Four weeks ago, Jennifer had a baby boy. Months of nervously awaiting the results of every heart monitor, every fetal size measurement, every glucose test, every pelvic examination were over in 12 hours of miraculously easy labor and delivery. John Hogan Readey IV made his appearance at 7:55 in the evening, all 7 pounds 11 ounces and 20.5 inches of him, a healthy beautiful baby with all his parts intact and working properly.
Delivering a baby in 2013 bears no resemblance to giving birth 40 years ago. The birthing rooms today look like large hotel suites with the exception of all the monitors attached to the mother. Parents, siblings, the husband, of course, and an occasional friend or two walk around freely or sit in comfortable chairs making casual conversation and sharing memories while the laboring mother decides when the contractions merit an epidural. Today’s epidural need not be given at the last moment. Modern medicine has come up with an incredible invention, a pain reliever that does not block contractions allowing the mother to relax, even sleep, through what was once such an uncomfortable experience that I waited six years between children.
Delivery, in Jennifer’s case, was not nearly as dramatic as in the movies. All went smoothly and quickly. Baby John, eyes wide open, was vigorously rubbed into color, his Vitamin K shot administered with only a mild protest, his sugars tested, eyes doused with antibiotics, a beanie pulled over his head and a blanket swaddled tightly around his little limbs. Dad held him first, then mom.
Still only minutes old, my tiny grandson was placed in myarms. All at once, my universe shifted. For thirty years there were two people on this planet for whom I would step in front of a runaway truck. Now, as of September 16th, 2013, there are three. As Melanie Wilkes in GONE WITH THE WIND said, “Everyone loves babies, Captain Butler. Babies are life renewing itself.”