Dad was always a bit squeamish when it came to pain or any kind of medical procedures. So it’s not surprising that he wasn’t exactly a “hands-on” Dad when it came time for Mom to give birth to me.
Even though Mom was 37 and I was her first (and as it turned out only) child, Mom had a surprisingly easy labor. Mom’s water broke while Dad was working one evening. He rushed home and off to the hospital they went. I was born a little after 10 p.m. Mom was only in labor for a few short hours. (Well, once the contractions kicked in, the hours may have stretched for Mom, ha.)
My dad holding me as a baby. Such a happy photo.
Apparently Dad disappeared shortly after Mom was taken to a hospital room and was being prepped to head to the delivery room. He took off in search of some aspirin for his “headache.” He probably needed something a bit stronger than that to get him through my birth!
But he was certainly eager to see me on my first day on this earth, even with a knot on my head and some wisps of red hair sticking out from it. To Dad, I was a perfect, beautiful baby.
Yesterday I wrote about how my dad defended me against a pint-sized bully when I was three years old. That sticks out in my mind because dad was typically hands-off as a parent, and let my mom handle the bulk of the parenting duties. This became more true as I got older, as I think it’s pretty typical that girls gravitate to their mothers when they approach adolescence.
But the summer I turned 13, my dad came to my defense in a big way. On one Saturday night, I started feeling very ill after dinner, with stomach cramps and nausea but still scarfed down the cherry pie that my mom presented for dessert because I didn’t want to worry her. Well, that plan backfired. Of course, I started feeling even worse and my mom offered some Pepto-Bismol but that didn’t help. It was probably just a bout of the stomach flu but as a teenager, everything seems more dramatic. It was a weekend night and back then I don’t think urgent care centers were as common so off to the ER we went. And of course, since my symptoms were vague and not acute, we were in for a long wait. I believe we were there for several hours, until after midnight. Over the course of the evening, I started feeling better, and they gave me some kind of medication to calm the stomach cramps.
They also had me submit a urine sample. When the doctor did his brief examination, he asked if I was sexually active. I was a bit shocked but said no. Well, this question made it back to my dad, and he was none too happy about it. He grilled the nurse and the doctor on why his barely 13-year-old daughter was being asked such a question. The medical staff, who I’m sure had seen plenty of pregnant 13-year-olds in their time, told my dad it was routine procedure. Dad backed off but he was still steamed. Of course, at the time, I was embarrassed that my dad would cause a scene like that (how dare he steal my thunder, I’m the one that’s sick here!) But looking back at it now, I think it’s sweet that my dad defended my honor without hesitation.