newborn infantYou want to know what it’s like to be a parent? Have a chat with my friend Pat.

“I didn’t think it was possible to hurt so bad and feel so good on the same day.”

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? Just wait until you hear the story of what happened to his wife and son, and the inside part of you that aches for every bad thing that happens to every parent and child on the planet will swell.

Pat has been very excited for the birth of his first son. So excited he shunned most of the superstitions by not only sharing that he was having a boy, but also boldly announced his son-to-be’s first middle and last names to anyone who would listen. He was giddy.

Last week, a few days before his son’s actual due date, his wife woke up in the middle of the night bleeding terribly. It wasn’t her blood.

The blood flow had reversed in the umbilical cord. Their son was bleeding out.

The ambulance was called and an emergency c-section was performed. Pat watched as his pale, white son was born. “This white,” he said pointing at a paper towel as he told me the story. “White. White-white,” he underlined.

His son was dead.

“I didn’t think it was possible to hurt so bad and feel so good on the same day.”

For 10 minutes a flock of medics worked on his son. He was given 200 units of blood. Later Pat would find out that most newborns only have nearly 300 units of blood in their tiny bodies. It was the longest 10 minutes of his life. Eventually the doctors got that little body working again. The blood flowed, the lungs heaved, and that little guy was born a second time.

Tears welled inside me as Pat told me the story, and they well inside me again as I recount his story here. It’s that feeling you got when you heard the headlines from Sandy Hook. It’s the feeling you got when you hear about the toddler who dies accidentally. It’s the feeling you get when you see the commercials for The St Jude. You and I may not have ever experienced the loss of a child, or the dramatic birth story that Pat shared with me, but we get it.

“I didn’t think it was possible to hurt so bad and feel so good on the same day.”

Welcome to parenthood, my friend. There’s a lot more where that came from.

This article was originally written in the summer of 2013.

 

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