Most every year around this time I like to share the story of the birth of our firstborn. The birth of each of our children has its own special story, but my son Curtis just had a birthday on February 13th so it is his turn to be remembered in this birth blog.
Thirty-eight years ago my wife and I were anxious parents-2-be expecting our first. We had already made a few typical false alarm trips to the hospital (aka Braxton Hicks practice contractions), but on February 13th, 1986 it was the real deal and life would NEVER be the same.
READY SET GO... At 12:30 a.m. on February 13th, 1986 my wife and I had just headed off to bed for a long winter’s nap. At about midnight I arrived home from working the evening shift at my job and was off to bed with my fully 9 months pregnant wife Mary. Before I could even fade into sleep Mary exclaims “My water broke, or I just peed the bed.” So off to the races we headed for the birth of our child #1.
BUT FIRST... We had to stop for gas as I had not planned on this midnight run to the hospital all while Mary’s contractions were kicking into gear.
NOTE TO SELF: Keep the gas tank full when babies are near the due date.
So we arrive at the hospital ( I ran a few red lights just for added high drama) and the nurses get us settled into our room and notify our doctor. Mary is then hooked up to all sorts of monitors including this cool baby monitor that measures the strength of her contractions. COOL.. something for me to watch over the next hours.
OVER THE NEXT HOURS... The contractions come and go.. the doctor visits and early on can give Mary the drugs of choice to calm the pains. I remember after several of the contractions where Mary seemed to be hurting especially bad I said to her... “That one was not really that bad it was only a 4 on the monitor.” Shortly later I found out the monitor strap had come loose and was not measuring accurately.
NOTE TO SELF: Do not think 'out loud'.
BIRTH CLASS IN ACTION: Mary and I had attended the birthing classes, so I knew to hold her hand and to coach her breathing. The problem was Mary preferred to hold the nurse's hands because they were cooler to the touch, and at one point during my breathing she said... “Quit breathing in my face.”
NOTE TO SELF: Quit breathing??
MORE DRUGS .. PLEASE: So the hours move along and it is early morning around 4:30 when Mary pleads with her doctor for more drugs.. but the doc says nope.. too late.. no more drugs for you. At least I was smart enough at this point to not repeat the doctor’s words. I just sat quietly supportive.
NOTE TO SELF: Plead Mary’s case for drugs as a sign of being supportive, and ask for some for me as my back is killing me.
THINGS ARE GETTING INTENSE: Around 8 a.m. the pains are strong, but the process seems to have stalled a bit. So while Mary is in her ‘painful’ holding pattern, the morning breakfast cart rolls around. They peek in and ask sheepishly... “Breakfast anyone?” There is a momentary silence.. then I finally say... “Yes, I think I could eat something.”
NOTE TO SELF: Next time shout, can’t you see my wife is in labor, and then meet the cart in the hallway for a secret snack under the guise of chewing them out.
So the process continues as I eat breakfast and between bites of food call to my wife with my mouth full.. “push”.. and “remember your breathing.”
FOR UNTO US, A CHILD IS BORN: Finally around 10:00 a.m. a child is born and they shall call his name .. Curtis Walter Larson.
He is healthy, a bit cone-headed but a keeper. After the usual initial checks and I get to cut the cord from 'mothership' Mary we head back to our private room where the three of us mom, dad, and new baby Curt.. all lying in the same bed.
And around 12:30 early that afternoon, baby Curt is asleep, I am asleep (and snoring) while Mary lies wide awake with the adrenaline rush of her life.
NOTE TO SELF: I don't know what Mary thinks BUT.. this giving birth thingy is exhausting!
So there you have it, BIRTH FROM ONE MAN’S PERSPECTIVE. Now 37 years later we have a son Curtis Walter Larson who has given us both our share of joy and exasperation.
NOTE TO SELF: God is good, Mary is wonderful, and Curtis is a son to be proud of.
32 years!? It seems like almost yesterday.
A whole lotta life can be lived in these past 32 years. 32 years is a ride filled with precious moments and a few potholes. This describes my last 32 years, and I would never trade them.
It was just over 32 years ago my lovely daughter Erin entered planet Earth via spaceship mom. Ok, bad analogy.. my wife Mary was pregnant but not as big as a spaceship. BUT I DIGRESS.. after a high-risk pregnancy including 5 1/2 months on bed rest Erin entered this world in a rush about 10 weeks early and weighed in at a lean mean 3 lbs. 13 oz.
As you can imagine Mary being on bed rest for 5 1/2 months, with 2 preschoolers running around the house while I was working full-time was stressful and exhausting. But we were so blessed with a good family, a church, and friends that were truly PRICELESS in getting us to the finish line.
D-DAY ( or B-DAY) February 5, 1991: So just after just getting home around 9pm from the hospital visiting Mary with our two boys, I put the boys to bed, and the phone rang. It is the hospital informing me I better get back right away if I want to see the birth of my daughter. I did, so I did.
So I get the boys up, rush them over to Mary’s sister’s house (she lived 2 blocks from the hospital), and arrive in time to be with my wife. Since Mary’s due date is not for another 10 weeks the doctor expounds great words of wisdom for the day... “Don’t push too hard or you might shoot your baby across the room.” Ya gotta like a doctor with a sense of humor.
So unto us an 'Erin' is born, around 11:30 pm with no complications except that she is only 3 lbs 13 oz. After an initial exam, she is given her first ambulance ride to the Children’s Hospital NICU in St Paul where they specialize in care of preme-babies. WHEW! Glad they did, cuz I did not.
After a short time, at a Children's Hospital Erin came home to be with her brothers, and our family never looked back.
We have so many memories of Erin as a little girl, then off to school, and even those dreaded teen years.. that makes us both smile and cringe.
No manual prepared this dad for teenage girls... THEY SCARE ME!
Now fast forward 32 YEARS from 1991 and our little girl is is a wonderful mom for her soon to be 2 year old son Ira Tyron McDonough. Grandma Mary and I now enjoy our many visits as they only live a few miles away.
So those are my 32 years, these are Erin's 32 years and we both are ready for the next 32 (yikes that would make me 97) filled with more precious memories and the accompanied potholes that are all so priceless and a gift from God.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
Jeff (proud daddy and granddaddy) Larson
I mention often we live in a society where crass is considered clever, profane is provocative, and Christian Values are considered hate speech. One obvious example of our profane society is this world believes the all-purpose F-bomb or mother F-bomb is a trendy adjective.
While the F-bomb may be today's most popular profanity there are too many to list other profanities used by the masses. The point is the use of profanity is ‘dumbing down’ our communication skills. Hip-hop lyrics, comedians, emphatic politicians, and rush-hour drivers feel the need to blurt profanity to make their point.
note: Studies have proven an individual's IQ is lowered by 15 points every time they use the F-Bomb
-follow the science-
Note: Even Assyrian Captains from the Old Testament struggle -->
Confession: While my vocabulary is not a clever plethora of profanities, or compares with above mentioned Assyrian Captain neither would I describe it as a pristine mountain stream.
And... I am surprised how we Christians blend into this profane world.
We are called to be salt and light, but we curse, rage, and drink like the world. We laugh at jokes, watch movies, and use language that does not honor God.
This world is like the BORG (from Star Trek) and the church is being assimilated.
This is not a guilt trip it is a gut check!
So join me on a ‘PROFANITY DIET’. You know.. at least cut back on our blue cloud of words emissions.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things... Phil 4:8.
We don’t need to use an 'okely dokey' vocabulary like Ned Flanders on the Simpsons, or sound like Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, BUT neither should we be confused with the sailor on shore leave.. unless you are Popeye. Popeye is cool, just sayin'.
To be certain no one is going to Hell or even made to stand in the corner by God for blurting out words only 4 LETTERS LONG.. but the next time you are cut off on the road let your words be few and your actions honor God.
May God find us to be Salt and Light rather than assimilating into our Crass Culture. And for those who do not struggle with '4 letter words' I commend you.
Jeff (sometimes 'blurting' in the Back Pew) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson