Monday, August 01, 2016

Oldest Son

Twenty-Six years ago today, Oldest son was born. Here is what I recall from the day.

We had been married almost ten months and were living in Holland, Pa which was far from everywhere. I had been working at Telesciences in Moorsetown, NJ and was 2 1/2 years into a 10 year stint. At the beginning of the summer I was put on a new project at work called CBU and CBU was shaping up to be a disaster. There were 4 of us on CBU and none of us were UNIX programmers. We used UNIX for our day to day tasks so we were familiar with it but none of us had written UNIX programs . Of course CBU was UNIX. Well SCO UNIX on PCs but that's a story for a different day. It seemed simple enough - take an established product running on high end HP UNIX machines and make it fit on 486 HP PC Towers.

I made a cartoon about it.



When the four of us sat down together for the first time we all said the same thing - "I thought you were the UNIX guy".  What we lacked in experience we made up in late nights until a software release at the end of the year. All I recall is dreading every evening at 7 PM in the office when the cleaning staff would come around with the vacuums.

We were working around the clock and I was exhausted.

The Chancellor's due date was 31 July which came and went like the many days before it with me sleeping next to the Chancellor in the heat of summer. They say a pregnant woman "glows" and well the Chancellor glowed too - like a furnace. It was like sleeping next to furnace.

Early in the morning of the 1st of August I awoke to find the Chancellor missing from bed and her marching around the condominium doing breathing exercises. It was still early and I was still trying to get some sleep when I heard "ught ohh - somethings happening somethings happening something happening" (Note: The Chancellor recalls this differently: She woke up to "somethings happening somethings happening something happening")

Her water broke.

There would be no going back now and CBU would have to wait.  Thankfully.

We started to get ready to get things moved over to the hospital for the main event. Packing, phone calls, etc when the rush to the hospital hit a snag.

We were young and broke and really didn't splurge on much but one thing we (and when I say we, I mean she) did buy the was a bit expensive, was a comforter set from the Spiegel's catalogue.  It was sheets, pillow cases, something called throw pillows and cylindrical fancy continental pillow with lots of frills.

The Chancellor wanted to bring the continental pillow with the frills and I was imagining the pillow after a medieval birthing process, blood stained and a worthless mess that we would end up throwing out rather than keep. I said no way. She said she wanted to take it.

It was a stand off. We "discussed it" a bit until she finally gave in. There would be no pillow.

Once admitted and in the maternity ward, we found that our Dr. had three women in labor at the same time and was feeding all of them the labor-inducing Pitocin. It was like a horse race. The Chancellor would be in the lead and headed to the stretch, then she would slow down. One of the other ladies would take the lead and so it went all morning.

She didn't care, she just wanted an epidural. 

The Chancellor was having difficulty with her vision and thought everything was too bright. She wanted sunglasses and the only thing we had were a colorful and cheap pair of drug store glasses I had that were too big for her.

She wore them anyway.

And that's how the anesthesiologist found her. Sunglasses. In bed.

He came in and asked a few simple questions including "Have you ever experienced numbness?"

For future reference, if you want an epidural, do not answer yes. The anesthesiologist left and said that he couldn't give an epidural in that case.

So there it was, no epidural.  No drugs.

The horse race continued into the afternoon until finally at around 6 we had a healthy baby boy. I'll spare you the medieval details but I will tell you he was 8lbs 2 ounce on 8-1.

I went out to the visitor's area and both my parents and the Chancellor's parents were there. I don't even think I said hello - just "It's a boy". That is were I really felt it. Seeing their faces light up. Technically he was my parents third grandson but first for the Chancellor's parents. I recall they were shocked at how little time labor was - of course they had just got there so for them it was short. For me, it had been a long day and even longer day for the Chancellor.

We hung out for a bit, grabbed a quick dinner somewhere close and then I went home.

I recall feeling holy. Separated out and close to God for some reason as I sat and home alone and tried to unwind before bed.