Fiona Elaine Hynes

“Yesterday, a child came out to wonder” spins off of the CD playing in the boom box in the maternity ward room. Kim is talking on the phone to a friend or relative; “Fiona Elaine was born yesterday morning at 7:52 in morning”. The TV is tuned to CNN but muted: “America strikes back!” “Fearful as the sky was filled with thunder, and tearful at the falling of a star”, Joni Mitchell sings. Kim and I are both tired. It was not an easy labor and there has been little sleep since.

“The water broke unexpectedly, Friday afternoon at 1:30. I had been having contractions on and off all day, so I laid down to rest,” Kim is explaining on the phone. “I was just getting up to go and pick up Miranda from chess club.” Miranda is my younger daughter from my first marriage. We were planning to drive to Kim’s dad’s house go hiking and hang out with them while waiting for the labor to begin in earnest.

When I went to get the towels to keep the breaking of the water from making too much of a mess, I noticed the fluid was green. “Meconium,” I thought. I pointed this out to Kim and we both knew what it meant. Kim would call the doctor. There would be a good chance that labor would need to be augmented.

Kim’s father and stepmother brought a bottle of champagne yesterday. This morning, I drove up to the house and got our wedding champagne flutes. The wedding had been eleven months ago. So much has gone on over the past year.

“And promises of someday fill his dreams” sounds from the CD player.

Here I am, dancing, holding Fiona in my arms, trying to get her to rest, as I drink my champagne, listen to Joni Mitchell and watch the headlines on CNN. “All diplomatic options have been tried, a senior administration official has been quoted as saying.”

“So, Richard was hoping that when my water broke, it would really get my labor going,” Kim is continuing to say. Richard is the obstetrician, a wonderful man, whom we have great trust in. Kim had never expected to have a male obstetrician “however, at four thirty, I still hadn’t dilated at all, so he put me on pitocin.”

When I was home getting the champagne flutes and feeding the dogs, I checked my email. I am on a lot of mailing lists, and a recurring theme is appreciating the joy and happiness in the midst of this time of grief and sadness.

“Airstrikes against the Taliban have begun….We expect this to be along drawn out affair” scrolls by on the headlines on the TV. “We can't return, we can only look behind…” sounds from the CD. Kim is saying, “The contractions continued to get stronger and stronger. At nine, Richard checked again and I still hadn’t dilated.”

I remember the look Richard gave me when he told the nurse. “It is too early to tell if ground troops will be sent in” scrolls on the TV. How would Kim take that? Her spirits already seemed a little bit down. My first worries about a C-section crossed my mind.

Kim’s stepmother called right about that time. They were taking the kids home. They were talking about driving back to their house. Tersely, I told them to just go straight to our house and wait things out.

“A second round of attacks has begun” scrolled on the TV. “And they tell him, take your time it won't be long now,” sounds from the CD player. Kim is telling her friend on the telephone, “So by eleven, the pain was unbearable. They gave me some morphine, but it didn’t do anything. Richard came in at twelve and I asked if there was anything else that I could get. He doubted that I had dilated enough to get an epidural, but they checked and I had”

There is something dreamlike in all of this, the terror, the war, the new baby, the music, the champagne. It is the first frost of the fall. The sky is a deep blue with big puffy clouds.

Kim’s conversation continues: “So, we managed to get a few hours sleep. At around four thirty, I was at nine centimeters. Aldon called my dad at around five thirty as I was starting to push. The epidural was wearing off, so I had good feeling in my legs and could push well. It was about two and a half hours of pushing.”

“Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true, There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty” sounds from the CD player.

Fiona weighed seven pounds, two ounces at birth. She was nineteen inches long. Like all parents, we believe that our new baby is the most beautiful, brightest, most special child.

Fiona gets her middle name from Kim’s mother. The room we are staying in looks to Kim a lot like the last room that her mother had stayed in when she was dying of cancer. Everyone says how much Fiona looks like Kim, but Kim thinks Fiona looks more like Kim’s mom.

And the seasons they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We're captive on the carousel of time

We can't return, we can only look behind

From where we came

And go round and round and round

In the circle game

And go round and round and round

In the circle game...

The song ends, and a new one begins. “Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air…”

Fiona Elaine Hynes will be baptized on November 4th. A year to the date after Kim and I got married, and the birthday of Kim’s mother, Janice Elaine Fallon.

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