The blessings of a new baby
My son was born on March 12 in Philadelphia. He weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, has steel blue eyes and Dad’s red hair. We named him Parker Anthony Beardsley.
We’ll get back to him; the first part of this column is about my wife, because she gave my son to me and she is a super hero.
On my nightly commute home on March 11, I reached the final slow stretch of Interstate 76 before wrapping into center city when my phone buzzed in my pocket. I looked at the screen to see the caller was my wife.
Now, I hate to sound like a know-it-all, but you know how sometimes you just KNOW things? When I walked into my house nearly nine months before and saw the ghost-white expression on my wife’s face, I just knew she was pregnant. And when my phone buzzed that evening while I sat in traffic, I just knew she had gone into labor.
Well, sort of. The conversation went something like this:
Heather: “Hey. Well, I’m pretty sure my water broke. I called my doctor and he said to go to the hospital.”
Me: “That’s great! Are you having contractions?”
Heather: “No, I don’t think so anyway. The doctor said not to rush – to have some dinner and take a shower and then make my way to the hospital.”
Me: “Oh, OK. Well, I’ll be home soon. What’s for dinner anyway?”
Talk about anti-climactic. I had pictured a much more frantic moment, like in any TV sitcom. I would run around the house in a frenzied state collecting our suitcase and other various materials for the hospital, then rush out to the car, forgetting the most important item: my wife. Cue laugh track and cut to hospital scene with woman howling while strangling husband and screaming “You did this to me!”
In fact, the whole trip to the hospital was surprisingly calm. After we were admitted, we sat eating Wawa food while waiting for things to get underway. No worries; the drama would soon kick in when contractions showed their ugly faces and Heather was told that she wouldn’t be able to receive an epidural.
That was the most helpless night of my life as I watched my wife in agonizing pain and there was nothing I could do to take it away. She was unbelievably strong. She was determined. She was incredible.
And she now automatically wins every argument we’ll ever have.
About 12 hours after we were admitted, Parker came into the world wailing with all the lung power he could muster. The doctor let me announce the sex to my wife, a much-anticipated proclamation that was well worth the decision to be surprised. (And all the yellow and green clothing we received for him.)
As I sat holding him and staring into his face, I had this overwhelming realization that everything in life truly does happen for a reason. My entire life was leading me to him. Every choice I ever made, every left instead of a right, every mistake I wanted to take back – it was all because somebody knew that one day he was coming along.
It was almost as if he understood this realization, too. During some of his first cries of life he suddenly calmed, opened his eyes the slightest bit, looked up at me for the first time and grasped my finger. I like to think that, in his own way, he was saying, “I’m here, Dad. Your wait is over. I’m what it was all for.”
Beardsley, a native of Loyalsock Township, is a former Sun-Gazette reporter. His column is published on the third Sunday of each month. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.