A thunderous explosion echoed through the summer night’s sky, as hues of bright yellows, greens, and reds illuminated the surrounding neighborhood. Candi and I sat on our front porch observing the impressive fireworks that burst above our usually quiet cul-de-sac.
Our neighbors had invited us over to help celebrate the 4th. From the looks of it, they had spared no expense in the matter. However, because Candi’s doctor had requested that she not overexert herself, we reluctantly declined the invitation.
We continued to watch the show from the confines of our cozy porch until late in the night when we both grew exhausted. We gathered our belongings and headed inside to call it a night. Within moments we managed to drift off to sleep even though the sounds of fireworks continued to fill the sky.
Hours later, a strong shove in my back awoke me from pleasant dreams. At first I was startled by the sudden impact, but that quickly subsided to the pain that I then felt. My back was aching! During this time I heard my wife say something, but I was still somewhat asleep and didn’t understand her words. Then as I saw her running to the bathroom, the words she yelled came in loud and clear. “GET UP! MY WATER JUST BROKE!”
“Oh no,” I thought, “this can’t be happening. Not now! It’s Saturday, not Tuesday. The C-section is scheduled for Tuesday. THIS IS NOT TUESDAY!” Needless to say, I now felt scared.
Forgetting the pain, I jumped from bed, not knowing what to do. A look of concern filled my face as I asked, “What do you want me to do?”
With a calm expression, she replied, “Go get me the phone and the number to the hospital.” Even though her water had just broken, she was not feeling any contractions, and because this was our first child, neither of us knew what to do.
After a short conversation with the nurse, Candi and I got dressed and loaded our bags into the car. While Candi sat patiently in the passenger seat, I attempted to refresh my ‘Nascar’ skills as I drove us to the emergency room. I was a nervous wreck, but she, on the other hand, was not.
She actually tried to hold my hand to reassure me that everything would be alright. She tried to hold my hand, that is, but couldn’t because I had the steering wheel in a death grip, as I lurched forward in the seat. I was so scared!
When we reached our destination, we made our way into the lobby. After a brief stay on the main floor, a friendly nurse took us to the Labor and Delivery level. This would serve as our home for the next couple of nights.
After a few long, frightening minutes, the doctor finally made his way in to check on the situation. He assured us that everything would be fine. Once he left, we made several phone calls to family members and friends to let them know that our precious ‘Emilee’ had decided to come early.
Because Candi had gone into labor three days before her scheduled surgery, her doctor was not available for the delivery. The doctor on-call would be taking care of her today, and he had decided to let her labor progress before he made a decision of what to do next. So we waited, and waited, and waited until finally, after 12 hours of labor, the decision was made that a C-section was the best way to go.
The moment had finally arrived. Candi was nervous, and I was scared. The nurses rolled her bed into the surgery room as my mother-in-law and I followed anxiously behind. As I sat near Candi, holding her hand, I could see the first look of fear that she had shown throughout the entire ordeal. Even though I was scared beyond belief, I knew that this was my time to comfort her.
In what seemed like mere seconds, I heard the happiest sound that I had ever experienced. As Emilee’s lungs filled with air, she let out one long cry, followed by several more that brought tears to my eyes. Those tears began to flow like a faucet when I finally took my daughter into my arms for the first time.
That happy day held many firsts for me. My first child, my first poo-poo diaper, and my first of many sleepless nights.
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