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4 February 2003

He was almost born on the freeway.

By the time you're ready to give birth to #5, you pretty much expect that you know how things will go. He was late, like all the rest. The doctor had even tacked on an extra week to the formula due date, given that all of his siblings had been late--and he was even later than that.

It was about 6 a.m. the morning of February 4, 1972 when the first contraction hit. Things seemed to be progressing a lot faster than other times. In fact, within half an hour, I told Walt we needed to go to the hospital now.

Of course there was the little issue of four children under the age of 6 and nobody to take care of them. Walt put in a frantic call to Char. "come NOW," he told her.

He was rushing around the house while I sat in a chair and concentrated on breathing. I was actually a little annoyed with him. I had things well in hand--why was he panicking? It never occurred to me that he was worried we wouldn't get to the hospital in time and he'd have to deliver the baby himself.

This was going to be our first father-in-the-delivery-room birth. The kids were all born at Kaiser in Oakland. In the previous year, Kaiser had begun allowing fathers to be in the delivery room, but only on the condition that the couple complete a LaMaze course.

It was pretty silly. I had given birth four times using the LaMaze method (without attending a class). There was a mix-up about dates and we missed the first class. I had been working at helping mothers breastfeed for several years and knew more about it than the LaMaze instructor, so I taught that class. And then the baby arrived before the last class, so the whole thing was pretty much a donation to the LaMaze teacher for the privilege of having our name on a certificate.

I was panting and blowing and Char hadn't arrived yet. The contractions were coming much closer together and it was obvious we just couldn't wait any longer. Char only lived a few blocks away (but had to get dressed before she could race to our house), and we knew she'd be there within minutes--but minutes were becoming precious commodities.

We put six year old Jeri in charge and we went out to the car. A contraction hit as Walt was backing out over the dip in the driveway, and as Char was driving up. "I'll never forget the look on your face as you hit that bump," she has told me for the past 30 years.

The hospital was only 10 minutes away and we probably made it in 8.

Nowadays you go to the hospital and sign all your papers well in advance of a baby's birth, but we didn't do that in the 60's and 70's, at least not at Kaiser, so our first stop was in the office to fill out endless paperwork.

"I think I'd better get upstairs now," I said and they fetched a wheelchair for me. Walt couldn't leave until all the paperwork was filled out.

"I'm in transition," I said to the nurses as they wheeled me into the labor area.

"yeah, yeah, lady," they said. "We'll tell you when you're in transition. Just go get into a bed so we can check you."

It was probably 5 minutes before they arrived to check me, and then all hell broke loose.


(Later, when it was over, I told the nurses "When a mother who is giving birth to her fifth child tells you she's in transition, believe her!)

babydave.jpg (8719 bytes)They stuck me on the flat gurney (oh I'd love to give birth today--it's so much more civilized!) and wheeled me into the delivery room. Walt made it up just barely in time, and rushed into the delivery room, camera in hand as I was beginning to push. "That camera can't be here," said the delivering physician, whom I'd never met before that moment and who didn't realize that we'd cleared the whole camera thing with my own doctor. Walt went back to the gowning room to drop off the camera and in that minute, out popped the baby. Dad missed the whole thing, but he was there to scratch my nose while they were stitching up the episiotomy (because my hands were tied down and your nose ALWAYS itches when they tie your hands down).

He was huge. 10 lbs. They didn't let babies stay in the rooms with the mothers in those days, and there was no "viewing room" so you had to present a card and they'd wheel out the babies to show you. There seemed to have been a lot of preemies at that time and he was easily twice the size of most of his nursery mates.

In 2 days ('cause you had to stay at least 2 days), we brought him home to meet all his siblings.

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24 years later, we buried him.

Happy birthday, Dave--we miss you.

BTW, I added a Google search function at the bottom of this page.  Supposedly you can search not only the Internet but Funny the World itself for...whatever you might want to search for.  I tried it out on someone else's site and it was fun to see the way it all displayed.  Try it!

Quote of the Day

When I reminisce about the days that I have missed I feel the blanket of time remove me from what I've experienced. When I think of all of you I feel the phantom pain in the leg that I've removed. But now I feel the light come burning through my hand as I reach to grasp what I'm trying to hold on to. But like a summer day, the light will fade away and leave me grasping blindly for what I cannot have. Remember me, my friends, when you smoke a cigarette and snuff it out in a virgin ashtray."

~ David Sykes

Yesterday's Photo

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Ned and David

One Year Ago
The Wedding
The groom and his 2 groomsmen wore bowling shirts (they don't bowl). The bride and her bridesmaids entered down stairs on roller skates (the bridesmaids wore pink skirts with poodles on them). The entrance music was the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars.

Two Years Ago
Answering "The Call"
Picture 60 little kids looking at each other like the disciples at the Last Supper.
"Is it I, Lord?

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Pounds Lost:  67.2
(I really, really hated to put that down!!!)

(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

URL Total 741.6
Blue Angel Total 602.2
2003 YTD Cumulative:  120.6

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