happy birthday august


i had to use our son as leverage to get andy to agree to share his take on august's birth story. "c'mon," i told him "it could be your brithday gift to him. PLUS, in [my mother's home country] bolivia, we celebrate mother's day on the 27th of may" {two birds, one stone. you know?} appartenly my argument was compelling enough to result in the tale below.

For a control freak, I’ve lost anything that might resemble sure-footing. Where could I possibly start... well, first, August’s birth. Luci wouldn’t let me plan the birth that I wanted. I clearly recall saying, “you know we’re right in the thick of baseball season, and, while the Tribe can’t win the division in May, they can certainly lose it. What do you say we put the ballgame on in the background?”


Secondly, Luci planned the mixed tape - a 10 hour barrage of Abba, looped, with calming whale noises that were sliced into the more subdued anthems. “What about J.T., Lorde, Shakira or Pit Bull,” I said. “I want our son to get his bearings right away - “Yeah Dada, this issss 2013, isn’t it?”” (yes, that’s a double quotation mark).


Third, there was no pinata. Hmmmmm... I’m just curious, but what kind of celebration is this?


Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’d like to tell you about the birth of my son August, through an already fading memory of a new dad, a year to the day he was born.

The day really started the day before, when Luci woke up to light contractions and I thought I’d be a father by my second whiskey (roughly noon). Claudin had been with us since the night before, and I recall looking toward her for signs that this was really it. If she thought it was going to happen that day, her calm disposition never suggested it. That day unfolded without anymore contractions; it was a good “false-start,” allowing me to line up again and prepare for the race.
I woke up the next morning, which was truly the day, to my wife shuffling around the living room and kitchen - the way that a Duck-dog does - which we named “clicky-clacky” from the noise her nails make on the faux wooden floors. Luci had been clicky-clacking for an hour or so and I roused to see what she was up to.“I’ve been having light contractions for the last few hours” she said. This was not another false start, this was to be the day.

August came one day prior to his official due date, and I’d like to take a moment here to applaud him on the timeliness of his very first task in life. My mother says that “being early is being on-time.” When we were children, my father would invariably show up at the airport at least two hours before the flight time, and this was before the heightened security after 911. I still try to abide by the virtue of such timeliness, a gene that was surely passed on with my Y chromosome. As for Luci's family... lets just say there is a distinctive lack of a timeliness gene.

Claudin got up and I got up. Luci drew a bath and put on the music she’d planned for the day. I made Claudin a coffee, one for myself as well, and she began to set up for the midwife and doula.

I called the midwife to alert her to Luci’s condition, and I could tell that I woke her up. I guess I was a little surprised when she sounded non-enthusiastic and tired, I mean come-on, another perfect stranger is about to have a baby!! She told me to look for the signs of progression, and give her a call back when Luci started to get nearer. She hit the snooze.

The next two hours reminded me of when Luci and I first started dating. I always wanted to call her, but didn’t want to come off as needy or pushy, so I wouldn’t call her... call her much that is. I did however always have the phone in my hands. Like then, I was walking circles around the house with the phone in hand, just waiting to call the midwife, or for her to call me. Finally, I saw a change in Luci’s demeanor. I called the midwife.

Luci jumped into a next stage. She became quasi-despondent, and get this: she wouldn’t laugh at my jokes?? I knew things were progressing. I felt it.

When the midwife and doula arrived, we made our introductions, and then got to work. They did their thing with Luci, and Claudin was cooler than any cucumber I’ve every met, all clicky-clacky around the house just doing her thing. They all made me feel like my wife is taken care of, and I adopted their coolness. So, I made coffees for the new company, I cracked a beer for myself, ohhhhh baby, I get it, this is a celebration!

Then Luci received the midwife’s assessment from her exam, and, the news was not well received. She was only 2 cm dilated. I know my wife, she’s got a very high threshold for pain, and she was already in a lot of pain for just 2 cm!

Well, the party pooper just came through the door and pooped all over my party, the celebration was OVER; and what happened over the next few hours meshed into one solid memory of nerves, exhaustion, exhaustion, and exhaustion, but above all, I wished more than anything, I could take the pain for Luci.

Referring back to the opening sentence, I am a control freak, and I was fully out of control.

For the next few hours, we were on our bed, rolling back on our sides between contractions -  the final stage. I’d stroke her damp hair out of her eyes and tell her what a job she’s doing: an amazing wife. As the next contraction started, we’d pop back up like “tip-up” ice fishing flags and start all over again. 90% of the time I’d lie to her and tell her what great progress was made with that last push, and then 10% of the time, I’d see actual progress, which was just enough to keep me from “going off the deep-end.”

During the last stage, I forgot the end-game. I forgot that my son was on the way. The effort to try to do whatever Luci needed, the effort to quash my emotions, and the effort to “think happy thoughts” made me forget.

But after seeing the top of his head for a half-an-hour, August was born a healthy baby. Luci was healthy too, and all was right in the world.

August slept on my chest for the first night. I would look at him and think of so many things that not a single clear thought actually prevailed, they just all bumped into each other as my mind buzzed. It all came to a head, and I was, and am now, a proud father.

Happy Birthday August.

don't be fooled, what andy decribes with light-hearted humour could only be told this way with the buffer of one year from when the event took place. in my vague recollection, he was more nervous/excited/anxious/supportive than i've ever known him to be. in the six years prior to our son's birth, i thought i'd seen all there was to andy, but the love and pride that he's shown to both august and i in the last year has surpassed even my wildest dreams. thank you, andy for indulging me and sharing your story.  


Claudin Mangum said...

i LOVE this. thanks for sharing your story, andy!

Amy said...

This is awesome...and it's nice to hear the story from Andy's perspective.
And August, I was just with your uncle D. yesterday and he was saying how much he misses you and that he wished he could be there for your birthday. Hope it's a great day!!

Andrea said...

What a fantastic story!!! Happy Birthday August! You are just too cute :)

Brikena said...

oh wow. this was so touching! and i absolutely love that it was from his side. goosebumps all over!


lucinda said...

aw, thanks andrea! xox

lucinda said...

thanks! me too, amy, i loved getting andy's take on the day. we all really missed uncle D too, but luckily this is just the first of many more!

lucinda said...

"clicky-clacky", i loved that description of us. i still get teary eyed remembering those early hours together while we waited for ge-ge's arrival - so glad you were part of it.

Hannah Smith | fox and willow said...

love this! and his take on the whole thing, I wish I could get my hubby to write out what the boys birthing experience was like through his eye! Happy 1st to August!


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