A Dad Reflects on a Difficult Childbirth

A dad reflects on how his wife's challenging childbirth made their marriage even stronger.


Roman Grey

Roman Grey

Anne Thompson and I met on a blind date in an Irish bar. I was 33, two years divorced, and resigned to being on my own when a dark-haired beauty in a red dress asked if I was Steve. "Even if I wasn't, I'd say I was," I said. At least, when we tell the story now, six years after, that's what we say I said; I really just extended a suddenly sweaty hand and mumbled something about being glad to meet her. Five weeks later, I told her I was going to marry her. Seven months later, as we stood on the flanks of Mt. Rainier, I asked for her hand. She said yes. I'd never been so much in love.

Marriage and all that comes with it is a huge vote of confidence in the future. So we flowed forward. A year after we married, we bought a house. Then we had Luke. There wasn't much time to do the things we did when we were falling in love--the long runs together, the Sunday afternoon reading sessions on the couch with our legs entwined  but there was new stuff. Raising our son together gave me a sense of partnership that I'd never felt in my life. Things seemed limitless, and Anne so lovely.

We decided to have another child, who, in that spirit of limitlessness, turned into identical twins. Christine and Catherine were born via emergency C-section early last May at 31 weeks. The atmosphere in the delivery room was light until a jet of blood shot out of the incision and hit the ob-gyn square in the face. A nurse wiped off the blood while the surgeon started working furiously. The ob-gyn ordered eight units of blood and a dose of an anticoagulant drug. I'd had just enough first-aid training to know that the average adult body contains eight units of blood.

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