When my wife Barbara and I fell in love at college in 1971, we never talked about marriage or having children. Enraptured by becoming stars, making beautiful music together, there was little room for much such minor details. We knew we loved each other.
Becoming a father was not something we planned, but as it turned out, cosmic plans were already in the works. In November 1979, while in the middle of becoming the next new sensation, pregnancy took us by total surprise.
We continued performing on stage until Barbara could no longer hide the fact that she was five months pregnant. Driving home from gigs Barbara often made me stop the van so she could roll down the window to relieve herself. Though she was determined, and her voice remained strong, at this point audience members really couldn’t appreciate the pregnant lady singing “Barracuda.” It was time to step down from the stage, at least temporarily.
As vegetarians we were always conscious of everything we put into our bodies. As pregnant vegetarians we went deeper into the holistic approach. That meant a clean diet of organic foods, yoga, special breathing techniques, and most of all natural childbirth in one of Norwalk Hospital’s new private birthing rooms. Since Barbara preferred a doctor in tune with the female anatomy, careful research led us to the “right” woman for the job. Though becoming pregnant interrupted our musical quest we fully embraced what was to come, and did all the right things. Meaning, whole this, organic that, proper rest, plenty of fluids, exercise and specialized care.
The day arrived, so we thought. Thirty-two painful hours slowly passed and still no Michael Loren. Barbara was tough but at this point labor was unbearable. The female doctor, a stalwart for natural birthing, decided there was nothing left to do but a C- section. Though probably pissing the doctor off, her decision was a tremendous relief for Barbara, myself and I’m sure unborn Michael Loren.
Standing in the operating room with a full view I could see Barbara was out like a light. I watched the doctor insert the scalpel. Soon to come was a very healthy nine-pounder. Since Barbara was temporarily out of commission, after some quick clean up, the APGAR star was handed to his father, me. Whoa! This was beyond powerful, far beyond and much more profound than being a dumb rock star.
Barbara was soon sewed up and returned to her room. The next day was somewhat normal for a couple involved in a cesarean. People visited, people loved and people smiled. However, not long after, Barbara complained of abdominal pain. I remember hearing the nurse tell her, “What do you expect, you just had a cesarean (stupid).” After continued pain, more complaining and no resolve, Barbara received the same casual treatment. “You just had a cesarean.”
When the pain continued worsening, one very astute and caring nurse pursued a blood test to learn that Barbara was entering a state of shock. Her hemoglobin was dangerously low as she bled internally for over a day. Half her blood had lodged in her abdomen, causing severe anemia and tremendous pain. She was nearly gone. The only thing doctors were able to do was infuse Barbara with fresh blood and lots of it.
I became a father at about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, 1980; the country was in the midst of a new mysterious infectious disease that was killing people. Still in its infancy it soon became an epidemic, and answers were nowhere to be found. Though transmission of the disease was mysterious, scientists knew blood supplied the perfect vehicle.
Once back home, preoccupied with raging hormones and our new gift of pure love along with some colic, counting AIDS incubation days was the least of our concerns.
Well folks … much time has passed and here we are, Father’s Day 2020. Our only child (for very good reasons), Michael Loren, will soon be 40. Though his mother has recently left the stage for an even greater cause, I remain with my two feet on the ground, trying hard to be the best father I can.
Happy Father’s Day!