Author Elizabeth Belden Handler
I had a daughter from my first marriage when my husband and I met, so I’ll tell you about when his first child was born. I finally went into labor at 43 weeks (my whole family has long pregnancies). We dropped our daughter off at my parents’ apartment, and went to the hospital. After many hours of labor, my doctor decided that I needed a cesarean. (Whether I actually did or not is a story for another day). I was wheeled into the operating room. My husband was not allowed to come. He called both sets of parents and told them what was happening.
My mom immediately drove to the hospital to be with him. His dad also offered to come, but as he lived 90 minutes away, he said, stay home. My husband and my mom sat in the waiting room for what was probably only a half hour, but which seemed forever. He didn’t know if I was alive, if our baby was alive, or what was happening at all. My doctor finally came out and told him that the operation went well, both of us were fine and that he had a daughter. He immediately called his parents and told them, “I have two daughters.” The next day, my mom’s hand was actually swollen and sore because he’d held it so tightly.
He spent the next few hours going from my bedside to Lucie’s isolette (I hate that word, and all it implies. Babies should not be isolated. Rant over.) and back. He wanted to be with me, to assure himself that I was okay after having major surgery. I kept sending him back to Lucie because when he was touching her she was calm. As soon as he left she would cry. I kept asking for them to bring her, and they kept putting it off.
We found out days later that she’d had a very bad reaction to tetracycline, which they’d given her because of meconium that she’d swallowed. The happy ending is, she’s now 40, absolutely healthy, and a mom herself to her 15 year old daughter.