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.


John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS, in Vernal, Utah said...

Mr. Vanderboegh:

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" to your son, Matthew.

I remember you mentioning in an earlier post that he served in the 101st Airborne Division.

That was also my unit when I was in Viet Nam, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Today is also the birthday of one of America's greatest heroes, General Robert Edward Lee, which I've posted this day on my own web site, OUR ETERNAL STRUGGLE.

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

Old NFO said...

Happy Birthday to Matt, and prayers for his safety...

Bad Cyborg said...

Happy birthday, Matt. Glad to see you're still celebrating 'em.

Hang in there, Mike. I sympathize with your plight of not getting to see Matt's firstborn. I got one about to graduate High School that I've hardly had a chance to see. Fortunately not for the reason you don't see yours. My son lives the better part of 600 miles away.

Spend all the time you can with the new one, Mike. Holding your baby's baby is the definition of joy.

Bad Cyborg X

Firehand said...

Both my kids were premature, and son- at about six months old- had what I started referring to as 'a brush with SIDS'; he'd just stop breathing, but if something startled him he'd jerk and start up again.

He was on a monitor for about another six months as I recall, which did two good things as it worked out: it alerted us that he'd stopped breathing, and the alarm startled him and he'd start up again. Not a fun few months.

Now he's in his second hitch in the Army, two times in Iraq. Sometimes I find an old picture of him, like a tiny kid with a lapfull of kitten, and the contrast to now is kind of jarring. They do grow, don't they?

johnnyreb said...

Tell him Happy Birthday for me, and thanks for his service to our country.


Rhodes said...

My oldest son was also born under similar conditions, 7 weeks in NICU but hes a fine man today.
Ya done well dad.

Anonymous said...

Mr. V,

We never had children. Couldn't have them. How lucky you are. God Bless your son and be thankful you have him, as I'm so certain you are.

Along with birthday wishes for Matthew, I pray we get the hell out of the 'stan and Iraq.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations and felicitations to all.
Nothing better then family. Absolutely nothing.

B Woodman

Matt said...

Mr. Mike, God Bless you and your whole family.