Ramblings on the birth of my first child, a son.
I decided to listen to Lithium, the SiriusXM grunge station, that morning on our way to a wedding in Greeneville. It was the wedding of a student of mine from my first year. We were so excited, even if my wife, Amanda, was 38 weeks pregnant. We got all dressed up, hopped in our new ride (hence the satellite radio), and it was Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, STP, etc. all the way there. I'd had enough of the Beatles station at that point. I mean...satellite radio, am I right?
The wedding was beautiful, an outdoor setting of direct Tennessee sun on a humid June day. Oh! But the view! Mountains and valleys across and below this hilltop wedding locale. Then, the happy couple heads into the reception. The congregation waits for one last prayer. We stand and bow our heads. Amanda's water breaks.
We say nothing, but discreetly (in a hushed panic)...clean up! Call hospital! Car! Contraction! Closer and closer they come! One hour from the hospital (and that's doing 80-90)! Oh! My! God! Phone Calls to Parents! "We're on our way to the hospital! Baby's Coming!" What?!
It's 2 PM when we leave. It's 3 PM when we arrive at the hospital. It's 3:45 when we get to Labor and Delivery Triage. It's sometime later when we get to our Labor and Delivery Room. They finally let me in from the waiting room..."FUCKING HOSPITALS!" It's on! I'm wearing a shirt and tie and uncomfortable shoes.
Our first nurse is missing veins with the IV. The other nurse is on her way out, her shift is ending. Then, we get the angels from nursing school heaven. We are with them for the next few hours. Oh! The pain! The screaming! The epidural? YES!
I suppose at some point I got enough room to breathe to change clothes. Luckily, our hospital bags were packed and with us. I don't remember much about leaving the room to get the bags other than stopping by the waiting room to check in with my mom and Amanda's parents. Mom kept asking me a bunch of questions I didn't yet know the answer to. Amanda's Dad urged me to get on back! Now! Go!
I went, and then everything got somehow equal parts terrifying and calm. We were fully in labor. And quickly. The baby was coming fast! We never found out boy or girl! Excitement meets anxiety.
At some point, one of our nurses, the one with the Nawlins drawl said we could play some music if we want. I passed. We began pushing. Breathe! Scream! Push! 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10! This repeats often, not sure how time is passing, but it is. Music would be good, I think! It would be.
"What about some Beatles? Sgt. Pepper's?" Amanda nods. And we relax. And we Push! "With a Little Help from My Friends." And we relax. And we Push! "I got to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time. It can't get no worse." And we relax. And we Push! "I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in..." And we relax. And we Push! "Lucy in the sky-y with di-iamonds." And we relax! And we Push! (Skips "Within You Without You") And we relax! And we push! "When I get older losing my hair many years from now..." And we relax! And we push! "Lovely Rita Meter Maid, Lovely Rita Meter Maid" And we relax! And we push! "Now you know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall...I love to tu-urn you-ou o-on!" And we push! And we push! And the doctor comes in!
And Behold! My BOY! He who came into this world two weeks early on a Saturday night freight train.
Christopher Thomas “Kit” Powers
Born: June 2, 2018 at 9:21 PM
Weight: 6 lbs. 1 oz.
Length: 19 3/4 inches
Hairstyle: Black Mohawk
Cuteness: Sky’s The Limit (Our nurses love him!)
A couple weeks pass, and I'm a Dad now! In fact, I already celebrated my first Father's Day. My son is healthy and crying and breastfeeding and pooping and not sleeping at night, and it is an absolute joy.
And then I run across a simple fact, that this past Monday, June 25th, is International Beatles Day. I see this quote on my Facebook feed from Kurt Vonnegut:
"I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'."
How true! Life. Appreciating it. My Boy came into this world to The Beatles, listening to one of their many masterpieces. And I sang "Got to Get You Into My Life" to him the next day, "I was alone. I took a ride. I didn't know what I would find there..." Paul McCartney's upbeat, horn-heavy ode to realizing you've found exactly what you both wanted and needed. I sang it, a softer version, to Kit as he lay in my arms. He fell asleep. I cried softly, happy tears. Everything was right.
If that is not the power of art giving life, I don't know what is.