I was privileged to be in the delivery room when my wife and I had our first child. We did not know beforehand what it was to be, but I never entertained any thought but that it was going to be a boy. The doctor was sitting in place and the nurses were around doing whatever it is they do. I was watching the action with the doctor. I knew all about cows and hogs and dogs giving birth so I was not really nervous at all. It was just nature to me. Suddenly, I could see a little head full of black hair and I shouted, “Here he comes!”, and here she came! When I saw it was a girl, my whole being completely changed. I knew instantly I could never be the same as I had been, ever again. It is the strangest thing how the birth of a daughter can do that. I mean it is hard to keep up a rough, tough, country boy image while carrying a diaper bag on one shoulder and holding a baby girl in a carrier in the other.
I took it in stride when my wife went back to work. The two of us had agreed that one of us would be with our baby at all times when it was not in school. Accordingly, Anne expressed breast milk the night before and left it for me to feed the baby the following day. It was tough tending to the chicken farm and doing baby work, also. I was up every morning Monday through Friday, at 4:30 a.m. in order to get the heavy lifting over with by the time Anne had to go to work. Then, until Anne returned home immediately after work, I carried the baby with me back and forth to the chicken houses, she, buckled in her little baby seat and me running in and out of the poultry houses only spending a few moments away from the baby. Somehow it all worked out and we were none the worse for wear, and changing baby diapers, both kinds, became second nature to me. Thank goodness, Jesse, our daughter, slept all night every night right from the get go. Then we had Schuyler.
This child, my second son, came as a surprise to Anne and me. When we found out about her pregnancy I walked around in shock for a month. I’ve never taken another swallow of Jose Quervo. That stuff will make anyone fail to use good judgment. Since I was 47 at the time, our doctor advised us to have a test to see if the child was going to have Downs Syndrome, in which case we could abort this one and try for another. We had the test, not so that we could have it aborted but so we could get ready for a Downs child, if necessary. Thank, God, the test showed everything was fine and we found out it was to be a boy. The birth was fine and fourteen months later, Schuyler began to sleep all night. He dang near killed his Mother and I because old people need their rest. Abortion may not have been an option but strangulation crossed my mind a few times at three in the morning.
I will have to say that the raising of these two children was a wonderful experience. It was probably my age that made it so much fun. Once when I had Jesse on my hip and she was about 4, I was holding open the door to Golden Corral for these two very stout ladies. Just as they passed and said “thank you” for my courtesy, Jesse blurted out, “Daddy, they fat as hogs!” I dared not laugh at this true statement but I did smile and frown at the same time as these two huge ladies glared daggers at Jesse and I.
It took a few more years to explain to Jesse the meaning of courtesy and discretion.