The last post was how I found out I was going to be a daddy the first time. Here’s what happened the next time.
My wife got mono. She’d had it as a kid. It came back in her twenties. She had it again. I found out that once you get mono, it never really goes away. It lies dormant, and when you least expect it…BAM! You’re on your butt for a week barely able to stay awake. So for a week, my wife spent most of her time sleeping. We would come home from work, and she’d lie on the couch. I’d wake her for dinner, and then she’d pass out. Then, I’d wake her for bedtime…you know, so she could get some real sleep!
One night, during that week, I had a dream. It was a boring dream, mostly. The exception being that it was vivid and very detailed. Most dreams are ethereal and vague. You’re in a house, that you know is your house, but when you try to remember the details of said house, either you can’t, or it just doesn’t look anything like any house you’ve ever been in. At least, that’s how most of my dreams are. Not this one, though. We were walking down a boardwalk and my wife turned to me and asked if I could change the baby’s diaper. I wheeled the stroller off to the side and proceeded to change his diaper.
The baby boy looked directly into my eyes and smiled. He had brown hair; fine with a cowlick on the top of his head. He looked like a miniature version of me. There was something in the way he looked at me. It was like he knew something. I had no way of knowing what that was…but his grin stuck with me for days afterward.
The tiredness faded and soon she was able to join me in public again. Then…the weirdest thing started happening. Kids were attracted to my wife like a magnet. Anyone that knows my wife, knows this was not the norm. Every single grocery cart we passed that had a kid in it; they stared at her. It got eerie after awhile. She would walk away and these kids would crane their necks to watch her.
A few days later, we were at the store and walked by the display of pregnancy tests. I told my wife she ought to go grab a box. She looked at me and raised an eyebrow. She asked why.
“Because I think you’re pregnant.”
She asked what made me think that. l laid out the facts. “You’ve been so tired lately. Kids are just vulturing around you, like NONSTOP. And…I sorta had this dream.” So, she humored me. We bought the test went home and within a few minutes of walking in the door, we were going to be parents again!
I wish I could say that we were filled with unrestrained joy and exuberance. I wish I could tell you that we went straight out and pronounced it to the world. But we didn’t. The sting of losing Peanut was still there. We were afraid of getting too happy about it, for fear that it would be taken away from us again. So we sat quiet for a couple of months. Then we told a few people, and slowly it leaked out to everyone that we were pregnant again.
“Honey! I think something’s wrong with the baby!”
I woke up instantly. It was a Saturday morning and my wife’s voice was coming from the water closet. I ran in, not expecting to see so much blood everywhere. She looked up at me and for a second I froze. The world stopped and all I was aware of, was the buzzing in my head. My nerves were firing non-stop followed by an adrenalin dump of epic proportions. If there had been a car nearby that needed lifting…I could have done it. Within a matter of seconds I was dressed and running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off.
It went something like this. Bedroom. Bathroom. Bedroom. Living Room. Bedroom. Bathroom. Bedroom. Bathroom. Bedroom. Living Room. Kitchen. Living Room. Dammit. Kitchen again. Bedroom. Living Room. Front door. FRAK! Car keys! Living Room. Car.
I was calm…but frantic. I wasn’t outwardly freaking out. Inside I was a scared little boy wishing the monster away. We got her cleaned up and dressed. We grabbed our phones and were en route to the hospital. I would have stabbed a nun to have one of those red lights the cops in the 70’s always used. But alas, I didn’t. We made calls so they would know we were on our way. And I hauled as much butt as my Honda would let me.
Once in the Emergency room, we were treated to a nurse who was obviously in love with the doctor. He was smooth, confident, and came across like a dude with all the answers. I could see why she was smitten…just wished she would shut up about the guy. When he began his exam, I watched his eyes open wide in shock. He stared for a second. I began crying when he muttered, “There’s…just…so much blood.”
He ordered the nurse to bring a portable ultrasound unit into the room at once. Shortly, they rolled it in, and he began examining our son. I was separated from my wife by the curtain. It was the only way I could get into position to see the screen to see what the doctor saw.
I watched my son die.
The image on the screen was grainy, but you could see his little body kicking around. He convulsed a few times and then stopped completely. Hot tears poured down my cheeks as I prayed. “Not again. Not again, God. Why would You do this to me?! Please, no. Please…” I prayed harder than I thought possible. I prayed through the anger of watching my son’s final kicks. Then, I realized that the doctor had just paused the image so he could look at a few things. The lightheaded feeling began to wane and I no longer felt like passing out. Relief flooded me and I was overjoyed to see the little dude kicking around in there. I emphatically spoke to him under my breath, “Keep fighting dammit! You keep fighting! Do NOT leave us! We need you. I need you. Please, don’t leave us.”
He finished the exam and looked at us. The doctor noted that there was a massive amount of bleeding, and that’s never good. He didn’t think that the baby was going to make it, but at the same time, he said there’s always hope. So he told us to go home. That’s is. No magic words of wisdom. No medicine to make it all good. He just straight up told us to go home and wait. We drove home in stunned silence.
Then my wife said, “He’s going to be okay. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him. I just don’t feel like he’s in danger.”
That was the life-preserver I needed! And she was right too. The pregnancy was rife with tribulations. She was on hospital bed rest for 5 weeks followed by another 4 weeks at home for fear of pre-term labor, only to have to be induced. Followed by an emergency C-Section because the little fart didn’t want to come out!
He looked right at me.
They called me into the O/R and just as I was getting settled for a long surgery they pulled our son out and started cleaning him off. I was shocked at the speed. So was he. After they got him cleaned up, I cut the umbilical cord and he was screaming. I leaned down, “Hey buddy! I’m so glad to finally meet you.” He stopped crying instantly. Eyes squinted against the harsh light; he looked at me. I melted. When I looked up, the three nurses were staring at me. One finally commented on how she’d never seen that happen before. I told her, “It’s okay. We know each other already. We just hadn’t met yet.”
So, now he’s a rambunctious 20 month-old and we’ve got another on the way. But that’s a story for another day.