On September 3, 1986, Beth called me at work and said, “Today’s the day.” As in, her OB-GYN was scheduling a C-section for later that day to deliver our son.
Because Beth’s a type 1 diabetic she routinely—thanks to the kindness of friends—made twice-weekly visits to the doctor to monitor things. So I was used to getting calls to report on her visit, and I also was used to it being good news—her pregnancy went remarkably well. Since this was three weeks before the due date, though, I wasn’t quite prepared to find out it was happening THAT DAY. I went all Dick Van Dyke driving Laura to the hospital, stammering and mumbling, “It’s today, it’s TODAY.”
Well, as readers of this blog—or of Beth’s memoir Long Time, No See— already know, things didn’t go swimmingly. I went home that night, leaving Beth to float on a painkiller cloud at the hospital, and having been told that our son Gus had roughly a 50-50 chance of making it through the night.
Well he made it. There was a month in neonatal intensive care, and a lot of two steps forward and one step back—when the bilirubins (great band name) were finally down to normal there was a new respiratory thing, after that….
But he did get better and stronger. On the day before he came home, however, we got the crushing news that he had a very rare genetic disorder called trisomy 12p. What very little was known about it was all very bad.
One good thing about the lack of information, though, was that we didn’t know anything about expected life span. We knew it was likely to be shorter than normal, but even that wasn’t a sure thing.
And so, it was one day at a time. And the days have added up. Gus will reach the ripe old age of thirty come Saturday. We’ll probably get him and his roommates some Chinese food.
This week, it’s not complicated. Here’s to your 30th, Gus.