One Doctor, Twelve Nurses, Five Inner Tubes and a Bunch of Questions
by Wayne Chan
As any husband and/or father will tell you, the instinct to protect your family begins the moment you say, “I do”, only intensifies the moment you become a father, and never really goes away.
This was particularly the case for me, for it was nearly 16 years ago that I helped my beautiful wife deliver our healthy and happy triplets into this world. And when I say “helped”, I mean “stand there and do my best to stay out of everyone’s way.”
I remember it as if it were yesterday. The pregnancy was difficult to begin with, as any multiple birth pregnancy would be. There were the late night cravings, sleepless nights, morning sickness, and backaches -
Because we were having triplets, we knew that the kids would be born premature -
The head nurse stood next to me, and calmly gave me some instructions on what my role would be during the delivery. I don’t remember what she said word for word, but the gist of it was:
1.Hold Maya’s hand, and let her know how much you love her.
2.Whatever you do, don’t pass out or throw up on Maya or me.
The delivery went incredibly smooth. The doctors and nurses performed with care and professionalism. I held Maya’s hand, told her I loved her, and managed to stand upright the entire time. As each of the children were born, they were handed to a nurse and she and three other nurses would quickly disappear down a hallway, baby in tow. Each group took one of the kids and quickly vanished into separate rooms.
It was at this point that the first test of my protective instincts was tested.
Looking down at Maya, she could see the slightly vacant look on my face. She knew exactly what I was thinking. What am I supposed to do now? Without missing a beat, Maya let out a slightly exasperated breath and said, “Go with the babies!”
I think it was perfectly understandable that I might be conflicted. After all, the two options I had were to abruptly walk away from my wife who has just delivered three children via cesarean section or stay with my wife while my three newborn children were in some recovery room without having so much of a hug from their parents.
But it was obvious to Maya what I should do -
Our triplets are as comfortable as fish in the water. Whether it’s the ocean, lake, pool or stream, each of them takes to the water without a second thought. Maya, on the other hand, barely knows how to swim.
The plan was to all get in the water, and because the stream had a very gentle current and was at most eighteen inches deep, we would stay relatively close together so that I could primarily keep an eye on Maya.
As we got to the edge of the water, the three kids gleefully jumped in and started heading downstream. Maya tentatively stepped into the water, and by the time we were floating, the kids were barely blips on the horizon.
Turning back to Maya, with a slightly vacant look on my face, she immediately pointed in the kids direction and shouted, “Go with the kids!”
Again, dutifully following her instructions, I went against my better instincts. If anyone in the family was going to freak out from falling out of the inner tube, it was going to be Maya, not the kids.
Still, I figured that from wherever I was, I could still shout some instructions to Maya if she fell out of the inner tube.
“Maya! Listen to me carefully! Number one -