A Moment in Time

Oct 26, 2023

I guess it all started in 1973. It was a late afternoon on the north shore of Staten Island. Not a particularly notable place. We lived upstairs in a two family house just across from a gypsum factory and just across the Kill Van Kull from what I called, “Gas/Oil New Jersey”. I was waiting to start my Graduate School program at New York University and, in the meantime I was driving a taxi in Manhattan part time at night. Also, not a particularly notable job.

Mary Anne worked the 4PM – Midnight shift at a local hospital. She was an RN doing her best to help mankind recover through all kinds of surgeries and ailments. Her shift was about to begin. She had just put on her nurse’s outfit and was ready to head for work.

I was in my mid-20s and she was just 20. I guess she saw that sparkle in my eye. Maybe it was her nurse’s outfit that worked it’s magic on me. Oh, the pleasure of testosterone and youth. We looked at each other and … Well, let’s just say her departure for work took a slight delayed turn of events. “But, honey I’m not on the pill and we’re not using any protection.” Followed by my famous last words “Oh, don’t worry … nothing is going to happen.”

A few weeks later Mary Anne announced: “I’m pregnant.” “Oh, I said. Well, how did that happen? She said, “Remember that afternoon a few weeks ago when you were drinking a “Piel’s Real Draft Beer?” “Yeah … “ “And, I was wearing my nurse’s white outfit.” “Yeah.” “Oh .. Oh .. you mean it’s that easy to get pregnant?’ “Yeah …” “Well, what does this mean?” “Duh .. we’re going to have a baby.” “Really? “Well, I didn’t know it was that easy to do this. I thought the odds were kind of high to make this thing happen.” “I’m Sicilian. Getting pregnant is easy for us. ”

Well, the next weeks turned into months and Mary Anne’s profile adjusted accordingly. We joined a Natural Childbirth Class. “Natural” childbirth. Now, there’s an interesting thing. I had no idea why we needed to learn how to do something that was “natural”. Anyway, we went to the classes. And, I think it was the second or third class when the teacher was teaching the soon-to-be mothers how to breathe. “You need to learn how to “breathe?” This was a new concept to me. Well, the teacher started to demonstrate breathing techniques when you go into labor. And, then she said, “if you learn this technique, delivering your baby won’t hurt.” At which point I blurted out, “Bullshit”. The teacher stopped, gave me a steely eyed stare and said, “Excuse me!” Let’s just say, I backed off.

The months passed. The belly expanded. And, soon the day had come. “Honey, I think we need to go to the hospital.” “Oh, okay. But, can I take a shower first?” “I’ll be quick. Just hang in there.” (probably the most insensitive thing I ever said especially since she was in labor since Midnight).

We left for the hospital post haste, checked in and found ourselves in a private room. “So, what do we do now?” “We wait for the doctor and for me to dilate.” And, then it was time to happen. They moved us into a Delivery Room. Mary Anne’s legs were lifted into some kind of device. We waited a while longer until the doctor arrived. He examined her and said, “it looks like it’s about time to push. Donald, you stand here in front of Mary Anne and you’ll be able to see the baby being born.” I can’t remember what I said but, I guess I was compliant. Of course, I had no idea what was about to happen. The next thing I knew she was pushing. And, I must have been turning green, purple, gray .. who knows what other colors. I’m sure I was about to faint. The doctor quickly grabbed me and parked my body behind Mary Anne’s shoulders. He said, “STAY HERE. I compiled. And, the baby was born .. screaming and hollering and bloody and messy and there he was .. Daniel Jay Silverman. Just like that.

Easy, right?