Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Happy Birthday, Matthew, my son.
Matt, during a quiet moment on his second tour of Iraq.
Today is the 32nd birthday of my son Matthew Bradley Vanderboegh. (The "Matthew" was after 82nd Airborne commander Matthew Ridgeway and the "Bradley" for General Omar Bradley.) Hardly seems possible. We almost lost him at the beginning, there on what was later determined to be the busiest night the Ohio State University Hospital delivery room had ever seen. He was in distress (those of you of my age who had kids back then might remember the early fetal monitors that worked off a wire that was actually screwed into the baby's scalp while still in the womb) and we couldn't get a doctor or a nurse, so great was the press of other maternal business.
Finally, after being ignored for almost an hour and with Matthew's vitals deep in the red zone and failing, I went out to the nurse's station, waited for one to come flying by and waylaid her. I said, "Look the baby's been in distress for a while and no one has come back. Here's the deal. You get me a doctor and get me one now, or I'm going to be doing and saying things that I will regret later on. In fact, I'm going to start tearing this f-cking place apart." (For emphasis, I picked up a chart on the counter and threw it against the wall, where it came apart, scattering pages everywhere.) "So you get me a doctor and you get me one now." Without another word I turned and walked back into room.
The doctor came in two minutes later, took one look at the monitor, freaked out, and five minutes later my son was born -- badly distressed, severely jaundiced and having ingested large amounts of merconium (baby stool) -- but alive.
It was the proudest moment of life up to that point.
Since I worked at the hospital, I fully expected to get fired over it. No one ever said a word to me about the incident.
Matt is back from Iraq after his third tour now, with his family in Germany -- my daughter-in-law Nicole and their precocious, ferocious son Gabriel. His first-born son Mason Brennan lives with his mother (the faithless ex-wife) in Ohio. I will see them all in June and I can't wait.