Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

She's Having My Baby

by Robison Wells
(Fellow blogger Sariah Wilson has been absent lately, giving birth. This got me thinking about the birth of my first kid.)

About 43 hours after Erin, my wife, went into labor, the doctor entered the small hospital room to join the nurses. He checked a few things, read a few computer screens, and gave the long awaited command: “Push.”

Erin was six days past due, and my daughter, when she finally emerged and was laid on the scale, was a hefty nine pounds and four ounces. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant couple of days for Erin (especially when, twenty minutes after he’d told her to push, the doctor was called away to an emergency–which was not only in a different room, but in a different hospital altogether. He told Erin to quit pushing, and sit tight, and he’d be back as soon as he could. It would be three more hours before Holly was born.) I could write volumes dedicated to mothers, and the sacrifices that they make, and the pain they go through and it would never be enough to fully capture the magnitude of motherhood. But those books will have to wait because, while Erin was breathing and pushing (and waiting), and then breathing and pushing again, I was realizing, much to my horror, joy, and more horror, that I was going to become a dad.

The thing is, my dad really knew what he was doing. Of course, when I was in high school we didn’t always see eye to eye and I figured that I could give him a few pointers here and there, but, in the end, it always turned out that he was right. When I was little he’d play softball with me; when I was dating he’d offer sound advice (and be much more understanding than anyone else); when I was on my mission, he buoyed me up with wisdom and counsel.

And the sad fact of the matter was that there I was, a new father, and I wasn’t good at softball, couldn’t impart of any advice to speak of, and was seriously short-handed when it comes to wisdom.

I think that the following story illustrates the extent to which I was unsuitable parent material: Holly was about eight hours old, and my wife and I, sitting in the hospital room and letting the profound impact of this life-changing child settle in, became acutely aware that Holly needed a diaper change. So, since it was easier for me to clean her than to have Erin do it (since standing up was not too high on Erin’s wish list at the time), I attempted my first diaper change.

I took off Holly’s diaper. The thick, tar-like maconium was everywhere, and I began the odiferous task of wiping her up. And then, while lying on her back, Holly started throwing up. I had no idea what to do. Obviously, throwing up while lying on her back would make her choke, so I had to move her somehow, but her diaper was off and she was covered in...well, you know. I stared for what seemed like hours (but was only actually a few seconds), frantically asking Erin for suggestions, and she struggled to get up off of the hospital bed to help me. Finally, I realized that having Holly be messy would be better than having her choke, so I picked her up and held her straight. Whereupon, she proceeded to pee all over the floor.

So, I did what every inexperienced father would do: I rang for the nurse. But I didn’t just ring for the nurse, and pressed the button about twenty five times, and called for help, and prayed that she would come quick. Because here I was, holding a very messy baby, and I had no idea what to do.

Let me repeat: No idea. None at all. I knew that, somehow, the nurse would come in the room and the baby and the bassinet and the floor would all magically be clean, but, honestly, the thought never popped into my head that maybe I should wash the baby off.

Now, Erin knew that. That needs to be completely understood, because if I implied, in this widely read blog, that my wife was a panicky, unknowledgeable mother, I would be sleeping on the couch until, perhaps, the Second Coming. Yes, Erin knew that the baby needed to be cleaned off, and I imagine that she probably even knew how to clean her. But she never got a chance because the nurse came scurrying into the room to save the life of whoever was having a heart attack.

I don’t think it needs to be said that the nurse wasn’t too pleased when she learned that the emergency was: The baby is messy.


At 6/05/2007 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob recycles because he cares about the environment.

At 6/05/2007 9:06 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

That was quite a Heinlein-esque ending, Rob. =P

At 6/05/2007 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

too funny rob

At 6/06/2007 8:23 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

You made me laugh out loud.

At 6/06/2007 9:51 AM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

HA! loved it. I never changed the diaper while in the hospital. After all . . . I had a couple of years of it ahead of me. There was no point in jumping in.


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