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Twenty years of fatherhood

Twenty years ago today I became a father when our oldest son was born in the middle of the night (2:56 am). We were very young and married for only 10 months. We were broke because we bought a house when we got married. Each of us were working full time, and trying to establish ourselves in the world.

Therese called me at 4:00 in the afternoon on a Friday and asked me not to work late because she thought she might be experiencing labor pains. It was one of those weeks where I was more than happy to come home because I worked a lot of hours on a tough project hoping to meet some deadline before our new baby arrived. I was ready for my week long “vacation” (there was no such thing as paternity leave back then).

It was a nice warm day so we were able to take a short walk when I got home. We followed the instructions given to us by the doctor and waited to the contractions to get 10 minutes apart before heading to the hospital at 10:30. Sure enough the admissions people pushed us right up to the maternity ward and hooked Therese up to the contraction monitor machine. Captain Obvious (me) noted on several occasions when the contractions were starting, something I never mentioned to Therese during the other three births {g}.

During the contractions I watched the heartbeat of our son and how it would go from 120 to 60 beats per minute during the peak of a contraction. During one of the hard contractions I watched the heartbeat go flat line. So I did what any good husband would do, I panicked and screamed for the nurse who then calmly called out Stat-something or another, Code-something or another. I sat in a chair at the foot of the bed as a crew of doctors and nurses rushed the room (just like on the TV show ER or Grey’s Anatomy) calling out different observations and making guesses as to what was going wrong. They hooked up a probe to my son’s head to get more accurate readings. I felt myself passing out (not good with blood or bad medical news) so I put my head between my legs. At least I remembered proper first aid {g}. Sure enough the monitor was bad and needed to be replaced. So all night long I got hammered by every nurse and doctor as the dad who could not keep it together. I never passed out, but I did require some orange juice to keep it together. As you can see, my hatred for hardware even goes to the extent of the hospital equipment. Chris was born and was healthy (a blessing we took for granted). The doctor had some fun by letting loose blood from the umbilical cord. It splattered all over the very clean delivery room.

The next day I got to change my first diaper ever with my mom looking over my shoulder. I handled it like I had done two or three before. Today I could probably change one in my sleep as I have done so many times over the years. Actually it has been more than 10 years since I have changed one, but I am guessing it is like riding a bike. The key with boys as we learned the day we got home is to cover them up when you take off the old diaper. Twice on the first day we got to witness the fountain of urine {g}.

I have learned a lot about being a father in the last twenty years and know I have a lot to learn in the next twenty years. Today is another one of those chapters as my oldest daughter goes to her Senior Prom tonight. Now where did I store that Super Soaker? (not much into carrying a real gun around {g}). Actually the young man taking my daughter to the Prom is a nice guy and I figure this night should be no different than any other date they have been on except it is costing them a small fortune.

So Therese and I will celebrate our parenthood by taking a ton of pictures, calling Chris to wish him a happy birthday, and then going out to dinner. It will be much different than twenty years ago, but one thing will be consistent: I am exhausted after a long week of work trying to meet a deadline (but today is only Wednesday).

One Response to “Twenty years of fatherhood”

  1. Alex Feldstein
    June 6th, 2007 at 06:02 | #1

    Nicely told story. Congratulations are in order. Man you are getting old! (says somebody older than you).

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