Aside from the panic and the waiting and the worry, endless worry, the things I remember most about the day Oliver was born are the sounds.
Oliver was born by a C-section that was convened in a hurry at the last minute after his heart rate started diving into the low 60s the day before he was to be induced out.
I remember the unearthly quite of the surgery waiting room where I waited with Dr. Peter Noonan, the wonderful paediatrician who attended the affair.
I remember the constant beep, beep, beep of the machines in the NICU that helped keep Oliver alive. I remember being scared to death that they would stop beeping their “he’s still alive” beeps.
But most of all I remember the sound of his emergence from Catherine. It is a hard sound to describe, and I’m fairly certain that I was the only one in the world to hear it clearly (Catherine and the medical people being distracted by other things, obviously).
The sound was sort of exactly like you would think it would be, a sort of schlorpt sound. To approximate it as you read this, you can put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, then pull your tongue quickly back and down and back while taking a quick breath in.
But that will be only an approximation. I will never forget that sound.
Oliver was born on Sunday, October 1, 2000 and by Tuesday he had bounced back from near oblivion and has been a happy healthy boy ever since.
My friend Stephen Good says that becoming a parent is like joining a club that, before you join it, you can’t understand why you would ever want to join, and after you join it you can’t imagine why you didn’t join sooner. He’s right. Oliver is a joy to be around, and has changed my life in untold ways.
So please join me tomorrow in wishing Oliver a happy second birthday. It’s the end of free airfare and the start of the really exciting years.