OK. So this is only for you diehard Ragamuffin Soulers. In the midst of all the desperation and destruction I was reminded that I am turning another year older this Sunday. I need to smile. I need to remember. Here is a memory lots of you got in an email a while back. It was a hell of a day…It redefined me as a man…It made me smile…If you want to read it then you have to click the next link. Trust me. Trust me. It will make you smile.
(Sent Oct’ 2003)
I’m 30. 30. Did you hear me? I am half way to 60. I have a wife, 2 girls, and a cat named Sydney. I drive a Toyota Camry. I have been balding for 8 years. People call me Pastor. I go to sleep before 10 and wake up around 6:30. Except for my small ears there is no reflection of who I once was in me. But then again I think that’s a good thing. How did I get here? Sin, love, move, love, move, sandals, guitar, Disneyland, marriage, consummation, baby, Camry, baby. That is about how it went down. And here I am. I have had a pounding headache for the last day that does not seem to want to go away. I wonder if it has to do with an 18 month old and newborn screaming at the top of their little lungs at the same time? Funny how it always seems to happen in stereo.
Stereo? Yup. Seanna (Say-ah-na) Jess Whittaker. We have another one. 16 days old. It seemed like a cool name until I realized that you can’t really say both names in the same sentence without sounding like you are swearing in Arabic. But what were we supposed to name baby #2 after Sohaila? We really couldn’t go for Beth, or Mary, or Pam. So Seanna it is. I like it.
I know, I know. After Sohaila was born it took me all of 4 days to write my thesis on Fatherhood and Labor. Not that the 2 are linked in any way. And this one took me 16 days. I’m a little older and wiser now. Not to mention lazier as well. But at least you are getting the scoop within the first month. Here’s how it went down.
Remember about 18 months ago? You all got this dissertation presenting Sohaila to the world?
Yup. I am pleased to say it will not take 4 pages to document 40+ hours of labor this time around. How about 3 hours of hard labor? Yea you heard me 3 hours of pain as opposed to 40+ hours of wailing bloody murder. There is a God…
7 a.m. October 18th Saturday morning. Westin Hotel, San Diego, CA
Here is a perfect example of whom I am married to. Our due date is the 17th of October. That would be yesterday. And we are at a marriage retreat in San Diego. There is no fear in my wife. I have kind of just learned to go with the flow and when things turn ugly I’ll step in. We spent the evening before in a few good seminars while everyone stared at me thinking…”I can’t believe Carlos dragged his poor pregnant wife to this retreat!!! For God’s sake!!! She is due today!!!” No one actually said anything, but if looks could kill… So at marriage conferences you are supposed to look cute and lovey dubby. As a man you are supposed to look like you want to be there while holding your wife’s hand. It is the perfect place to let everyone know that your marriage is perfect. You get cute little goody bags with all kinds of cute things inside. Like candles. Maybe cookies. Sometimes even some scriptures to meditate on before you snuggle up for bed. And yes. We got those things. But at Sandals Church we always seem to go a step farther. So there is a convenient little pack of extra strength Tylenol with a note attached reading…”Now you have no excuses” The married people at Sandals make no qualms about it. This weekend was about 2 things. God and getting it on. I love my church. So I took the Tylenol and followed the directions. Now for those if us with children we all know that “getting it on” brings along labor faster than a speeding bullet. 7 hours later I wake up to Heather and a stopwatch. It is Saturday morning. Labor has begun. She is having light contractions. But contractions nonetheless. My vote is let’s get home so she can rest there. Once again I am overruled. She claims she is fine and reminded me that Sohaila took 40+ hours of hard labor and she was not even in that much pain at the moment. So off to the sessions we went. Once again I got the stares from the people and smiled politely back. Little did they know I was the hostage here.
I found it rather humorous though that every 5 minutes or so Heather would tighten up and grimace for about 30 seconds and then continue taking notes on how I could be a better husband. J When the seminars were over we went to have lunch. Then went shopping at AE and the Gap. Finally Heather said it was OK to head back to the dirtyside, my home Riverside. Thank God
4 p.m. Riverside, CA
So by now I am wondering what is going on here? Where was all the moaning and groaning? Maybe we were destined for a weeklong labor. Heather sent me to Papa Johns for some grub. My mom and her stayed at the house with Sohaila. Her contractions were getting a little stronger. But nothing relatively close to the first child. We thought this kid was still 20 or so hours away. As I normally do, I took a little longer than needed to get my errands done. I stopped by the office, stopped by a buddies apt. bought a 64 oz. Cherry coke slurpee @ 7-11. Took the scenic route home…
I cruise back up my driveway and park in the garage. I walk in to a pretty peaceful scene. Grandma on the sofa with Sohaila reading a book. The Joe Schmo Show recording on my TIVO. But there is no sign of Heather. I walk into the bedroom and find my wife moaning on the bed…”Hee Hee Hee Whooooo” She is beginning to get that demented look on her face. The one I never want to see again. We both come to the conclusion that we won’t go to the hospital because they will just send us home like they did with Sohaila. We will try to tough it out during the night.
Sohaila is not to hip on seeing and hearing mommy in this much pain. But in our little 2-bedroom home there is not much room to hide. So around 8 we decided to head out to Kaiser knowing that the chances of being sent home were pretty big. But our house was getting smaller by the minute. About a block away from home Heather is screaming for me to pull over. What? OK. I pulled over. No questions. About 1 minute later we were off again. 2 blocks later…”PULL OVER!!!” At this rate we will make it to Kaiser in 12 hours. So I simply stated that bit of information. WRONG MOVE. My wife is not a cusser. She is quite the lady. But those rules seem to go out the window whenever labor is involved. She proceeded to fill me in on the amount of pain she was in and how I just needed to be quiet and obedient until this child comes out. Now that was the edited version. I actually thought is was pretty cool to hear her swear like that. It reminds me that she was not raised in a Baptist minister’s home as I was. Now she just lives with one. J I was wondering why she was not able to sit down the whole way to the hospital. She was kind of in this half stretched stand up sideways position the whole way there. I thought this was weird. But I learned not so state my opinion only moments before. So I just “thought” and did not speak. Well after a few more stops and @$^**&^!!!’s later we arrived at the hospital. Our 10 minute ride was more like 30 minutes. But we made it. Dear God. Please let us be admitted so my epidural loving wife could get her drugs. It would make my life that much easier.
We rolled into the parking lot and I sprinted out to go and get a wheelchair. Heather was not going to get far on her little legs. She was really hurting now. I liken it to about hour 24 of labor with Sohaila. But even at this much pain they sent us home last time. So I was prepared. Once again Heather flexed into that half stretched stand up sideways position as she boarded the wheel chair. She swore that she couldn’t sit down. I wanted so bad to explain how it is one sits down. Place your behind on the seat and rest. I will then wheel you to a doctor. But of course I resisted and it took us 15 minutes to get to Labor and delivery. Yea. 15 minutes from the parking lot. We are talking about a 2-minute walk. But the wheelchair express was sidelined every few minutes so she could hee hee hee whoo. When we finally reached the third floor I sensed something was different. Heather was absolutely delirious. I never saw her like this the first time. She was in pain but never like this. She could barely move from her half stretched stand up sideways position. As I was joking with the labor and delivery nurses I heard this noise. Like nothing I have ever heard before. Heathers voice dropped about 6 octives. She sounded like Barry White coming off a acid trip. Seriously. Demonic sounding. “C A R L O S… COME.” At that very moment time stood still. The nurses all stopped in their tracks and looked at me like, “did that just come out of your wife?!!!?” All joking stopped and everyone went to work hooking my wife up to all the wires that beep and make me nervous.
Now my wife is a stud. We all acknowledge that. She deals with life one day at a time and rarely if ever gets rattled. There is this book that we went over at the marriage retreat called “Men are like waffles and Women are like Spaghetti” It’s premise is that men think in boxes. Kinda like a waffle. We can only be in one box at a time. Our thoughts are focused. We have a TV box. A garage box. A computer box. Ect. Women on the other hand are like spaghetti. Their thoughts and feelings flow together like noodles. They go from one thought to another without a second thought. Emotional spaghetti. Everything I know about Heather and I is that I am the emotional spaghetti and she is the focused waffle. We always do things backwards. All this to say. I am pretty much an emotional wreck right now. On the outside I look like the valiant stern husband looking out for his wife. On the inside I am jelly. Heather is strapped to this bed wailing that she wants to die. Me too honey. The nurses are trying to calm her down. At this moment in time Heather has moved on to a new “box” in her waffle. It is called the epidural box. She looks at the midwife and begs her to admit us so she can get her epidural. I am begging as well. At Kaiser they do not admit you until you are 3 centimeters dilated. You have the baby at 10 centimeters. With Sohaila were at 2 centimeters for like 24 hours. So you know my concern. Please tell me we are at least 3 centimeters so we can get admitted and give my wife some drugs, tequila, or anything numbing. Heather is all about not doing the natural thing. Some people claim you and your baby feel closer after a natural birth. Heather has no intention on feeling warm and snuggly during birth. Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. Since we have only been in mucho pain for about 3 hours I am preparing for the worst. A long car ride home to hee hee hee whoo for a few more unbearable hours.
Midwife checks Heather. Looks at me for a long second with a slight look of concern on her face and then smiles to let us know we will be admitted. That good news lasted all of 3 seconds. At least I got to Heather smile for a few seconds. Because she then went on to inform us that Heather is over 9 centimeters dilated. “Your joking right?”, I said. The nurse went on to inform us that Sue the midwife does not joke about that stuff. Heather desperately looked deep within Sue’s eyes and with her bottom lip outstretched spoke, “But what about my epidural?” BAD NEWS. We missed the epidural window by a few hours. Sue looks back at Heather and informs her that this baby is coming out in a few minutes. Crap. Heather went on to declare to the ward that she had no intention of delivering this baby without drugs. I wanted to tell her that gravity has more power that her mouth right now. She was having this baby naturally. No going back now.
Heather is the anal organized one. We had the call list to call people when we were admitted, when we had the baby, and when we got home. We had a bag for the waiting room friends full of board games, donuts, and magazines. We had a plan of attack for Sohaila and a babysitter to be called at all hours of the night, It was all planned. Heathers mom was in Pasadena. My mom 10 minutes away. Neither had enough time to make it before Seanna made her way into my world. All plans were spoiled. This kid wanted out.
Heather wants to push but the midwife tells her she has to wait a minute. Not knowing we were going to have a baby within 30 minutes I left all the cameras in the car. Heather has enough energy to demand I run to the car and get the camera. The nurses warn that I will probably miss the birth if I leave for 5 minutes. Heather cares not. She sends me out. I sprint like the days I was a Shamrock Dragon out to the Camry and make it back to the room as all the lights and doctors were asking Heather to push. 3 pushes later. Splash. I’m a father of 2. As Heathers head slowly rotated back to its original position I felt it necessary to spout out a few unnecessary hippie, granola, tree hugger, natural childbirth props out to my wife. I asked her if going natural was everything she had always dreamed of? Remember I said she only cussed when in labor. Well I take that back. Add 10 minutes after labor to that.
Seanna Jess Whittaker is my black baby. Sohaila came out white as a cloud. Seanna is representing Mexico well. She is almost as black as Ramu Naidu. Like an old Fat Boys lyric states, “One is black and the other is white, they never get in trouble and they never ever fight”. Seanna is healthy and took to breast feeding like white on rice. The moms made it and comforted my hero Heather. Her best friends made it and gave her some love. I just kept thinking how only hours earlier we were in San Diego shopping. Wow.
Sunday October 19th 10:00 am
12 hours later we are home. Heather was ready to get back home. So home we went. I have to admit I was a bit worried about Sohaila. 18 months old is fairly young to bring another baby into her world. I thought it was going to be on. Seanna didn’t stand a chance against the brute force I will simply refer to as Sohaila. Man was I wrong. If we take Seanna out of Sohaila’s sight Sohaila cries. If she is not in a place where she can touch her she cries. If she has her in her lap, she is in heaven. Thank You Lord.
OK. So I went a little longer than I expected. But how does one explain his daughter’s birth in less than 5 pages? If you are one of my best friends and just now are finding out about this journey I will not apologize. You should feel privileged that I felt close enough to you to know you would not be mad. If you are family and did not know about this happening. There is no excuse. I’m sorry. But for all others, feel free to let me know that you got this gem of a thesis. I love you all.
OK. You must have QuickTime installed on your computer
To install QuickTime for free click here http://www.quicktime.com
But more than likely you have it.
Now. I must beg you to have patience here. If you are on some sort of high-speed connection like DSL or Cable it will take 2 minutes or so.
If you are dialing up. Go take a walk, but it will be worth it. Maybe 10-12 minutes.
It is a 5 Meg file.
Click here and be patient for SEANNA!!!
Love to you all. Let me know if you got it…This means click “reply” so I can make sure I have bragged to everyone. J
“Never seen nobody move the way she did. Well she did and she does and she do it again”
– Jack Johnson, Bubble Toes
Ahhh. What a day.