In the hospital we watched Jimmy Fallon as Esther lay in bed hooked to machines and an IV Drip I knew we were in for a long night. Sitting in a cushy recliner next to her bed listening to my son’s heartbeat all we can do is wait. After 41 weeks, Baby Priegue is ready to arrive, but like his parents he’s being stubborn.
Leaving the doctor’s office, we stopped for Esther’s “Last Meal.” We went home to walk and feed Chico, and called friends and family letting them, it was go time.
Let me hit the highlights so this post isn’t too long, of course I still can’t promise it won’t be really long.
Facebook Posts Instead of Phone Calls-Knowing this was going deep into the night or into the next morning we kept friends and family updated via an ongoing Facebook posts. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who had a sleepless night. Several friends woke up hourly checking for updates.
No All-Night Maternal Slumber Party-Anticipating what awaited us; I pushed the recliner back at around 3am to get a few hours’ sleep. It didn’t sit well with my better half. Esther expected the type of all-night maternal slumber party she had when her sister gave birth to her son.
Let me give you a little family history. My sister-in-law Rose Marie, or Neiqui, her family nickname, was in labor for over 20 hours. It’s become something of an urban legend (tell me about the doctor using the Jaws of Life again) and Esther was with her kid sister every step of the way.
“When Neiqui had Justin, I stayed awake the entire night,” She mentioned with a very disappointed look. “I’m happy for you,” was my tired reply, “but the doctor said he won’t be here until 8 am, we have a long day ahead of us.” I went to sleep wondering if I’d wake up to an irate wife smothering me with a pillow.
A Moment of Calm-Upon waking up the nurses told me Induction wasn’t working—we were probably having a C-Section. Hungry and a little anxious, I stepped out for a quick breakfast sandwich and coffee (yeah coffee will help those nerves Frank).
Looking at the newborns when I returned to maternity wing gave me a sense of calm. Tuning around, I saw Steven, Esther’s doctor watching me. I don’t remember what he said but it removed any remaining anxiety. I guess his services extend to expectant fathers too.
In our room Esther napped as induction continued. Listening to the baby’s heartbeat, I knew we were in for a long day.
We’re having a C-Section-Around 10am Stephen and the anesthesiologist confirmed the C-Section. Let’s do this I thought. Since a Caesarean section is surgical procedure, the nurses brought me a package of surgical gear, hat, mask, white coveralls that looked like a hazmat suit and a pair of little booties to cover my shoes.
I was gearing up when they came for Esther. Rushing after her I forgot to put my feet through cutouts of my “hazmat suit.” Straightening up the suit started tearing like clothes off the Incredible Hulk. It was the icebreaker we needed. Mentioning it still brings a smile to Esther’s face.
It’s Go Time-Outside the O.R. I watched Esther being prepped as I paced. Turning around I saw Stephen, who must have been thinking, not again. He told me, “You will be sitting behind a screen with Esther, when I call your name, stand up and starting taking pictures.”
Holding Esther’s hand, we waited and listened. Hearing a gurgling sound Stephen called me. I stood up and saw my son for the first time, I was awestruck. Stephen called again. “Frank, start taking pictures!” Turning to Esther I said, The C-Section was right decision, he’s huge.
Snapping pictures I felt guilty, Esther carried him to term and could hear him crying, but still couldn’t see him. Taking a few pictures, I went over so she could see her son. When they cleaned him up, they put him under a heat lamp.
After cutting the umbilical cord, yes I cut the cord, they weighed the baby. The scale said 147. 147? It was 147 ounces, which is 9 pounds 3 ounces. That’s a big boy! Stepping out I called my mom to let her know she was a grandma again, then made the obligatory calls, while watching my son through the O.R. Window. With that done, I fired off a Facebook post with a picture saying, “We have a boy!”
Returning to Esther’s side she mentioned, we still have to name him. You pick. We narrowed the list to two names Cristian and Daniel. I wanted Daniel.
Growing up, was my best friend was Danny. He was the popular kid, who was good at sports and picked the kids no one wanted when we chose sides. He protected a lot of us from bullies. As an adult, he coached baseball and soccer taking the kids the other coaches passed on. The kids loved playing for Danny. Sadly he was killed driving to work when a drunk driver crashed into the car he was riding in.
Esther knew this story and I knew she preferred the name Cristian. Thinking of everything we went through to get here, how and she had the hard part through all of it, I looked at our son in his mother’s arms, he looked like a Cristian.