Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday

He's probably going to kill me when he finds out about this, but so be it - the story is too good not to commit to the airwaves.

Today is son #2's 14th birthday, and the story of the day he was born is one that not many people I've known can top. Actually, nobody I know can top it. But I'm sure that somewhere, someone can.

To set the stage, in early 1994 my youngest brother had announced that he was getting married to his longtime girlfriend, and that the couple had set August 27 as the day of the wedding - which just happens to be his birthday. At the time, my wife knew she was pregnant, but I'm not sure that we had done the math yet to figure out just how much August 27 was going to be a problem.

As summer went on and the day got closer, and we both found out that we would be part of the wedding party, we began to wonder - although it would have been early, August 27 was certainly within the realm of possibility as far as the birth date was concerned. But by that time, it was like "whatever happens,'s not as if it's in our control or anything."

It would have been one thing if the wedding was in town, but that wasn't the case - it was going to be in Santa Rosa, at least a two-hour drive from our regular doctor and hospital. Since August 27 was a Saturday, Debra made sure to schedule a doctor's appointment for the Thursday prior to the wedding, just to make absolutely sure that everything was going to be OK and that we could get the green light for travel.

"Oh, sure," the doctor said, "this baby isn't going to be born for at least a week." Cool! So we motored down on Friday afternoon, enjoyed the rehearsal dinner, and put ourselves to bed that night confident that things were going to go smoothly.

When the morning rolled around, just about the first words out of Debra's mouth were...well, I can't remember exactly what they were, but the gist of it was, "I think I'm going to have this baby today!" So we contemplated our options, and at one point Debra suggested that she could drive back to town, and son #1 and I could stay for the wedding. To which my other brother (who was sharing a hotel room with the three of us) and I said, "OK...let's imagine for a moment that we said yes to that suggestion. How do you think our mother will react when she finds out that we let you drive yourself back to Sacramento to have a baby?" So, based on logic that I have to admit escapes me today, we decided to wait a couple of hours, to see how things progressed. (By the way, I should add that we had addresses and phone numbers for the closest hospital nearby, so it wasn't as if we were completely unprepared). So Debra went off to have pictures taken with the rest of the bridal party, and my brother and I took son #1 swimming.

The next time I saw her, it was in the church, and everything seemed OK. We had made plans to leave that night and leave son #1 with my parents just to be on the safe side, but right then it seemed as if that was an unnecessary precaution. The wedding went smoothly, we both looked fine in our wedding attire (if I do say so myself), and we headed off to the reception.

I think it was a couple hours into the reception, after food, drinks and a little bit of dancing, that we had the following conversation.

"I think we need to leave."

" you think we can stay until the cake?"

"Umm...I think we need to leave NOW."

And so we left, on the trek down I-80 from the Bay Area back to Sacramento, armed with someone else's cell phone just in case something went really wrong.

Around Vacaville, she grabbed my hand, and began to squeeze progressively tighter until we arrived at Sutter Memorial Hospital, just after 8 p.m. She was in her bridesmaid's dress, and I was in my tuxedo. When the doctor saw me, he did a double take, and sarcastically commented, "well, I certainly hope that we're not keeping you from something!"

Less than an hour later, son #2 was born.

And that is the story of how it happened.

Happy birthday!

[Coming in December: the story of son #1's birth, which is pretty cool as well]

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