You know how you have those events in your lifetime that you remember every detail of? October 19, 2008 will be one of those days for me. The excitement, the fear, the relief and the gratitude.
Some day, little A.J. can read about the miracle of his birth, thanks to my scrapbook page. My photographs didn’t turn out well (thanks to hospital lighting), but the photograph of father and daughter is one I’ll treasure forever.
The journaling reads as follows:
It started with a phone call at 8:30 p.m. on October 19th. "MOM, I think I'm in labor!" I tried to keep her calm, and told her to call the answering service. She had been suffering all day with a terrible case of the stomach flu. Ten minutes later, Jimmy called back to tell us that the doctor wanted to see her at the hospital. Her due date was still three weeks away, but little A. J. seemed to be in a hurry. As I stepped off the elevator on the third floor, I could hear her screaming. As Jimmy told me later, he felt we were "living an episode of ER, but this was happening to us." As nurses crowded around her, I tried to answer their questions. One nurse told me that most likely the sever stomach flu had forced her into labor. I heard someone say she was 9 centimeters dilated. Then her doctor appeared in the doorway and everything else seemed a blur - nurses tossing gowns to Jimmy and I and the doctor asking Colleen if she wanted to push, and then suddenly rushing her across the hall to surgery. Within minutes, we wer in our gowns and rushing through the door, only to be met by a nurse who told us they were doing an emergency c-section and we would have to wait in the hall. It couldn't have been more than three minutes and the nurse returned to tell us that the baby had been born and both of them were "ok" and the doctor would be out soon to talk with us. I walked down the hall looking for Bob and the kids, only to be met by my dear friend Mary Lou - with camera in hand. Within minutes, family started to arrive. Jimmy and Colleen left their home at 9:00. Andrew Joseph Van Fleit was born at 9:39 p.m. on his Grandpa Bob's birthday. The details of this night have been shared on more than one occasion, but the reality is that Colleen was "abrupting" and the doctor and staff had a matter of minutes to deliver the baby safely. For me, the most touching moment was when I saw Bob lean over her bed and I was able to capture it (thanks to Mary Lou's camera). From there, he went to meet his grandson. Every time I look at little A. J., I thank God for the "miracle" that he is.