The Birth of Our Sixth Child 2
My wife and I, at forty two and thirty seven, having our sixth child. Expecting a new baby was just as scary in our forties, even though we had both experienced the birthing process. Things look different through mature eyes. The fear and joy of baby number six, the doctors visits, holding our infant son for the first time. The ability to see all the blessings of a child is a fantastic journey.
The Birth of Our Sixth Child: Ben's Story
At forty two, was I really ready to have another child? A feeling of fear came over me. My oldest daughter had just turned sixteen and my wife was about to turn thirty seven. We were not prepared to start over with another child. Buffy and I had spoke briefly about giving the baby up for adoption. When I say briefly, I mean for three seconds. As soon as that thought came into our heads it was replaced with thoughts of a new life. A new son or daughter was about to enter our family.
Our first doctors appointment with Dr. Molder, or Mullins, later I came to know his name as Dr. Moulton. He sat down and asked us about genetic testing, at our old ages, for birth defects or mental retardation of our new baby. We really didn't feel old but here we were being told about our advanced age pregnancy. We both thought about it and decided no. We did not want to know if our baby had a defect! Knowing that would never effect how we feel about this baby.
We had several doctor appointments, all the same; come in, change into a gown, measurement of the belly, height, weight, vital signs, and visit with the doctor or nurse practitioner. The best appointment we had was the ultrasound appointment. I sat in the dark room gazing into the black and white monitor searching for anything in the fuzzy picture that looked like a baby. What we saw was a blurry image of his face and hands. We would later realize how amazing the images were. The pictures did look like our son's profile. A technician ran the sensor head over Buffy's belly, she caught a glimpse between the baby's legs. The technician announced we would be having a boy, showing us where his penis was. To be honest, it really is amazing she could tell.
Towards the end of the eighth month things started to get interesting. My wife was carrying the baby very low. This was putting a lot of pressure on her pelvic girdle. Fatigue, swollen ankles and night sweats are things she hadn't experienced in her twenties. Dr. Moulton, on our final appointment, put Buffy on bed-rest. Working and taking care of our children, was beginning to take its toll. Buffy told me, in her twenties, this pregnancy would have been the easiest.
When I arrived home on July 7th, 2007, my wife was sitting on an over stuffed chair in our bedroom silently breathing through labor pains. She informed me the contractions were three minutes apart. My mind whirled with excitement. It was time, I thought. We have to get to the hospital! After a thirty minute car ride we arrived at the emergency room, they wheeled us to labor & delivery. When we entered the room they attached monitors to my wife's belly. The steady beeps of the monitor only added to my building excitement. The nurse checked my wife's cervix, informing us she wasn't dilated at all. After one liter of fluid, the doctor discharged Buffy and sent us home. Disappointed, I thought, so much for the baby coming when I wanted.
Two days later, the contractions start again. At three minutes apart, my wife and I decide to leave for the hospital after calling the doctor. Upon arrival to the Labor & Delivery unit, we were shown to a different room this visit. It seemed a bit bigger, but still had the same layout as the previous room. Once again the nurse hooked Buffy up to the baby monitor. This time it isn't false labor. Today our son will be born. The doctor came in and spoke to us about the epidural, a medicine injected near the spine that blocks pain from the hips down. The nurse gave Buffy some medication that made her very loopy. While Buffy layed on her side the doctor inserted a 4 inch needle into her back. Within fifteen minutes the room was a blur of activity.
The room had transformed around me. What had looked like cabinets before, monitors and computers folded out. A panel in the ceiling opened up and two large surgical lights unfolded like the arms of a praying mantis. In the closet, a baby station opened up; UV lights, weight table, monitors, and a small clear plastic crib. The nurse raised the head of the hospital bed. Arm rests pulled out from the sides of the bed. The bottom of the bed dropped down and stirrups came up. In all the activity, I had not noticed the three nurses and mid-wife file into the room. They positioned my wife in the bed and the mid-wife asked "Are we ready to have this baby today?". In my twenties I would have just blindly nodded yes, but the truth of the matter was, my wife and I were more then ready to have this baby.
One of the nurses helped Buffy position her legs in the stirrups. Buffy was still having problems getting comfortable in the bed and asked me to raise the head of the bed. I reached over and pushed the button on the arm rest to raise her head and the mid-wife positioned herself at the foot of the bed. From this moment until the birth of our son, the events moved in slow motion. The mid-wife asked Buffy to take a deep breath and begin pushing. My wife began to push and squeezed my hand, I could see the baby's head just cresting the birth canal. Under the surgical lights, the baby's skin appeared a ghostly bluish white. I later found out the cord had been wrapped around his neck. The mid-wife rolled the baby on his back to clear his shoulders. I watched in amazement as the mid-wife manipulated the baby's shoulders, instantly freeing the cord. Our son was finally here. The nurse took him to the baby station that had folded out of the cabinet. She cleaned him up and cleared his lungs before weighing him. Our son was six pounds, seven ounces and twenty inches long. A wave of emotions swept over me, ranging from fear to pure joy.
I left my wife's side to meet our baby for the first time. We decided to name him Benjamin Robert Fernandes. Our son Ben looked so small in the bassinet. He had a red face with skinny little arms and legs. His hands looked gigantic next to his little body. When the nurse wrapped him up and handed him to me, I noticed his angelic face with closed eyes and a semi-smile. I carried him to meet his mother for the first time and a feeling came over me of an instant bond with this child. His mother reached out taking Benny from my arms. Both looked beautiful and happy.
Benny just turned two July 9th of 2009. My wife has returned to working as a nurse and I am currently in college writing this paper for my composition class. I am Benny's primary care giver. I have been closer to this child then I was ever able to be with my other children. Given time to reflect on how I parented my other five children, a day never passes that I don't learn something new through Ben's eyes. It seems as if he was just born and already two years has passed. As a father, my job has always been the "Enforcer", with Benny, I'm "DA-DA". I'm the person he runs to when he gets hurt or wakes up in the middle of the night. He asks for me to lay down with him. We enjoy each other and I didn't have the ability to understand that ten or twenty years ago. I was always too busy living life, paying bills, raising children. I realize now from birth to five years old is such an important time in a child's life. I feel so blessed each and every day for my wife, our children and of course Ben.