When I found out that my second child was going to be a little girl, my mouth went bone dry, my palms started sweating and my trigger finger began to twitch.
I was petrified.
“You’ll be fine,” people told me – unsure why my eyes were filled with terror.
I would just smile through the fear and whisper to myself, “I know. They’re right.” But deep down in places that I don’t like to talk about, I kept thinking to myself: “This little girl is going to be the death of me.”
Well…Ily Anabelle wasted no time giving me my first heart attack. She was delivered via emergency C-section in a flurry of events that I appropriately like to describe as “western.” After becoming distressed in utero, Ily’s birth went from “boring” to terrifying in a matter of seconds.
Before I continue, I want to jump to the end of the story. It’s important for everyone to know that Baby Ily is doing wonderfully great. She’s 10 days old and a little bit of a drama queen, but she is a healthy and feisty little bundle of love.
On the night of July 26, however, we thought we’d lost our little girl.
– – –
My wife, TK, had no trouble giving birth to our son, Crash. It seems like they broke her water and he popped right out. I barely remember anyone saying, “OK…now push!”
It was such an easy delivery, people joked about my wife giving birth to our daughter. My mom, who is a longtime nurse, said: “When Tanya goes…she’s going to go FAST!”
I had visions of TK giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital or me delivering Baby Ily at home with my son’s baseball glove and catcher’s mask.
So when my wife’s water broke while I was in Austin – 3 hours away – I told TK: “Give my daughter a kiss. I’ll meet her in a few hours.” Needless to say, I canceled my scheduled meetings in Austin and drove as fast as my 2001 Chevy pick-up would go back to Fort Worth.
As I was driving 90 mph – weaving in and out of traffic – I smiled and thought to myself: “Nothing like a little drama from a stinkin’ little girl.”
Confession: I was excited.
When I arrived at the hospital, there was a cheerful energy. My giddiness just added to the optimistic anticipation.
My folks were there. My sister and her kids, too.
No Baby Ily, though.
TK and the nurses worked hand in hand to ensure that I made it back into town before she was born. I was thankful and even more excited than ever.
“Let’s do this,” I said as I busted into the delivery room.
Well, Ily Belle wasn’t ready yet. So hours passed with not a lot of excitement. It was the typical hurry up and wait that you hear about in the delivery room.
At 10 o’clock, I regretfully said: “This is boring.”
The next update we received from the nurses – around 10:30 p.m. – indicated that it was going to be a LONG night. TK was still only dilated to 5 cm, which meant she probably wouldn’t start pushing for a couple hours.
“I could have driven back from St. Louis,” I said with a disheartening smirk as I kicked up my feet to watch the end of the Rangers game.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
I don’t want to pretend to know and/or understand what happened in the next 6 to 7 minutes, but it ended with four nurses pushing my wife out of the room on a dead run.
It’s a little blurry, but I remember snippets of dialogue between the nurses:
“We’re going to have to do a STAT C-section…”
“Are they ready….”
“We’ve got to go NOW!”
“Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!”
Tanya wasn’t receiving any information. I wasn’t getting any either. The nurses’ extreme sense of urgency and encrypted chatter had made us invisible.
The look on my wife’s face was sheer horror. Several days later, she confessed that she thought Baby Ily had died.
After the nurses bolted out of the door, leaving the delivery room eerily silent, I turned to my mom – the only nurse I whole-heartedly trust. I calmly said: “Tell me what’s going on, mom.”
“I’m not sure, honey.”
With those four and half words, fear raced through my veins.
My mouth went bone dry, my palms started sweating and my trigger finger began to twitch.
I didn’t know what to do – so I prayed.
Seconds seemed like hours.
Minutes were a lifetime.