top of page

Congratulations! You Have a...

When Sandy and I discovered we were having a baby in 1986, less than two years into our marriage, we were ecstatic! Some “forward thinkers” of our generation were submitting to ultrasounds and amniocentesis to determine their babies’ gender, but gender reveals were only a twinkle in some grandmother’s eye in those days. Sandy and I preferred not knowing, decking the nursery out in pinks and blues, praying only for a healthy baby with the anticipation of the best surprise gift ever, whom we called Cupcake for the duration.

Sandy’s doctor had a sweet little student nurse from a nearby college who had followed us through our entire pregnancy as part of her education, and we had attended Lamaze classes at the hospital to learn all about bringing babies into the world. The classes were led by a battle-axe nurse who, we learned, would also be our delivery nurse. From the moment I was the only father in the room who already carried a handkerchief in his back pocket when she asked, I was a marked man! She especially enjoyed when I got a little queasy and faint watching the video about cesarean sections, and my explaining I’d been fasting that day only made matters worse! We found out a week before the due date that the baby had not turned so Sandy would indeed deliver via C-section. Of course!

They scheduled the surgery for the morning of October 24, 1986. The afternoon before, Sandy and I took a drive out into the hills around southwest Ohio and across the dam to see the beautiful fall colors because we knew the leaves would have all fallen by the time Sandy recovered from her surgery. We were ready for our best surprise ever!

When we arrived at the hospital, the surgical team was ahead of schedule; and Sandy was quickly prepped and whisked into the operating room. Battleaxe threw me a set of paper scrubs and showed me to the bathroom to put them on. Unfortunately, as soon as I pulled up the pants, they ripped up the back seat! Having nothing else to put on, I put on the shirt and sidled out of the bathroom with my back to the wall. In the hallway, our vivacious student nurse, all bubbly and yammering her enthusiasm for the day, met me. I finally slid in a word to tell her I had split out my pants and to ask for a larger pair. To her credit, she immediately comprehended the gravity of my plight and flitted away in search, all business. She returned quickly, Battleaxe in tow.

"So you split those out, did you?!? Here! Just throw these on top! We gotta go!" She threw an extra-large pair of cloth scrub pants at me (Where were these in the first place?!?), I scrambled into them in the hall, and they pushed me through a door and into the operating room!

Sandy was all set up on the operating table, and they had already begun the procedure. They seated me on a stool near Sandy’s head, and there was a cloth screen across her chest: I could choose to stand and look or not.

Once the doctor was “in,” he said, "Well, look at that. She's doing a pull up on Mommy’s ribs!" and that was the first word that we had a baby girl! Katharine Elizabeth “Kate” had arrived! The doctor extricated our daughter and turned her toward us so we could see our precious gift.

"Oh my gosh, it's my mother!" spilled out before I could even think! These were decidedly not the words my beloved wanted to hear in that moment.

The doctor attempted to save me: "Oh, that's right, you wanted to see those fibroids, didn't you?" and just like that, I was staring at my wife’s uterus! No queasiness, no fainting – my adrenaline kept me on my feet, smiling broadly. Sandy was less than amused.

Kate had disappeared with the nurses – she’d been a bit gray and wasn’t crying at birth so they’d taken her off to raise her Apgar score – but now I heard her squalling in the next room and went to find her. Her color was much better, and she was, of course, perfect! The nurses finished swaddling her, and I carried her back to Sandy for a quick, conciliatory snuggle before the anesthetist put her back to sleep to finish the surgery. The nurses then took Kate to the nursery for a bit while I got out of my scrubs, get dressed, and waited to be ushered to our hospital room.

We had a daughter! The boys’ names all went into storage; and Katharine Elizabeth she was, named after Sandy’s mother Elizabeth Katharine and my favorite actress at the time, Katharine Hepburn. Cupcake became Cup-Kate, Bud became Rosebud, and little dresses quickly filled the pink and blue nursery. Best surprise ever!

53 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Learning to Blog at Fartingduck Acres

Quite frankly, or quack frightly, this has been a fun day. This is the content of the blog I am writing at Lenore's instruction; and it's fascinating, if I must say so myself. I'm quite finished.


Nancy F. Low
Nancy F. Low

A well written reminisce of a special time. I do enjoy your humor! Thank you for sharing.


Mike…. We can so relate to this well written piece of family history! Our Kate, a 9 year surprise waiting in the wings, didn’t turn and necessitated a c-section, even after trying inversion procedure! Her name was also chosen because of K Hepburn plus my two great Aunts! Thanks for the memories.



Great story Mike! Love “She’s doing a pull up on Mommys ribs”!

Thanks for blogging!!

Nancy Renko
Nancy Renko

What a beautiful memory ! Lots of emotion peppered with humor makes this piece outstanding.

bottom of page