Today is Malcolm’s birthday. He’s three years old today. His was a rough time coming, as my wife was diagnosed with placenta previa a week after she found out she was pregnant (which she happened to find out only a couple weeks after conception). I didn’t have a blog when he was born, but I did send out an e-mail or two at the time. I thought that I’d post them. We pick up after we’ve been in the hospital for a couple of weeks.

My wife had already been disappointed by the amniocentesis performed the previous week (which could’ve allowed Malcolm to be born sooner, though she was in her 35th week of pregnancy, so waiting until at least the 36th week was probably for the best anyway). Our friends and family have taken turns watching our eldest son so that, other than brief sojourns to my job, I could stay at the hospital full time with her.

It was a good thing we had him when we did.

I was like a field mouse on an owl farm, though things had taken an upturn lately. I was no longer sleeping on the counter of our window ledge. I had a chair that folded flat into a bed (unlike that chair possessed by Satan that never quite went flat and waited until I was almost asleep to fold back up). Not that either of us slept all that well. I got three words for you: perky night nurses. At three in the morning, no one needs “Hi, my name’s Becky” (yeah, she introduced herself, A LOT) followed by someone flipping on all the lights. Nor, when you have company, did anyone want to hear: “Hi, my name’s Becky,” (told you) “do you want your stool softeners?” Things had been rough on my wife as the nurses (not Becky) had to put in a new IV. The original one, placed in last week–in case they needed it for an emergency C-section–got infected, so her right arm is all red and swollen. The new one felt tender and was due to be moved. Well, in the moving of it, they blew out two veins in her arm and it is now in her right hand.

We were running out of ideas to amuse ourselves. Her bed was motorized which puts her with an unfair advantage when we played battle beds. We realized that there was a chapel channel on our television, that is basically a camera on in the chapel. I was going to go down to the chapel and amuse her with my antics, but feared security tackling me mid-“sermon”.

Luckily, at 4:00 pm, things went nuts. The doctor breezed in and announced that things were a “go”. “Prepare for your epidural.” We grew excited, started making a few calls. Then in came the anesthesiologist to give her the needle.

This marked the first time that the nurses paid any attention to me. Mostly to remind me that women have a higher threshhold of pain than men. I didn’t think that the epidural was that bad, but the nurses regaled with with tales of how they didn’t usually let the father’s watch because:

large needle looking thing + spine + any blood whatsoever = fainted dad.

The C-section, however, was no joke. First, I given a gown, and told by nurses, to put it on in the labor recovery room. Ladies, just because a man walks into a room and puts on a surgical looking gown, that is not your cue to start spreading your legs. I end up running around yelling “whoa, whoa, whoa, I’m just a dad! I don’t need to see that!!!”

Soon it was me, my wife, the anesthesiologist, our doc, and his resident at the table. A group of nurses huddled by Malcolm’s receiving table. All told, we were in and out in under an hour. The incision they made was only about four inches long, but, man, that was my wife they were cutting on. Right through skin and muscle and … and … hey, I was a biology major and I still don’t remember what some of that stuff was. Once the blood started flowing the next thing that struck me was that this wasn’t like the delicate kind of procedure that I’d gotten used to seeing on E.R. Oh no, they were pushing and tugging, reaching and grabbing, you’d think they were stuffing a turkey–uh, except in reverse, I guess removing the stuffing?–the way they were rooting around in her. The only part that made my wife nervous (since she ordered me to quit looking when my eyes bugged out after a maneuver that produced a wet vacuumy sound) came when one of my favorite songs came on the radio: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by the Temptations. I start singing then spun into one of the Temptations dance moves. Our doc asks “Can we all dance?”, at which point me and him start dancing.

At that point, she yelled at me.

Anyway, Malcolm Xavier Broaddus, named for my hero Malcolm X, but my wife insisted that the “X” had to stand for something, was born at 6:55 p.m. Six pounds, six ounces and 19 1/2 inches long … with blonde hair and blue eyes. He immediately marked all that he saw as his territory. He managed to spray everyone from my wife to the doc and the nurses.

[I also witnessed the circumcision. THAT WAS JUST NOT RIGHT. Who was the sadist (woman) who came up with that medieval torture device (all metal, with turn screws; not to mention the forceps and scalpel)? Someone asked me how much blood was there, let me tell you, ANY blood is too much blood down there. I did, however, save the foreskin for my wife’s scrap booking. I was immediately yelled at and forced to throw it away. [For those of you saying to yourselves “no he didn’t,” the nurse put it on a safety pin for me. She said that nothing surprised her anymore: one dad claimed to be a silversmith and was going to cast his son’s in silver as a keepsake.]

I’d like to give a special shout out to our friends and family who supported us during this time through watching Reese, taking care of our house, offering up prayers, visits, and calls. Especially that special group that helped us set a record for most nights in a row warned by nurses to keep it down in our room. Me and my “incubator with legs” thank you; however, for future reference, I did have one complaint. We were basically gone for three weeks. Well, Reese had a diaper pail in his bedroom. Um, apparently people kept using it, but no one emptied it. When I opened it upon our return, let’s just say that things had fermented to such a state that lifeforms now resided worshiping me as their god.