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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Dieter

Thirty two years ago I had a baby boy.

Seventy two hours earlier I was knitting booties, while chestnuts were roasting on the stove top.  Labor announced itself with a nagging back pain and since the pregnancy was only seven months along, my doctor suggested that I check in to hospital right away.

No sooner had I arrived in the hospital or the labor pains stopped.  Now what?  They would let me go home because of the risk of infection, but I didn’t feel like spending the next two months cooped up in a room.

Fortunately my son (I always knew I was going to have a boy) felt the same way.  He had been kicking and punching for a few months, but now he started in earnest.  He didn’t want to be cooped up any longer than necessary either.

Family and friends made the usual jokes … baby was going to be a soccer player or a boxer.  They were wrong.  As it turned out, baby was geared up to be a future ten-pin bowler and he was practicing his strikes and spares.

On November 7th, at 11:00 a.m. he made it known that he wanted to be born.  On November 8th, at 7:55 a.m. he finally made his entrance.  All four pounds him.

Happy birthday Dieter. 

No sooner was he born or he was carted off and placed in an incubator where he remained for the next four weeks.  While other incubator babies made rapid progress, Dieter lost weight.  He was almost constantly asleep.  At feeding time the nurses had to wake him up.  While sucking his bottle, they had to shake him to stay awake.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes the effort of sucking was too much and Dieter was off to dreamland again.

On December 1st I nearly had a heart attack.  During my daily baby visit to the hospital I noticed that Dieter’s incubator was empty and open.  Nailed to the ground I stood there, not willing or able to move.

When one of the nurses saw me, she waved me over.  Slowly, every step being a huge effort, I approached.  When I was close enough, the nurses pointed to a bed where Dieter was sleeping.  He was finally strong enough to breathe on his own.

Four weeks later, on December 30th to be exact, he was discharged from hospital and placed into my care.  Apparently I didn’t do too bad because not only did the tiny baby grow into a 6 feet 4 inches adult, the boy grew up the finest man I have ever known.  Of course, that’s just my opinion.

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