How Blue is He?
Waiting out in the hallway in the hospital, to be brought into a room where your wife is being sliced open, is a unique experience. My wife, Emily, was brought in for her scheduled c-section, to Mass General Hospital. As the doctors and nurses were prepping her in the surgery suite, some poor nurse was tasked with prepping me, in all my sweating nervous glory, in our private room, where we would be taken to after the birth. Getting me into scrubs and letting me know what to expect; sounds simple. Not even a little bit. I’m tall, and a big guy, this is clear to anyone and everyone…everyone except this nurse who hands me scrubs designed for an oompa loompah or a keebler elf. When I first tried to slip on those turquoise scrub pants, I got them to get up to my knees, then they began to split at the seams. Hulk sad. “Yeah, this isn’t going to work. Can I get anything a little bigger?” She rolled her big brown eyes at me, like I’m the asshole. Having a baby here, quite soon, calm it with the “I have to deal with this?” looks, and bring me some scrubs that have the word ‘large’ in them.
After the next ‘fitting’, everything seemed to be going a lot smoother. I had my scrubs on, tight, but what the hell, I figured I was only going to be sitting in there, holding Emily’s hand. They put a hairnet cap on me along with a white surgical mask as well; definitely the worst looking ninja costume ever. That was my thought anyway. The nurse left me to my pacing, for about another 2 or 3 minutes, then she came and told me it was time to head on in to the surgical suite. “Awesome, OK, yeah, let’s do that.” Apparently when you become a father, on that day, your IQ drops about 20 points and your ability to properly communicate reverts back to basically caveman grunting. So Nurse Ratched ushers me through the double metal doors into the surgical suite. I’m a mess, I’m like a drunken amnesia patient – losing all my bearings and don’t know what the hell is going on around me. I see giant, shiny, sharp surgical tools, and for some reason that starts to calm me. Because, in that moment I realized, I’m not going through this ordeal here, I’m here to help my wife. “Be strong, dummy. You’re going to be responsible for another person in about 30 minutes.”
I walked past the operating table, where my wife was laying with gowns all across her, leaving openings to show her beautiful belly. Then I saw her doctor pick up a scalpel, and shuffled my damn feet faster and put a hand up to cover my eyes, and stumbled my way into my designated seat, next to my wife. Her head was shrouded from seeing anything from going on by a large drape…but lucky me, I got the side angle view. So front seats to the C-Section Superbowl, and I’m pretty sure I was in the splash zone. I took Emily’s hand In mine and she said those three little words all women want to say once they get up on that table…”Gave me drugs!” Yep, she was in freaking la-la land. I gave her hand a little squeeze, and wiped some of her long brown hair out of her eyes for her.
“I don’t feel a thing!” Emily has a habit of being very loud whenever she is drunk, or apparently on heavy IV drugs as well. She wasn’t telling this to me or a doctor, just more announcing it to the room in general. She had worked as a nurse at the same hospital for many years up until that point, and knew almost everyone in the room.
“That’s good Em, but we haven’t begun yet. We’re just making our mark now, I’ll let you know when the doctor makes her first incision.” One of Emily’s friends from her floor that she worked on, I can’t remember her name…Sally, Samantha, Sandy….Bernard. Doesn’t matter; things were said.
“Here we go. How you doing Momma?” The surgeon took a moment to stop mid-incision and ask her question, and all that went through my mind was, “Are you…really?! Keep going or pull out first!”
“She’s talking to you, honey. You OK?” I squeezed her hand.
“I know! Don’t feel a thing!” She looked cute, even with matted hair and sweat beading her skin from basically having a tent erected upon her. That would have to rank up there as one of the worst camping trips, ever. Where did you guys camp? Emily’s womb…yeah…off season, really hot and sticky.
After some more cutting and prying open her stomach with some torture looking devices, (“Oh yeah, it doesn’t look that bad, at all. Really….”) they were finally ready to bring Alex Joseph Gesner into the world. Except I don’t think he was quite ready for them. I think he saw them and said “Nuh uh, I’m not done yet!” And held his breath like all little kids do until they get their way, because he came out blue.
“He’s out!” I said to Emily. My voice was already creaky.
“Why isn’t he crying? Is he OK?!” I knew she was going to ask that. Being all concerned…drugs must be wearing off. But I admit, I was watching the whole time, and man, he was very little, and very blue – purple. Then you see people start to scramble around the little guy, and hear a couple of words you never want to hear from a doctor holding your 30 second year old newborn.
“Ooohh! Phew!” I was about to spank that doctor on his ass. But I noticed Alex was started to get some color, so I looked at Emily.
“He’s getting pink now, I think he’s OK. He’s so beautiful. Definitely got your looks.”
“Wait…what color was he?!” In between questions, she told the anesthesiologist she was feeling a little queasy from the morphine.
“How blue was he?!” Now she was turning a nice shade of magenta.
“Oh God! Let me see him, please! Please!” Doctors were closing her up, so the nurses put Alex in his little tray, after swaddling him in his blue blanket first, and wheeled him over to us. I got to hold him first, since Em was still basically strapped into her tent. So then I put him back in his bin and I put him in between Emily and I. She looked lovingly at him, touched his bright blonde hair on his head with one gentle finger…and then threw up, all over him. All over him. Welcome to the world.