My fears were only partially unfounded. My wife’s water broke before she had any contractions, and when we went to the hospital the nurses were concerned that the other, smaller heart rate dropped about 40 beats per minute every time the contractions started. The contractions weren’t getting any stronger, and the cervix wasn’t dilating. Two hours came and went, and the next hour I was in scrubs and getting sanitized, my wife was on an operating table with a curtain up below her shoulders so I couldn’t see the rest of her, a roomful of doctors and nurses were coaching my wife while cutting through layers of skin, muscle, and finally uterus, I was wiping her brow, and then I saw a baby come up, heard “It’s a girl!” and ran over to see her and describe her to my wife while she tried to remain conscious. And that was how, in the last year of the Aughts, I became the thing I feared the most—a father.

Just added to The List and the Story: My Aughts

AuthorJohn Proctor