It was 12:25PM, August 8, 1991.
It’d been two and a half days. since the labor had started – late Monday night, at the corner of First Avenue and Eighth Street, outside the Target Center. We’d been at the “KDWB Star Party”; one of the few bennies, at least for me, of working at KDWB was the concert tickets. And Bun, in the womb throughout the previous nine months, had always mellowed out when loud R&B music came on in the nightclub where I (and Bun’s mother, who worked in the same bar, and who I long ago promised never to write about in this blog, and I won’t, except to affirm that my daughter Bun does in fact have a mother) worked. But not that night. Months of kicking – Bun was a hyperactive little thing – turned into actual contractions.
For two days.
And finally, on Wednesday, August 7, around 4PM, the contractions dropped down to less than five minutes apart. We raced to the hospital – Regions today, Ramsey County back then…
…where an arrogant little Hindi resident timed the contractions at just over seven minutes. She sent us home…
…where they promptly dropped to ninety seconds apart. Which led to another frantic drive to Ramsey, where they stayed at every ninety seconds…
…for the next eighteen hours.
It was a little after noon when, fogged with fatigue, I noticed that we weren’t alone in the room anymore. There were nine doctors and eight nurses (or so I recall), and one of the doctors was holding what looked like salad tongs, and it occurred to me that “they didn’t talk about this in childbirth class”.
And out of the daze, at 12:25PM, came a little baby girl (I discovered it for the first time; we wanted it to be a surprise), pale and covered in blood and disconcertingly quiet. She’d been in some form of fetal distress – hence the crowd of doctors and the salad tongs. But in a moment or two, she caught her wind, and that moment after birth was the last quiet moment any of us ever had.
And I stopped measuring time from when I started my life in the big city, and started measuring it in terms of a family. And it’d be almost fifteen years before it’d occur to me to think a whole lot about the five and a half years before, when I’d started in Jamestown North Dakota a newly-minted college graduate, who got tired of waiting for his real life to begin, and decided on a drunken whim to move to the big city.
Bun came first. A year and a half later came Zam. Two weeks later, my first IT job, as a technical writer at a packaging engineering company, writing “how-to” manuals for machines that put Wheat Thins into bags and stuffed the bags into boxes (I’m not making that up), which led to jobs writing everything from the business plan for a supercomputer company software division to a user guide to a system that brokered end-cap space at grocery stores to the highest bidders. And then – driven by the same restless boredom that had led me to Minneapolis in the first place – into teaching myself a new trade, one that hadn’t really taken off in the Twin Cities yet, “User Centered Design”, by which a guy with a BA in English could become an IT mover and shaker.
But that was all in the next seven years. Twenty years ago today, I was a nightclub DJ and part-time radio guy, bored out of his mind and living one paycheck away from oblivion who still harbored ambitions of breaking back into radio, but was starting to realize it could never happen. Not in this life – the life I was in, at that moment.
Now, I was Dad.
And all my time got measured from that moment, from then on.
I think this is the end of Twenty Years Ago Today. I started the series in September of 2005, really more as a present to my kids – so they could know, perhaps, what and who I was before they were born, in the event it ever occurs to them to wonder – than as something that fit into this blog.
From here on to the present day? They are the story. And they were both there for all of it.
Oh yeah – and happy birthday, Bun!