Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Odie wants out.

He dropped significantly in the past couple of days, leading Superwife and I to believe that he's packing his bags. He's definitely active, and SW is known for popping early (Monkey 1 six weeks early, Monkey 2 eight weeks early). Our second kicked hard in response to external stimuli from the pre-natal idiot they had in the hospital at Yokota and broke his water, resulting in his two week stay in the NICU. My current goal is to keep Odie in there as long as possible, but it's starting to appear that he has other plans.

When Sam was born SW's blood pressure was high. The preferred method of treatment by he docs at Yokota AB in Japan was to check bi-weekly that the baby was still responding the way he was supposed to (neither I nor SW (an RN) knew why they were doing this). So every other week she would go in and they would strap a buzzer to her belly and zap it, presumably to startle the baby and get him to kick. SW's awareness of how much he was moving was apparently not good enough.

On one particular cold Thursday in March of 2001, I took the Princess (who was 21 months old at the time) out to run errands while SW went for her bi-weekly buzzing. I clearly remember singing "You Are My Sunshine" with her on the ride home, while SW was in a hospital bed.

As soon as I got home I ordered a pizza for supper, something we do quite a bit. SW was supposed to be home around 1800 or so, like normal. By 1830 I was getting a little concerned. At 1845 I got a call from the hospital. I remember staring at the phone ringing and my heart just sinking.

"You might want to get to the hospital," the nurse in the line announced joyfully. She clearly didn't know that the Cowboy wasn't supposed to be here for another two months. "Your wife's in labor."

I've gone through a military college, had engines on fire at max weight over cities, had instrumentation failures as a solo student, and almost ran out of gas one time--but I've never experienced sheer panic.

I did that day.

If you ever have the opporunity it is an enlightening experience to see what your reaction will be. Mine was motion. Just a lot of running back and forth and thoughts running through my head like crazy. I went from the front of the apartment in base housing to the back twelve times and never grabbed anything or got anything accomplished. The whole time the Princess sitting in her diaper on the floor watching Daddy finally lose his mind. We didn't have any preparations done--no bag packed, no diapers bought, no crib built. It took me a half an hour to get the bag together. And the pizza guy showed up. I think I gave him a fifty and slammed the door.

The hospital was just across the street, so I walked over with the Princess, the bag, and a pizza.

I guess I thought she'd be hungry.

There were a lot of things that were done out of whack with the delivery--they tried to hold off the birth for as long as they could because they couldn't decide whether or not he would be born there or we would be airevac'd out to Okinawa. That part was particularly frustrating for me, since my first three years of flying were spent flying C-9A Nightingales, the Air Force's airevac aircraft. I knew by heart the reaction time and flight time to Kadena AB. We could have made it easily. They just waited too long to make a decision.

When they finally let SW push, the Cowboy came out in a heartbeat. He was tiny--and we got to hold him for a grand total of about 30 seconds. They immediately put him in an incubator, loaded him in an ambulance, and told us that they weren't sure if he'd have to be in the NICU for long. It was the last time we would touch him for two weeks.

Since Yokota AB doesn't have a NICU (like Kadena, had they flwon us there like they should have), they had to take him to a Japanese NICU. Once SW was recovered and in her hospital bed, I was tasked with going after the Cowboy. After being stationed in Germany, I got used to the locals speaking English, or at least being able to read the signs. Not so in Japan, which may be one of the reasons we hated it so much there. The traffic is unbelieveable, too. What should have been a 15 minute drive ended up being a 1.5 hour ride by myself before I finally found the hospital, which didn't look like a hospital. To add to the situation, no one in the hospital spoke English. I just wandered aimlessly looking for my son. You don't know frustration until you've tried this out for yourself.

When I finally found the NICU, they dressed me in robes and I scrubbed my hands about 20 times. They brought me around a quiet room until I was at the incubator. It was a different box than the one he left in--this one bigger with gages and wires all over it. Inside was the Cowboy, all five pounds of him, with tubes in his arms and one down his throat. He looked nothing like the child that left the hospital hours earlier. I sat next to him and stared through the glass, thankful that SW didn't have to be here to see this.

A couple of hours later I ended up back in SW's hospital room on Yokota. "Survivor: Australia" was on TV, a show we were watching because one of the best people on the show was from Texas. As soon as I tried to explain to her how her son was doing I broke down and cried. In all my life, I think that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

Two weeks later we got to hold him and take him home. He's a little smaller than most kids his age but his heart was definitely unscathed--he's the most compassionate person I've ever met.

So--that's why we're on pins and needles right now. The doc said that we're out of any "woods" that we may have been in with Cowboy, since we're a couple of weeks past that point with Odie. I'm thinking of starting a pool at work for guessing the due date.

In fact--I'm putting a poll on here just for fun. Take your best shot.

Odie will.


  1. Incidentally, I have no control over the advertisements that are splattered around the poll I put up. I honestly don't care if you want to find your sexy date today, meet people just for sex, or if every woman has their fantasies.

    Thanks for voting, anyway.

  2. prayers headed to you and the missus. I hope that Odie arrives healthy and happy...

  3. Sending positive vibes your way that little Ben is safe and sound.

    March 7.

    Afterall, daddy is "Lucky."

  4. Awww little Odie, stay and rest for a little bit! The world will be waiting for you!

    Good luck to you mom!

  5. Odie, it's cold out here. Stay where it's nice and warm for a while.

    I had the pleasure of giving birth to a 31-weeker. He spent 38 days in the NICU. My pressure was up to. I know how you must have felt (although I was NOT in Japan at the time!)Glad the little guy is doing well.

    Thanks for stopping by. I'll put your name on my list for those three things you requested... ;)