May 5th was our target date for Micah’s birth. Since we figured any time in May would be safe, we thought Cinco de Mayo would be fun, a sort of salute to our heritage. But Micah apparently didn’t regard the Mexican holiday as the day he should enter the world. Too much spicy food the night before, we awoke May 6th with Cindy’s belly and the stubborn baby inside only slightly bigger. I mentioned before that we’d been concerned about a possible early pregnancy, but Cindy made it through the early months of spring much to our relief, especially considering we were expecting a boy. While they toughen up later, premature boys are typically more frail than premature girls (like Lindsay and Jacque). Our new boy decided to prolong the anticipation until his actual due date if possible.
My mother had been planning on flying to Toledo when Micah was born. She had decided not to purchase airfare ahead of time, since she couldn’t bear the thought of Micah’s coming early and her ticket not allowing her to fly right away. To sort of prompt Micah, we encouraged her to purchase a ticket, which she did and boarded a plane on Sunday, May 17. Since I had read some of the chapter on emergency delivery in Cindy’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting and because that weekend Cindy had started experiencing some minor contractions, we decided to leave her home while we drove to Detroit where an excited grandmother’s plane landed.
Thankfully, Micah hadn’t been born while I was gone. We thought it best if, instead of in the middle of the night, he could consent and be born sometime the next day while the girls were at school, especially since Cindy’s doctor would be on call that day. As perhaps an agreeable foreshadowing of a compliant child, he obliged and began serious movement toward birth midmorning that Monday. Having gone to the YMCA after dropping the girls off at school, I had to be summoned from the elliptical machine I was on at the time, my heart rate elevated on the drive home more than at the gym. We arrived at Toledo Hospital around 10:30 and in about two hours Micah took his first breaths outside the womb.
There is nothing more exhilarating than awaiting the first glimpse of your child. All those nights of dreaming of his face, the countless hours spent considering his name, the innumerable prayers for healthy development—it would all come down to this moment. Because Lindsay and Jacque were both born early, this was an altogether different experience, at least for me. With the girls, Cindy had had much attention from the medical staff, but that morning only a single nurse made the delivery preparations. Interestingly, the phone rang in Cindy’s room, and the caller was a good friend of ours, Shannon Trzcinski, who told us God informed her Cindy was having the baby and wanted to let us know she was praying. Shortly after that, Cindy’s labor pains increased severely, so a team of nurses and her doctor entered the room in a frenzy, which more closely resembled our previous two experiences. But then when they were done, all but one nurse and her doctor left, which baffled me at the time. However, because of the absence of a crowd of nurses, a neonatologist, and other aides, I had a front-row seat for Micah’s arrival.
I could spend hours consulting my thesaurus and not find adequate adjectives to describe my emotions upon seeing his face, the hue of which was sort of blue. Never mind that the top of his head initially looked like that of a lizard’s. He was beautiful. Despite the fact that Cindy endured nine full months of pregnancy with its accompanying nausea, heartburn, swelling, achiness, hormonal changes, etc., it was my distinct honor to set eyes upon him first—a terrible injustice to her I don’t regret. Only after I cut his cord, an exquisite lifeline to his beaming mother, and warned her of his Smurf-likeness, did she take in her arms and study the face of this child who’d recently taken to kicking her ribs. Cindy never looked more stunning than when she lay there exhausted holding our blue son. Fortunately, his lizard resemblance had quickly faded before she ever saw him.
Since Micah complied with the schedule I’d suggested, I was able to pick up the girls from school just a couple hours after I’d called them there with the news. We returned to the hospital, where Lindsay and Jacque met their baby brother, whom they have doted over ever since. When they entertain him with silly faces and zany gestures, he laughs and smiles at them with a unique fondness a boy reserves for his big sisters.
I used to think I only ever wanted two children and was content with the notion of an empty nest in our early 40s, but since Micah’s birth and considering the forthcoming adoption, I cannot imagine our family having remained as it was. Now after all the kids have gone to bed, baths having been given or showers taken, pajamas donned, and teeth brushed, my head hits the pillow and I know there is no one more blessed than I. Of course, mine is the privilege of sleeping all night, while Cindy tends to the one who turned our world upside down.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! —Psalm 127:3-4 NLT