I wasn’t there to cover the commissioners’ meeting with the sheriff on the 2010 budget. Instead, I carried a reporter’s pad into St. Mary’s Hospital Sept. 2.
I guess it brought me some comfort to jot down the notable events. There’s sort of a helpless feeling for spectators in a hospital, but you can at least document what’s going on. And sometimes that can come in useful later when questions arise. So I scribbled such things as: started pitocin at 7:30 a.m.; epidural, 12:45 p.m.; water broke, 2:15 p.m.; 10 centimeters dilated, 3:50 p.m.
Jana spent much of the morning reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” She was very calm throughout the day, though she got the shakes really bad at times.
On the other hand I had not been calm, at least not for a couple of weeks as a heavy knot found a home in my stomach — the worry that comes with anticipation is hard to bear. But once the day arrived, I felt more at peace. I glanced at the mirror that morning and in my face, there was a hint of my grandfather. And I felt the first wave of real emotion, realizing that I was moving on that huge wave of generations.
We felt we were in a good place. Our nurse for the delivery, Angela Mullis, was excellent. And all the staff in the St. Mary’s maternity ward seemed attentive and professional. The facility itself is quite a sight. The maternity wing at St. Mary’s looks more like an upscale hotel than a hospital.
Of course, all of this is routine, at least statistically.
Count to seven and a child is born somewhere in this country in that time. There are 307 million of us in the U.S.
But who among us is a number? We are flesh and blood.
And numbers cannot tell our stories. A birth is never routine — especially not when it’s you.
Our time finally arrived.
And I stood by my wife as the doctor barely got her gloves on in time to catch our son, Noah, as he entered the world.
Ten minutes of pushing and there he was. He was 7 lbs. 2 ounces. He kind of whimpered before finally crying in full.
But he was OK. And the blessing in that is the greatest thing I know.
His 4-year-old big sister, Addie, hurried down the hall later that day to meet her brother. I wonder what her memory of that day will be. She recalls so much. Will she remember standing at the nursery window, waving at me from the other side as we watched his first bath?
We scribble for these pages each week, knowing the paper itself typically finds a less-than-glamorous fate: the old fish wrap, the liner for animal cages, the low-cost gift wrap. I’ve done this long enough to know that each issue floats away from us and is gone. The words that fill this space are wiped clean each week.
But they do remain in one way. Behind my desk in Danielsville are the old bound volumes of The Journal and The Comer News, stretching back to 1964. What did Mr. Jere Ayers have to say about the moon landing? Well, you can look it up.
I imagine my children cracking open those old bound volumes years from now to look up their own births. If this is that distant reader, an adult I can only imagine, I hope that I have fulfilled my promise to you. And, never forget, your father loves you.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.