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Talk about birthing pains!
Why my daughters day giving birth found this veterinarian, with sweat dripping off my plastic chair, curled into a comma shape, as standing or sitting up straight was like jabbing a dagger in my kidney.
September was a busy month for the Brock clan. Two of our daughters were due to have babies. The oldest was having her fourth and the youngest her first. Great time to be a granddad.
It was Friday the 13th when the youngest child, Kimmi, went into labor. Early in the morning, my wife Kerri and I headed to Lubbock to the hospital where Kimmi was in labor-and where she works in labor and delivery as a nurse. Everyone on the floor was anxious to cheer her on.
As is usually the case, the husband and mother of the pregnant lady were in the room during all the action. The father of the pregnant lady was relegated to a stuffy waiting room somewhere down the hall with the other granddads-to-be. It was me, Kimmi's father-in-law Danny, and a few other relatives and strangers.
But about three hours into the wait and fun conversation with Danny, I felt a twinge in my right lower back, and a feeling of dread fell over me. No, please no, God, I thought to myself. Don't let this happen right now while my baby is having a baby!
No, please no, God, I thought to myself. Don't let this happen right now while my baby is having a baby!
Then the pain went away just as quick as it started, and I started to think everything was going to be OK. But it wasn't. An hour later, Danny had fallen asleep in a chair, and the real pain started. I started sweating all over. I could feel my heart racing in anticipation as well as from the pain.
Four times before I had endured the passing of a kidney stone, so I knew what was about to happen. But what was I gonna do? I couldn't go waltzing into the labor room and announce that Poppi was passing a stone. It would ruin what was supposed to be the most wonderful day ever. So I just sat there with sweat dripping off my plastic chair-now the most uncomfortable seat on the planet. Standing or sitting up straight was like jabbing a dagger in my kidney.
I knew my wife had some pain pills in the truck. She kept them there all the time just in case one of these dreadful moments occurred. They were about four years out of date, but I figured they'd still have some effect. The problem was, I didn't think I could walk that far.
In all my agony, I also became sound-sensitive. The voices of the people in the waiting room suddenly became the loudest, most obnoxious noises I'd ever heard. Every one of them seemed louder than a rock concert. There was a man out in the hall running a buffer over and over the floor. The noise of that thing was driving me crazy, like he was running it on top of my head. People were flushing the toilet in the bathroom, and it was as loud as a bomb going off. It was like every noise caused my pain to crescendo and my kidney to throb in rebellion.
I had to find a quiet place, so I finally stood up and headed for the door. Anyone who didn't know me would have thought I was 90 years old and walked everywhere with a 90-degree stoop. Making my right leg go forward caused pain to shoot up all the way to my arm, so I just kind of dragged it along behind me. I guess in a hospital environment a man dragging his leg was normal, because no one seemed to pay any attention at all. Luckily enough, there was a chapel-like room nearby, so I ducked in there.
About two hours later, the pain was better-or I'd adjusted to it-and I made my way back to the waiting room just a few minutes before Aaron, Kimmi's husband, came in and told us the baby was a healthy little boy and we could come in after Mom and baby had bonded for a bit. While we waited, the pain kicked it up a notch. I was sweating again when they came back and told us we could go in and see baby Asher. I dragged myself over to the room and sat in the window seat in the comma position.
Eventually, my wife asked me to come hold the baby. I staggered over to Kimmi and broke the news.
“I've been passing a kidney stone for the last few hours and I think I'm about to die,” I said, with a little slobber running down the corner of my mouth.
My wife and daughter both got wide-eyed and asked why I hadn't said anything. My wife went to the truck and came back with two pain pills. They started working in just a few minutes, and I was holding that baby with a smile. The entire group nagged me-in a hospital of all places, why hadn't I gotten some help? I had no answer, other than the fact that I couldn't even walk downstairs and check myself in.
After it was all over, my daughters told me the same thing had happened to one of the characters on an episode of Friends. I never saw the show, but they laughed and laughed at me about it. A few days later, the doctor told me I still had a 10-mm stone stuck in my kidney and I'd need surgery to get it out. He said the one I'd felt on the day of my grandson's birth was just a fragment that had broken off and got stuck.
I will always remember the day Kimmi gave birth to Asher-and I gave birth to a kidney stone.
Bo Brock, DVM, owns Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas. His latest book is Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere: Tales of Humor and Healing From Rural America.