Baby Boy

Jan 6, 2003

Cambell Ray Wootton
I got in my truck on Saturday morning and noticed something interesting – something very interesting indeed. There were two indiscreet towels laying upon the passenger seat. One was blue. One was yellow. They were hand towels – the kind of towels that float about every house, visiting the bathroom on occasion. Why were they in the truck?

The answer was very simple but the answer, you see, elicited a nearly jarring response. The memories of the last few days came rushing back
in a whirl.

New Year’s Day was just about perfect. It was my kind of day. The wife and I slept in until almost 10:30 am. It was raining outside when we woke – the type of rain that glazes the sunlight into grey. The light that did steal its way through the bedroom curtains barely rustled one eyelid, much less two. A good breakfast preceded a very slow day around the house. The wife and I went our separate ways to do our separate things. I warmed up my Xbox for a Superbowl in Madden 2003 and my GameCube for a little special time with Metroid Prime.  The wife went on a bit of an organization binge,clearing out her space under the Christmas tree and straightening wherever she went (it seems that this activity has a name: nesting). The day passed just as a rainy day should: nice and easy. I didn’t even shower until just after I completed a rather long blog entry. We went out to dinner at the TV filled Glory Days Grill and returned home in time to catch a random flick on digital cable.

It was then that my life changed.

A call rang out from the bathroom. “Ken, I think my water broke.”  Your what? That couldn’t be. The wife wasn’t due until January 31st, nearly a month away. Her OB was on vacation, visiting family in California.

But the trickle on her legs was unmistakable. The activities that followed shot by in a flash. Call the hospital. Let the dog out.  Gather my clothes with her’s, which were already neatly packed.  Grab the cameras. Call the grandparents-to-be. Get some things to do – surely this will take a while. Where’s the car seat?  Where’s the baby bag? The on-call doctor said come on in, so we did.

Upon arriving at the hospital, our suspicions were confirmed by the doctor’s words: “Her membrane has ruptured.” A quick sonogram brought relief to both the wife and I. The baby had turned head down and was no longer in a breach position. This baby was going to enter the world the natural way. When, however, was still very much in doubt. The doctor told us that it could take as long as 24 to 48 hours. Since the delivery was premature, he wanted to let it start all by itself; since her water had broken, we would not be allowed to go anywhere. The next time we would leave this hospital we would be carrying our newborn son – yes, our newborn son.  The sonogram finally revealed the mystery of the baby’s sex to us.

What followed was a very long night. The wife started having contractions in earnest (“In earnest”! – somehow, I doubt that really sums it up.) at midnight, about an hour after we had arrived at the hospital. Four grandparents arrived and visited my laboring wife. We sent them home. It could be a while. At about four in the morning, she had dilated to 4 centimeters. The baby was coming and coming quick. We called them back in.

Strike a PoseAt this point, my poor laboring wife was complaining about back pain and, because her premature status basically chained her to the bed, she wanted to talk to someone about drugs. Not one, but two tries later, she had an epidural for the pain. By 7 am, she was fully dilated, completely effaced, and ready to push. And push she did.

To me, it took forever. To her, it must have lasted a lifetime. She pushed and pushed and pushed. She sweated and pushed. She grunted and pushed.  Unlike most children, our baby wanted to enter the world staring at the ceiling, not the floor. This odd positioning warranted some help. Two and a half hours later the doctor decided to do just that. A pair of forceps was the tool of choice. At 9:49 am Cambell Ray Wootton entered the world screaming what can only be described as a blessing to his anxious parents.

Immediately, he was taken to the corner where a pediatrician and baby warmer waited. With a premature baby some precautions need to be taken.  The lungs need to be examined. The blood sugar needs to be checked.  We watched them poke, prod, and clean him from across the room.  I whipped out the video camera.  Time to get some of this on tape. Minutes passed. He was posed for us from afar. More minutes passed. He was handed to my wife. It was an incredible moment, a wonderful moment. I’ve never been less ashamed to say that I wept. The joy was overwhelming. More than two and a half years of trials were over and my newly born son was in my hands. My heart trembled.

The last time I checked, premature babies were supposed to be small.  That wasn’t the case here. Mr. Wootton weighed in at 7 pounds, 2.8 ounces. They say that if the wife had carried him full term, he would have topped 10 pounds. Thank God for small (quite literally, small) blessings.

Those newborn eyes explored the nearby faces. The flashes of my camera made them cringe in retreat. We soon shared our moment with the anxious folks in the waiting room, his grandparents and a good friend of ours, Steph. They quickly made their way to the hospital room to get a first look at the new soul resting against the breast of my wife. Flashes of light continued to
dance across his beautiful face.

All that time in the pressure cooker must have made the little tike hungry. The visitors retreated as my wife began her role as a food source. Soon after, it was time for Cambell’s required trip to the nursery. I gave my brave wife a kiss and followed along.

The little guy had some more work to do. He was placed under a warmer and brought to a crispy temperature. His blood sugar was checked. Most importantly, I got to give him his first bath.

Our friend Stephanie, a post partum nurse at this very hospital, had also trailed along to the nursery. One of the real neat things about having her around was that she belonged there.  It was a relief and a lot of fun to have someone you know and trust give you your first lessons in baby bathing. She showed me the ropes and offered a very helping hand with shampooing his full head of hair.  Steph, I really appreciated your presence. I thank you so much.

After he was given a cool little hairdo by another nurse, we were off to visit mom. After a small mob of nurses greeted the new earthling, mommy and baby were reunited. Mommy was really much better – I’m sure drugs had something to do with this.  Baby was happy for the warmth of her chest.

An hour passed and we were off to the recovery room. Here, all three of us would spend the next two full days. The room itself was great. It had two beds, two TVs, a private bathroom and shower, and plenty of space for visitors. None of the amenities went to waste.

The rest of the hospital stay went by in a flash. An endless, but very welcome, parade of guests came to visit their new grandson, nephew, cousin, and future husband. Presents and flowers became permanent residents. Nurses came in to check on the baby. Nurses came in to check on the wife. The hospital staff brought us meals. The baby took occasional trips to the nursery for checkups, tests, vaccinations, a circumcision, and, twice, to
let mom and dad get a little shuteye. The care was exceptional.  For a couple of days, the stigma normally associated with a hospital went completely away. We were quite thrilled to be there; thrilled to be under the watchful eye of professionals.

Those two little towels that I spotted on the passenger seat gave the wife, and the seat alike, a little extra protection on the way to the hospital just days ago. They now seemed out of place.

The memories that flooded my senses began to ease. I started the engine, released the emergency brake, slapped the truck in drive, and quietly exited the parking garage. I had to make the quick trip around to the hospital entrance to pick up the wife and my baby boy.  It was time to go home.

The Wootton Family

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10 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Tina
    January 6th, 2003 at 10:24 pm #

    We’ve been waiting eagerly for this blog entry. . . Can’t wait to see the little guy in person! And you guys look like the perfect insta-family in the last picture – tell Jenn she looks much too good for having pushed for almost 3 hours!

  2. Laura
    January 7th, 2003 at 8:51 am #

    Congratulations to you both! He and Jenn are both beautiful!

  3. Laura
    January 7th, 2003 at 8:52 am #

    And you, Mr. Wootton make a handsome father!

  4. Darren
    January 7th, 2003 at 10:23 am #

    Nice narrative, Ken. I particularly like the use of the term “new earthling” to describe your spawn.

  5. Craig
    January 7th, 2003 at 2:23 pm #

    Congrats! But are you really prepared for parenthood? :)

  6. Mom
    January 12th, 2003 at 10:07 am #

    Ken and Jenn, Your writing is great. It seems we’ve waited a long time for this blessing, but a blessing Cambell is indeed! Thanks to you both for the happy tears and the incredible joy you have brought into our life. Love, Mom and Barry

  7. Barry
    January 12th, 2003 at 10:27 am #

    You sure know how to write. You brought tears to my eyes.

  8. Your Sister, Debbie
    October 30th, 2003 at 12:59 pm #

    Jenn & Ken — Thanks for giving me a beautiful nephew and a special note to Ken — I loved reading your happy words that you wrote!! Love, Deb

  9. Vera----Mom
    January 3rd, 2004 at 10:45 pm #

    Hi Kenny,
    Your are such a good writer. We enjoy reading these. Cambell is such a cutie. We love you ,Jenn and baby.
    love,Mom Keirle

  10. BECKIE
    March 6th, 2007 at 2:40 pm #


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