Printer Friendly

`M' IS FOR MOTHER BABY SHOWS THAT LOVE MAKES ITS OWN HOLIDAYS.

Byline: CHRIS WEINKOPF

IN our family, Mother's Day came a little early this year. Two months early, actually, and it wasn't a day at all, just a fraction of a night. It was arguably the most harrowing 90 minutes of my life - and an amazing testament to maternal love.

Around dinnertime, my wife, Mary Kate, then three weeks into her ninth month of pregnancy, began to feel the early rumblings that suggested our baby might be with us soon. Having been down this road before, we decided we'd better get to bed early. Our daughter Monica, who was born just 14 months earlier, came after a drawn-out, 18-hour labor. We figured the next day would be a long one.

But we weren't in bed for 30 minutes before it became clear this delivery would be different. That's when Mary Kate's water broke, and the contractions suddenly came on, hard and fast, no more than two to four minutes apart.

The intensity of labor is unlike any other. Between contractions, everything is serene. Then a contraction hits, the pain level spikes, and a few seconds seem to drag on forever until the serenity returns, albeit briefly. Through it all, we managed to put in a call to the doctor, pack up our bags, awaken our daughter and load into the car.

It's a good 20-minute drive from our home to the hospital, a drive that was punctuated by the periodic, excruciating contractions. Keeping my focus on the traffic was made easier by vivid thoughts of the alternative - being one of those unlucky dads forced to deliver his child by the side of the road. Mary Kate managed to stay as gracious as one possibly can enduring labor while speeding down a bumpy freeway. Monica, miraculously, slept peacefully in the back.

We finally made it to the hospital, where a security guard, recognizing the severity of our situation, whisked Mary Kate inside in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, I met up with my mother-in-law in the parking lot, handed off Monica and then went searching for the maternity ward.

When I found it, it was as though I had walked onto the set of ``ER.'' Nurses were flying around the room, frantically shouting at one another. ``She's at nine centimeters!'' ``Call the doctor!'' ``Set up a table; this baby's coming now!''

My wife lay there, in obvious pain. ``Don't push,'' a flying nurse would occasionally shout down to her, ``not till the doctor arrives!'' Mary Kate pleaded for an epidural, but the labor was too far along for that. Of utterly no help, I just stood there, careful to avoid the nurses' flight paths. My mind raced with thoughts of all the horrible things that can go wrong during childbirth. All I could do was pray, and so I did, feverishly.

Our doctor showed up moments later, rousted from his home on a Friday night. Within minutes, he got to work. And while Mary Kate bravely endured a pain the likes of which I'll never know, the rest of us watched as our baby's head passed through the birth canal, then the shoulders. ...

And there he was. A boy. Our son. Covered in blood, his dark hair matted down against his head, he wailed furiously. He was beautiful.

Within seconds, the nurses placed little Kolbe - named for Maximilian Kolbe, a martyred saint we'd long admired - on Mary Kate's chest. And she sobbed.

This cry wasn't like the others that had come earlier in the night. It wasn't a cry of pain. Nor was it even a cry of relief, which, had I been the one on that bed, probably would have been my reaction.

Instead, it was a cry of profound joy.

It was a cry of awe, of gratitude. This little person, whom Mary Kate had cared for and loved for the last nine months but never known, was finally here, in her hands. She could touch his skin, hold him close, hear his cry. She could watch his chest rise with every breath, his tiny fists clench and unclench.

She struggled for the words to express her awe, but she didn't need them. She said it with her sobs.

All I could do was marvel at the heart of a woman who could overlook the ordeal she'd just gone through and see only the beauty of the precious blessing in her hands.

There's a name for people like that: moms.

Moms take on all the risks and sacrifices of their vocation, which are hardly limited to childbirth, not for what they stand to get, but for what they want to give. It will be many years, if ever, before Kolbe can even begin to fathom the depths of the love of the woman who wept as she held him, only moments after his birth.

It doesn't matter what Hallmark or the calendar says. This year, for us, Mother's Day came on that night.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Viewpoint
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 9, 2004
Words:821
Previous Article:EDITORIAL FANS FIRST.
Next Article:FUNN WITH NOMBERS AT SITTY HALL.


Related Articles
OCTOBER 1994: CARING FOR BABIES WAITING FOR ADOPTION; MEMORIES LINGER FOR TEMPORARY MOM.
MAKING A LIST ... TO TEST THE HOTTEST TOYS THIS SEASON FOR AGES 10 AND YOUNGER, WE CALLED IN THE EXPERTS.
Appreciating the diversity and complexity of humanity.
O'Connor, Barbara. Moonpie and Ivy.
Bare truth: as Bare: a Pop Opera storms off-Broadway, the musical's creators tell how their own lives inspired their passionate cult hit about two...
ARRIVAL OF BUSES AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR TEENAGE GIRLS CYA PROGRAM UNITES FAMILIES, DESPITE INCARCERATIONS.
Bill helps working, nursing mothers.
Tina Crnjak of Slovenia and Mary Cassatt.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters