I thought it was later than it actually was when I woke up this morning. It was two hours before the alarm was to start blaring and Jules was standing over me. “I’m pretty sure it’s happening,” she said. “I’m going to take a shower. We have time.”
The Bean was born incredibly fast—4 hours from the first contraction to delivery. We had been told repeatedly that the second one usually comes even faster. A fact the nurses who helped deliver the Bean were keen to tell me almost immediately after he was born, which is a totally not scary, freaky thing to do to a brand new father. So I was a little confused when she said, “we have time.” But then again, I don’t wake up pretty and am usually fairly confused almost every morning. I’m kind of like the guy from “Memento”, but with less tattoos. Keeping this in mind, and the fact that Jules was calm, I made a snap decision not to panic and to take a shower.
Toweling off, I heard Jules on the phone with our neighbor who was going to look after the Bean. “Swing by in 10 minutes. You don’t have to hurry,” she said in a casual tone as if she were ordering take out or something. I was thinking that she should probably hurry. But I also realized that arguing with a woman in labor was not the most prudent course of action. We woke up the Bean and told him the news. He smiled and seemed genuinely excited as we left for the hospital.
The night before, I had been editing home movies from the Bean’s first trip to Disneyland. I used the music from the Main Street Electrical Parade, which was now irrevocably playing on a constant loop in my brain, making things seem much funnier than they actually were. Once again, I kept this to myself as I was pretty sure Jules was not going to be amused by this in her current state.
The contractions were three minutes apart when we arrived at the hospital. Despite what we had been previously told by the staff, we were not allowed to bypass admitting. The contractions were getting worse as a mannish woman made Jules sign form after form. After one rather sharp contraction, she lost it. She growled at the nurse in a low frequency that reminded me of Michael J. Fox in “Teen Wolf” (“Give me a keg of beer!”). Within minutes, we were upstairs.
From this point on, things sped up to a blur. Jules had decided not to use any drugs, not that an epidural would have been an option at this point. I will eternally be impressed with how much composure she kept in the face of immense pain. She barely screamed and she didn’t curse. She was so calm that I almost didn’t realize it when the actual birth was happening. It was a marvel to watch. And watch her I did, because I had no intentions of witnessing any of the gory show mere feet away from me at the other end of the bed. Since Jules had requested a mirror to watch the birth, my head was limited to a one-inch range of motion in either direction. I was amazed when the whole thing was actually over. It was a mere 45 minutes since we arrived at the hospital to the time Sprout was born. 3 hours start to finish. A new record.
She was born at 7:02am on 7/02/08 and I think that’s pretty cool.
Two and a half years ago, when the Bean was first placed on Jules’ chest, I was in shock. The only thing I could do was count fingers and toes, which seemed like the most logical action at the time. With Sprout, the only thing that ran through my mind was, “Man, that is one purple baby!” Since Jules’ breathing was shallow during delivery, Sprout was low on oxygen, which caused her entire body to be bright violet. She almost didn’t look human. Her color returned quickly and we were dumbfounded that she looks exactly like the Bean did when he was born. Even later in the day, Jules and I both admitted to each other that we were having a hard time relating to Sprout as a little girl, because she is the mirror image of her brother. And since the Bean resembles me, I’ve spent the day feeling pretty proud of my genes, which apparently are strong and run deep.
So the birth of our second was much like the first, speedy and without incident. While I can’t believe that I’m back in Newborn Land, a magical place where sleep is rare and coffee is necessary, I’m really happy that my family is complete. With my daughter’s entry into this world, I have accomplished my number one goal in life—to have a family.
Welcome to the world, Sprout. We’re going to have a really good time together.