Back in September I wrote about the transformation that one goes through in becoming a grandparent. I noticed the profound effect it had on my dad, and I wondered what the addition of a special little girl in my life would do to me. Well, I don’t need to wonder anymore. After a long, exhausting 24 hour period, Chloe Angeline Harlow came into our lives at 3:03 a.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2011. I say it was exhausting because we drove up to Round Rock expecting for my daughter Jessica to be induced at 5 a.m. When we arrived at the hospital, Jessica was not there. The hospital said she was a no-show and I sat there wondering what had happened. It was then that I felt my phone vibrate and noticed that I received a message at 4 a.m. that the induction was postponed because of all the active labor cases they had.
We waited at Jessica’s house for the hospital to call. and waited. and waited. Finally, after several calls and complaints we were told to go to the hospital at 4 p.m. Everyone loaded up and booked it to the hospital, only to be told when we got there that between the time we got the call and we arrived at the hospital (about 20 minutes) they had received 4 women in labor. So again, we waited.
Finally, at about 6 the doctor came in, told Jess that they would start an IV with pitocin, wait about an hour, and then break her water. The nurse came in a while later with the pitocin, but noticed there was no IV stand. Out she went to get an IV stand. One hour later, another nurse showed up with the IV stand, left it in the room, and left. After another hour passed, the doctor came in expecting everything to be up and running, and there was the medication on the counter, and the IV in the other part of the room. To say that the doctor was pissed would be major understatement. Needless to say, after the doctor’s firm assertion that they get off their butts and get things done, the charge nurse came in and took care of things herself. This would be the start of the final hours of waiting for little Chloe to enter the world.
This was really a wonderful time. Jess had her hubby, mom and stepdad, her in-laws, her brother-in-law and wife, my wife and I all around while she started this little adventure of hers. Additionally, Erica was able to join us from Colombia via Skype to share this with her little sister.
Time was a bit of an issue because if she did not deliver by 6 a.m. I was not going to be able to be there. I had been scheduled for almost a year to make a presentation to a group of adult Scout leaders at a training conference. I had already changed the schedule of the conference around by swapping with another presenter from Friday to Saturday. I still had to drive 90 minutes back to San Antonio to make the presentation. At about 2 a.m. the course director called and told me not to worry about it, if I was not done I did not need to come back, he would have someone cover my presentation.
The last two hours were spent in the waiting room while Jess and Ian and Margie (Jess’ mom) stayed back in the delivery suite. Sometime after 3 Margie came out to tell us that Chloe was here, that Jess had done wonderfully, and that baby and mom were doing well. She showed us a couple of preliminary pics that we could enjoy until such time as we could all go back to see her.
Something changed in me that morning. I love my wife with all my heart. My daughters mean the world to me. Over the last 15 years I have developed a lasting love for the other new kids in my life, who I consider as mine as much as if I had sired them myself. When I held Chloe, however, a depth of feeling I had never had just enveloped me. Here in my arms was the product of the love that both mom and dad had received in all their lives, and the love they had for each other. Her swollen little eyes and beautiful sweet little face could not have been any more beautiful. I was (and always will be) madly in love with this little bundle that was wrapped up so tightly in her blankets.
So on this day that I reflect on the blessing in my life, I have a wonderful little girl that makes me smile. Speaking of smiles, I am thankful that my dental surgery went well. Considering the fact that they yanked out all my remaining teeth, screwed 8 titanium implants into my jaw, and then attached my new bridges all in one morning and afternoon, I came out of it in pretty good shape. Pain was not as bad as I thought, and I quit taking the Hydrocodone after the first day and relied on just ibuprofen. Although I am just dying to bite into a thick juicy steak, or just simply eat a nice warm fluffy tortilla, I know that taking my time and slowly working my way up to more solid foods will be worth it in the end.
What a difference. I am not embarrassed to smile, and although I still whistle a little when I talk, at least I can make myself understood. I gave that scout presentation 10 days after the surgery. I am amazed at how quickly I am healing. The most important thing is that I can take pictures with my little one with my choppers showing and not be afraid of what those ugly old teeth looked like.
Life has been pretty good to me. A lot of people wonder how I can say that considering all that I have gone through in my life. Well you know, I am still standing. Life may have knocked me down, but I kept getting up. Half the battle in life is getting back up after being knocked down. Many years ago I heard G. Gordon Liddy say something after being released from prison. He paraphrased Friedrich Nietzsche, saying “Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger.’ The original quote is “Out of life’s school of war: what does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” Either way you look at it, life has made me stronger. A rose-bush grows that much stronger and beautiful after undergoing an occasional pruning. I have had my share of pruning from life, but I am still kicking. For that I am truly grateful.