I haven’t written about this or put it on paper, but for some reason I feel compelled to do it now.
Friday, May 13th 2011 was supposed to be a special day. It was supposed to be a happy day. It was the day I was going to meet my daughter for the first time. It was supposed to be the day TheBoy was going to meet his little sister. It was the day for our family to be complete – until…
I heard TheWife in the shower, but I decided to lay in bed a little longer knowing it wouldn’t be another 3 to 6 months until the next time I had a solid nights sleep. I heard her finish blow-drying her hair and felt her presence as she walked towards me to wake me up. Her soft hands touched me on the shoulder; the ends of her slightly damp hair brushed my face as she kissed me on the cheek. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up, we were going to have a baby. I mean my wife was going to have a baby; I was only going to be a cheerleader. Our family of three was going to be four. We were prepared, don’t get me wrong, but once again we were embarking on uncharted waters. I opened my eyes and looked at TheWife and said, “Lets go have a baby.”
I got out of the shower, dried myself off, put on my Speed Stick and was ready to get dressed. I opened the door and put one foot on my master bedroom carpet and heard a pop in my right ear. I started to feel drunk, dizzy, disoriented…not right. I tried to move, I couldn’t. I collapsed to the ground. What was wrong with me? Did I need something to eat? Was I having an allergic reaction to the allergy medicine I had taken before my shower? I was paralyzed for a few moments and called for TheWife. I heard her slowly climbing the stairs – she was 40+ weeks pregnant. As I’m lying on the carpet, naked – she waddles into the room and asked, “What the fuck are you doing?” I tried to get up, I tried multiple times but I couldn’t. TheWife was getting frustrated at my “antics” and was getting mad; she thought I was joking around. There I was, naked, getting zero sympathy as she is throwing my pants, socks, and shirt at me. I couldn’t blame her! I would be upset too, but there was something wrong with me. It was as if I drank an entire bottle of whiskey. There was something wrong.
I mustered up enough strength and put on the clothes that were kindly thrown at me. With all the strength that I had, I got up off the carpet and headed downstairs. If you have kids – Imagine watching your kids attempting to walk down a flight of stairs for the first time. That is how I looked…cautious, careful, and wobbly with every step. My head was moving in circles, my eyes couldn’t focus – I was struggling to complete a task I had done thousands of times.
As I handed over the keys and told TheWife I was unable to drive, I received the “look of death” from her. She had all the reasons to be mad. This was supposed to be her. This was supposed to be the day we met TheGirl. As we were driving I couldn’t concentrate or focus my eyes. I decided to look down at the floor and tried to comprehend what was going on. Earlier that year I remember watching the news coverage of a reporter having a stroke on live T.V. during the Oscars.
I finally put two and two together, looked at my wife and told her I think I was having a stroke. We were still about 5 to 10 minutes away from the hospital and she asked me to squeeze her finger. With all my strength I squeezed. She told me to squeeze harder. The best way to describe my squeeze would be when a baby grabs your finger while they are feeding. Needless to say, I was no Arnold Schwarzenegger. For the first time, TheWife had a look of fear in her eyes and a determination to get me to the hospital. Noticing the fear in her eyes I reassured her she would be able to re-teach me the ABCs – I’m a good student.
When we got to the hospital TheWife wanted to park the car in the parking garage and push me in a wheel chair to the E.R. Could you imagine a pregnant woman pushing her husband through a hospital on a wheelchair? I would have found it humorous.
Up to this point, I still had the function of speech. My speech immediately went away as I started to explain what had transpired in the last 30 minutes to the nurse on duty. I thought I was speaking fine until the nurse stopped me in mid sentence, when she picked up the phone and called a code blue, red, green, yellow (I don’t remember what the color was). I do remember being greeted by 4 nurses and 2 doctors.
The emergency staff of the hospital worked like a well-oiled machine. I smiled for them when asked (something you have to do when you have a stroke), looked at and read 3rd grade level pictures and words. All the while, my wife sat at my side and she explained to them we were scheduled to have our baby. I probably had 10 to 15 (exaggeration, it was more like 3 or 4, but it felt like 10 to 15) CT scans in a 60-minute time frame. I was administered TPA, IVs were put in, I was surrounded by nurses and doctors.
During my time of being hooked up to every beeping machine, monitor, and gadget in the hospital my parents showed up with TheBoy. Seeing my son brought a smile to my face and calm to my surroundings. My Dad brought my son in and he sat next to me and kissed my cheek. He asked, “Do you have an ouchy?” I reassured him I would be okay. He hugged me and he left the room.
During all this time, my main concern was for TheWife. This was her day, not mine. The nurses monitored her and me at the same time and when she had a contraction and her blood pressure rose, they sent her to the maternity ward. I wasn’t going to be able to see my daughter born?
As they wheeled her off, they wheeled me off to surgery to remove the clot that had formed in my brain. As I laid on the operating room and counted 100, 99, 98, 97, 96, the lights went out. I wouldn’t lie and say and didn’t see “things” or “flashes of light” but I did and it was truly amazing. When I woke up from my sleep, ceiling lights were rushing pass, my head hurt, and I started to freak out. I heard a doctor tell to calm down. When I finally realized where I was and what was going on I had two important questions. 1. Where is my wife? 2. Why the FUCK did you put in a catheter? Needless to say, a few of nurses got a chuckle out of my second question.
My beautiful wife who decided she wasn’t going to have our baby without me greeted me in the ICU. She is one of the strongest women I know and I love her to death.
I spent 4 days in the hospital and had tests, more tests, and even more tests. I had one rough night but through it all my family and friends were always by my side.
On May 18th our daughter was born and she is my saving “Grace”. If she decided to come early I highly doubt I would be writing this. She is a stubborn little girl and I love her for saving Daddy’s life. Through all the drama my wife didn’t shed one tear until the night before our second scheduled C-section. As we lay in bed together for the first time she put her head on my shoulder and wept…she deserved it. Thank you for saving me.
If you would like to read more about this story click here.