Not really sleeping deeply, my wife’s phone blasts us awake at 4.45 am. It is the call. It must be time. It must be time. Everything speeds up from the slowness of the previous night. My daughter and her husband left for the hospital the night before and we thought the birth would be a few days yet. Sarah’s slightly elevated blood pressure convinced the doctor to induce labor on Tuesday night (28th). My daughter and her husband were packed and off for a 7pm check in at the hospital. Kathy and I were left behind to settle down, do some cleaning and to try and figure out how the DirectTV remote worked. Tuesday was billed as a lazy night of watching the Giants capture another World Series title with a win in Kansas City. The Giants were on a roll. But that wasn’t in the cards. The Giants were outgunned Tuesday night. I was bummed by the pathetic 10-0 game 6 loss to the Royals. A train wreck and a dinosaur-ending meteor impact combined to create not just a loss, but a devastating humiliating loss. There was no magic, no come-from-behind heroics. Joe Buck was citing statistics that no team that lost game six on the road would be victorious in Game 7 on the road…blah…blah…blah. (He mentioned that several times just in case people in San Francisco were hard of hearing) But just when you think it’s over, Bingo! on Wednesday a new life is born in Oregon and it is felt 12 hours and 1800 miles away in Kansas City later as the Giants took game 7 and the World Series title for 2014. Wednesday was a great day!
Timeline Wednesday 29 October 2014:
4.45 a.m.: Kathy’s phone goes off. It’s Andy calling from Adventist Hospital. Time to go. Sarah is dilated 8 cm. The baby will come any time now. Quick face washing. Coffee gulping. Finding two shoes.
5.30 a.m.: Kathy and I leave for the hospital in the Saab. “In the Air Tonight” sung by Phil Collins and Genesis is playing on the radio. I can’t help but feel the significance of the song. It’s dark out and a light rain is falling. I hope I remember how to get to the hospital. It’s all surreal. All the planning and preparation for the event is now in the hands of nature not us.
6 a.m.: Arrive at the hospital. The parking angels help me find a spot close to the front entrance of the hospital. There is a nurse in the room with Andy and Sarah. She has been there most of the night monitoring contractions. We settle in, out of the way. The hospital room is pleasant and almost like a hotel room.
6.30 a.m.: Sarah’s DVD collection of “Friends” is on the T.V. The doctor arrives surprised that things are moving along rapidly. Now the room is full of nurses. I keep thinking that it was around this time in the morning, Sarah was born in Walnut Creek. The cycle continues.
7.20 a.m. : Doctor says that the baby will be born in a few minutes. Pushing starts and Andy is helping Sarah by holding one of her legs. On the TV an episode of “Friends” is playing. It’s the one where Ross’ ex is having a baby. The doctor tells Sarah to breathe and push. On the TV the doctor is telling the woman to breathe and push. Surreal. Soon we can see the top of the baby’s head. A full head of hair, just like Sarah when she was born. Sarah is breathing and pushing like a trooper.
7.35 a.m.: Charlotte Anne Veltkamp makes her appearance. She is weighed and measured and is handled like pure gold. She is 20 inches long and weighs 7.8 pounds with a full head of hair and she is beautiful. The nurse suctions her lungs and gives her a shot. We hear the first squeaking sounds of the new born. Hugs all around. I had guessed the name of the baby early on and remarkably I was able to keep it secret. They will call her “Charlie.” Her middle name will honor her aunt Anne, Kathy’s oldest. She passed away from cancer a few years ago. The cycle of life continues.
I guess people have been having babies for millennia or so I have been told. Cycles repeat themselves over and over again. I was there for my daughter’s birth 31 years and a month ago and now, this morning my daughter gave birth to her first, a daughter and I was present. So it goes…on. At the time so long ago I wondered if I could do any thing right. Then I witnessed the birth of my daughter and I knew that all would be right with the world. Wednesday morning my daughter gave birth to her daughter and that same feeling came back. I know what Sarah and Andy have to look forward to, approximately 18 years of in-home care before Charlie moves on. I remember years ago that some good stuff and some not so good stuff stressed and blest our relationship during the growing up years, but in the end life has a way of sorting itself out in spite of us…love reigns forever. Watching Wednesday morning as a new life made its appearance on this planet I thought that no matter what goes down in the future, right now, there is a lot of hope and a wealth of possibilities that are waiting to be uncovered and explored. I also know, as in Psalm 129, that God “…called you (Charlie) by name even before you were born…” That in itself is pretty cool.
…and so it continues…