Father@FortyOne #10 – “Welcome Son”

“Kenny?” my wife said as she came back into our room.  The bathroom light filled the dark hallway.

It’s a difficult task to wake me from a deep sleep.  I use a machine and mask to help me combat sleep apnea and when I am under its spell, there’s very little the non-sleep world can do to bring me back from the void but pleasant world of REM sleep.  No dreams exist.  No body movement.  Nothing but me, a mask, and a machine.

“Kenny, wake up!” she said again, with a bit of joy in her voice.

The only thing that’s been preventing me from staying in REM-sleep world on a regular basis lately is the lady that shares the other side of my bed.  Over the past couple of months there have been many sleepless nights due to frequent trips to the bathroom through the night as well as crying and groaning from the pain of pregnancy after the age of forty.  No matter how tired I am, and I am EXTREMELY tired, my heart goes out to my wife who I admire for carrying our child and it’s difficult for me to settle into a good “machine” sleep.

“I think my water just broke!” she said excitedly as I slowly rolled over and pressed the button to shut off my apnea machine.  I unclipped the mask, and my eyes tried to focus on the digital alarm clock in our room.  The red numbers came in and out of a blur, and I realized why it was so difficult to come to… it was 2:18 AM.

“Are you sure?” I said as I sat up rubbing my hair.  We had already gone to the hospital a few days earlier with some false labor and I know both of us didn’t want to go through that again.  Our hopes kept getting dashed that the blessed day would arrive.  We would walk around a mall, or the city park, Wal-Mart, or Target… she would have big contractions but the minute we stopped walking, so did the big contractions.  I bet we walked at least ten miles over the weekend.  I mentioned I was tired, right?

“I’m pretty sure about this Hon!” she said.  Even though I knew my wife was in unfamiliar territory with her water breaking (because her water didn’t break with either one of the girls), she seemed to have a “my-pain-and-suffering-is-going-to-be-over-soon” tone to her voice.  Now that I look back, it was kind of cute.

“Alright… I’ll get the girls up.” I said as I shuffled down the hall.  They both were about as easy to get us as I was, but we managed to throw on some clothes and get Mrs. Waddles down the front steps and into the car.  We really were prepared for weeks.  Bags for everyone as well as every possible media type (photos, video, laptops, etc.) were already in the trunk of the car.  We just needed to load up the two stars of the show and get moving.

Running on adrenaline and a fear of deer breaking through the tree line at any given moment going down interstate 44, our family prayed for safety as we traveled down the road toward Missouri Baptist hospital.  We talked about the date for our child’s birthday… 11/7/11.  Seven eleven.  I instantly thought of Slushies and Beef Jerky.  Mmmmmm jerky.  Shake it off Kenny!  Eyes on the road fella!!  We reached the hospital in about 45 minutes because there is no traffic at that time in the morning.  Only truck drivers, highway patrolman (Shout out to my buddy Phil!), and husbands racing their pregnant spouses to their hospital of choice are on the road at that ungodly hour of the morning.

Parents were called, already existing children shuffled off to the waiting room to set up camp, water was boiled, clean towels were found… we were going to have a baby!  Dawn got an epidural, but not from her favorite anesthesiologist Dan, so it didn’t take as well as she wanted.  Her left leg was completely numb to the point that she couldn’t move it at all.  We talked about re-enacting the scene from Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby stuck a knife in his leg just to help time pass, but the nurse shot me the ol’ stink eye so we decided to just concentrate on the whole labor thing.  They started her up on pitocin (Oxytocin) to get things moving along… and then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

While we waited, I set up my laptop in the delivery room and gave a few updates on Facebook about the progress.  Although it was just Dawn and I in the delivery room… I felt like we had a hundred close family and friends encouraging and praying with us through the process.  A lot of people are hesitant to share their lives, sometimes very intimately, on Facebook or Twitter but I can honestly say it was an uplifting experience having all of you available when we needed you.  I wanted to share this moment because it’s rare and special and something we couldn’t do 5-10 years ago.

The experience finally reached its apex at 4:53PM.  I served as encourager, numb left-leg manager, audio-visual guy, photographer, social media updater, and crying husband as Kenneth Ray Hoff, III took his first breath and proved how healthy his lungs really are.  He had dark hair, ten fingers, ten toes… and all the needed equipment to be a boy (thanks God!).  He entered our world perfectly and as they wiped off his old experience and swaddled him into his new situation I smiled and said, “Welcome son.”  :)

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2 Responses to Father@FortyOne #10 – “Welcome Son”

  1. Phil Hoffman says:

    I think it is a wonderful thing how you share your experiences on your blog. Your kids will truly appreciate reading about them in the future. Oh, and thanks for the shout out in this one!
    I love you like a brother. Take care.

  2. De Babes says:

    Dad, I think you love bubby for his little noises and the fact you have someone to play bleh bleh with! lol love ya!

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