Most every year around this time I like to share the story of the birth of our first born. The birth of each of our children have their 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 six 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. 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 was for gas as I had not planned on this midnight run to the hospital all while Mary’s contractions were kicking in to gear.
NOTE TO SELF: Keep gas tank full when babies are near 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 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 as it is 1986 living in a land before smartphones.
OVER THE NEXT HOURS.. The contractions come and go.. the doctor visits and early on is able to 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'.
OUR BIRTHING CLASS IN ACTION: Mary and I attended birthing classes, so I knew to hold her hand and to coach her breathing. Problem was Mary preferred to hold the nurses 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??
THING 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 at 7:00 a.m.. 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 cart in hallway for a secret snack under the guise of chewing them out.
So the birthing process progresses as I eat breakfast and between bites of eggs and sausage I call to my lovely wife words of encouragement 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 36 years later we have a son Curtis Walter Larson who is all grown up, married and with 2 kids of his own. "It is.. as the 'prophet Mufasa' was known to say.. "the circle of life."
NOTE TO SELF: God is good, Mary is wonderful, and Curtis is a son we are very proud of.
Jeff (birthing expert) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson