January 25, 2010

Again, For the Record

It's a largely unmentioned fact within my household that I actually videotaped the birth of my son. My wife is aware I did it, but she doesn't seem at all interested in knowing much more than that, while my son seems more intent on basically putting everything he can grab into his mouth.

It was never really my intention to videotape the birth, and in retrospect I did so more as a means of focusing my attention to relieve some of the stress I was feeling as my wife underwent a c-section, which was described to us at the time as "major surgery."

Had it been a regular birth, I most likely wouldn't have recorded it, since my wife would have probably punched me in the groin so hard, I'd be speaking in a voice three octaves higher than normal even today. As it was, recording my son being pulled out of an abdominal incision didn't seem so taboo, since my wife will hopefully never have to urinate out of that.

The fact I even had a video camera on hand at all was something of a happenstance. The month prior to the baby's delivery, I had won a high definition Flip video camera, thanks to a Pepsi sweepstakes program, which speaks more to my perpetual intake of Diet Pepsi than to my good fortune, but I'm okay with that.

For those unfamiliar with Flip video cameras, they pack an amazing amount of digital video capability into an impossibly small device, no bigger than a deck of playing cards. The very idea your average person on the street can be packing such a calibre of digital video heat is rather astounding. Every minor human accomplishment or foible can now potentially be caught on video and uploaded to YouTube -- something to keep in mind when you're considering wearing that pair of shorts with the small hole in the rear.

Anyway, I had slid the camera into my pocket just prior to entering the operating room and, upon seeing my shocked and convulsively shaking wife on the operating table, I automatically grabbed the camera, since it represented about the only thing in the room that didn't make me feel completely helpless.

At first, I was intent on staying behind the partition separating my wife's head and arms from the surgically controlled chaos being perfomed on the other side, but eventually, curiousity got the better of me and I peered over the divide and witnessed a scene that was both terrifying yet utterly fascinating.

When I first brought the camera up to my face, it occurred to me how much it probably looked like I was drawing a pistol, which would explain the seemingly surprised looks on the faces of some of the surgical staff. One of the surgeons even briefly dropped a tweezer-like instrument, although that was probably due to the slippery nature of fresh human blood rather than because I was standing there recording the whole thing.

I've witnessed surgeries before, but I'm always surprised by how forceful and fairly violent the procedures can be. When you imagine doctors conducting surgery on you, you like to envision them being extraordinarily delicate, like petting a porcupine. The reality is they force their hands into incisions that look impossibly small, and they use retracting devices that would no doubt make Spanish Inquisition torturers swoon. Surgeons tug, and pull and yank human tissue like a gaggle of women fighting over clothes during a blue light sale special.

When it finally came time to remove my son from the womb, a surgeon pushed his arm so far into my wife's abdomen, I wondered--if I looked down at my wife's face--whether I'd see the surgeon's fingers sticking out of her mouth. After a couple jerking motions, and the surgeon saying "I got it," my son was pulled limply free from my wife's body and I remember thinking "this is not at all how I imagined it."

Which is kind of ironic, because I've been saying "this is not at all how I imagined it," at least twelve times a day ever since my wife's c-section.

Posted by Ryan at January 25, 2010 09:24 PM | TrackBack

I did not look over the top of the curtain but I did hold the camera up over the top and took stills. One of which is a pretty damned awesome pic (http://flic.kr/p/f1rbY), if I do say so myself.

And no, not much has been at all like I imagined it before kids. That's both good and bad!

Posted by: Erik at January 26, 2010 05:46 PM
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