the hospital in 18 minutes - I remember flying through a 35 mph interchange at near 80 mph - the roads were completely empty as it was 6am on a holiday.

When I arrived, the doctor was there and had changed her mind, wanting some additional tests, and so we whiled away the morning watching TV and napping, till suddenly the doctor rushed in and said that we had to induce labor immediately. After that, things went remarkably quickly - labor was short athough extremely intense, and my memory of the time comes in strobe like flashes. I remember Elsa telling the doctor she needed to rest for a bit, and I remember the doctor getting an incredibly frustrated look on her face and saying "This baby is coming out NOW" through gritted teeth, and suddenly I heard a single tone coming from the computer screen that was monitoring my sons vitals, and I looked and saw all the traces flatline. I had this horrible feeling my baby was dead, and the doctor grabbed a suction device and inserted it, and all the sudden there was my tiny little son slithering out.

The doctor held him for a moment, and handed him to a nurse. My son opened his eyes and mouth, let out an incredible yell, kicked the nurse hard, then urinated on her. The doctors tension fell away, and a wondering look came to her face, and with a proud tone said "Well, I think he just proved us wrong about the lungs, kidneys, and muscles".

Amazingly, my son has never had any troubles resulting from being 5 weeks early, and in fact he was at his optimal birth weight when his 'scheduled' birth date finally arrived.

From the moment he was born, to the moment I saw him about 5 minutes ago, when he asked me what we were going to do for lunch, he has been a wonder and a miracle, and with that I'm off with him to a restaurant.


  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger Bob-kat said…

    I guess he knew when he was ready for his entrance tot he world even if the doctors didn't think he was!

    Hope you had a good dinner!

    Netchick sent me over for what is becoming a weekly visit :)

  • At 3:08 PM, Blogger Sleepypete said…

    Wow :-) That's one hell of a birth story. Good to hear it's turned out ok and the reason for "I can't see" would have dragged a big grin out of me :-)

    Netchick sent me today

  • At 4:48 PM, Anonymous colleen said…

    I love this story! It's very moving and makes me want my sons to be little again or my grandson to be a little older, old enough for a good story.

    I was tense but it all worked out. Netchick told me to come.

  • At 9:53 PM, Blogger David said…

    great stuff Kids are a miracle.
    yours is extra special. you are blessed

  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Mr. Althouse said…

    You have a wonderful way of keeping your readers interested and riveted. Many might tell that story in just a paragraph and, although no less profound, it certainly doesn't take the reader through the emotional roller coaster you actually experienced. No small trick - well done. And congratulations, my youngest of three sons is now 19 and leaving for boot camp soon, but when he and his brothers were younger... well, I just miss those days sometimes.

    Tanya sent me,


    And thanks for your thoughtful comment on my blog yesterday.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger David said…

    i did some kayaking - about 3 miles and at about 40f with a bit of a breeze

    being outside is always good
    glad you had a nice hike

  • At 8:58 PM, Blogger craziequeen said…

    Hi MW, Netchick sent me to read more entertaining tales of your boy.

    Perhaps the 'odd feeling' was him knocking on the door of life, trying to tell you he was ready to take a more active role :-)


  • At 6:22 AM, Blogger rashbre said…

    Wow - quite a story and quite an entrance to the world! Very well told , too!


  • At 6:38 AM, Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said…

    fine story, and a great entrance!

    NetChick sent me here.

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Bob-kat said…

    I love that you tell lie in bed with him and tell stories. Even to me that sounds cosy and safe :)
    Netchick sent me back but I was happt to come :)

  • At 8:09 PM, Blogger Carmi said…

    Tanya sent me tonight, and I'm so glad she did. Your experience with your son is so relatable - our son was born prematurely, and those feelings of terror you describe so eloquently are so familiar to me as well.

    We are so thankful that everything worked out in our case as well. Miracles really do happen.

  • At 12:27 AM, Blogger Snaggle Tooth said…

    What a great story to tell your son, so he knows how lucky he is!

    My two girls are grown with two kids of their own each now. Birthdates all have an intersesting story that is never forgotten by the parents, n each is important n unique. It's such a dramatic n traumatic event in our lives. Thanks for sharing.


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