This is the time of year when we pause to reflect on the gift of our son, and the way I manfully survived an epic sunburn on my thighs. I can speak proudly of this moment, as a health care professional who should know intense skin irritation when she sees it took very specific notice of just how painful it was going to be. She was very right - she was also the nurse on call in the birthing room as my wife was going through the last great throes of labor. Maybe it was some sort of random ice-breaker, I'm not sure. It lingers as a question mark over the otherwise stirring and affirming moment of the birth of my son.
That and the fact that I, as the partner of many birth classes, made the sloppy confession a few years too soon that I had no real sense for the stages of labor, and I was faking my way liberally through the process. This isn't to say I wasn't attentive. I was. I coached and rubbed and prodded and encouraged and massaged exactly as I was instructed - at the time. I had no grasp of the various peaks and valleys in order to anticipate or eliminate the suffering and pain as it was about to occur. I did, however, make a series of cassette tapes that were supposed to roughly match up to the entire birthing process. I was especially fond of the didjeridous on the "Transition Tape." Would I know Transition when it walked into the room and started its dance in my wife's belly? Not really. But the art on the cover was pretty keen.
Donald Max Caven came into the world to the sounds of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" (I got that part right). This was followed abruptly by "Born to Run." Kristen had a popsicle - she had earned it, after all. "That's quite a sunburn you've got there," the nurse said. "You really ought to have somebody look at that."
Sorry, too busy looking at the new boy.