Introducing: Aidric Ignacio Heimburger Boza
Well, it looks like I'm a daddy!
Before I get into today's (lengthy) story, I'll give you a little background about his name, which I've kept quiet about with everybody, including my family.
As I mentioned last November, hunting for a suitable name for a baby with as mixed a background as Aidric has was quite an undertaking.
At the time of research, 'Aidric' rarely turned up on the amazingly comprehensive baby name databases out there, and when it does, has no ranking of popularity or definition. I came across it researching and sifting through most any baby name resource I could find online. The only historical reference to the name with any apparent legitimacy states:
Feastday: January 7
Bishop and court diplomat, raised at Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany, the royal residence of Charlemagne. Aidric, or Aldericus, grew up serving Charlemagne and his son and successor, Louis. At twenty-one, Aidric left the honors of the court to study for the priesthood at Metz, France. After his ordination, he was recalled to the court by Louis. Nine years later he was made the bishop of Le Mans, where he became known for his sanctity and for his efforts on behalf of his people. When Louis died, Aidric supported Charles the Bald, one of Louis' sons fighting for the throne, and for this reason was forced out of Le Mans, only to be reinstalled by Pope Gregory IV. Aidric served as a legate to the court of King Pepin of Aquitaine, France, where he convinced that monarch to restore vast amounts of Church property stolen by the royal family. Aidric also took part in the councils of Paris and Tours. He was paralyzed for the last two years of his life.
Pronunciation in both Spanish and English was at the forefront of my mind, and Aidric sounds good in both. We're calling him as it's said in English AID-rick, although the Spanish/German pronunciation also sounds nice (EYE'D-rrrick).
Tatiana and I went back and forth between a few middle names (though both of my suggestions for his first and middle name were ultimately selected—yay!). I really wanted to give him a name that spoke to his Latin heritage (or at least sounded as much), but wasn't excessively popular, hard to pronounce, or one that Tatiana associated negatively with (…rather had to do, it would seem). I spent a lot of time hunting for a name that ended with an 'o', 'an', or an 'en', because I liked the way they integrated with his first and last name(s).
Besides Santiago, Tatiana liked the names Stephan, Ian, and Sebastian, but those were much too Northern European for my tastes. Names like Demario, Donovan, Vincenzo, and Keiran, generally sounded good, but either didn't work with Tatiana, the heritage I wanted to tap into, or were too wordy. Can you imagine trying to fill out a tourist visa immigration card with a name that long?
We were quite close to naming him Aidric Esteban Heimburger, but ultimately went with Ignacio for reasons now forgotten (as the decision was made in the early morning hours one night in December). Tatiana says "it's because Aidirc wasn't sure about 'Esteban'"—right.
The meaning of the name Ignacio is "fiery", which I knew he very well would be; that much was guaranteed.
Oh, and as mentioned a few months ago, babies here in Latin America are given the last names of both parents (unhyphenated), regardless of marital status. It is frowned upon greatly to give a child only the last name of the mother, as it insinuates an unknown father. A person's first, middle, and both last names are used on official documents here.
My friend Tristan laughed when he heard the name, saying, "It reads like an eye chart!" But Tatiana and I both love the name Aidric, and think it speaks volumes to his uniqueness.
Tatiana was expected to deliver sometime between Christmas and New Year's. One of her close cousins even flew up from Chile for the event—but Aidric was a no-show.
New Year's came and went, then Three Kings Day, six days later—and still, no Aidric. I was getting hit with e-mails daily, asking if I was a daddy yet. Tatiana received an e-mail announcement giving her tips for her newborn baby, instead of the in-belly development progress reports she'd been getting. Her belly had grown so much bigger than when I made the belly cast for her, two or so weeks prior.
I really couldn't blame the kid. If I were sitting in a sunny hammock on the beach, getting fed through a straw, I'd want to stay there as long as possible too. Plus, factor in the fact that he's a Latin Heimburger. The kid is certainly going to saunter.
Tatiana had been upping her visits to the obstetrics doctor/surgeon that she's been seeing to every three days. Yesterday she visited him because her feet and ankles had remained swollen, despite our best efforts.
Her doctor, Chofi (his nickname), informed her that she was actually in labor, as indicated by an ultrasound that showed a "thinning uterus", which is apparently considered one of the signs of the onset of birth. He told her that she'd probably been in labor for the past two days, and he was recommending surgery for the following afternoon.
Tatiana returned to the house, told me the news, and proceeded to have a long discussion with me about "labor." Always the skeptic, I wasn't buying into the doc's planned date and time for Aidric's birth, when we'd decided long ago that Tatiana would have Aidric when he wanted to be born, not before. Tatiana had clearly painted a box around the scenario, not wanting to dictate when his birth date would be, and I was just trying to keep with the game plan she set in motion.
In my mind, labor meant laboring. Among others, "Craig's signs of labor" list included her water breaking, short-spaced contractions, and huffing and puffing. A "thinning uterus", whatever that meant, was not on the list.
I could've really cared less about the scheduling Aidric's birth, but I just wanted to clarify with her that by doing it, I'd consider it painting outside the "birth date box" that Tatiana had previously established. At the time, I honestly thought she'd be the same today as she was yesterday, and the day before that—only bigger, just like always.
I was wrong.
Tatiana had a really rough night—even more uncomfortable/in pain in her new body than normal—and by the time 11:00 a.m. rolled around, she was quite certain that giving birth that afternoon was right choice.
At any rate, the child had obediently decided to wait to be born until after the Travelvice Snapshots gallery realignment was finished and online, as he had been instructed to do several times daily since the New Year.
The two of us called home to my folks in Oregon to tell them the news before we headed out the door with her mother and one of her sisters in tow. At first, I was surprised with how calm everyone was. "I expected her family to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off", I told my dad, with one foot out the door. To which he replied, "No, you're supposed the chicken without the head."
"Naw," I replied, "I've been in stressful situations before—and this is not stressful." Getting rolled by crooked cops in Venezuela, that was stressful. Missing our flight out of Vietnam when it had near-immediate connections from Bangkok to the USA, that was miserably stressful. Tatiana giving birth? Please. This was controlled.
The four of us walked down the street a few dozen meters and met up with the doctor and his daughter, a first year med student who would be assisting during the operation. I had enough time to snap a quick 'before' photo of Tatiana, and then the six of us piled into the doctor's car for the less than five minute drive to the clinic.
Shortly after arriving, Tatiana privately gave an envelope stuffed with 2,800 Peruvian nuevos soles (US$946) to the doctor in his car. This would be the money used to pay for everyone's services, and Tatiana's stay at the clinic. The kicker was that the doctor would now go and negotiate with the clinic's director for the price for her delivery and postnatal care (getting everything down within the amount we'd provided).
I didn't have an opportunity to witness all this, because I had to unexpectedly return to the house for some medical test paperwork that Tatiana had forgotten to bring with her. Had I known she needed such things, I would have made a note to bring them.
Even though I didn't want to be separated from Tatiana, her mother insisted that I grab her sister and go. Ultimately, I figured that since I knew what the workup results looked like, and they were a serious impediment to her actually delivering with the clinic's consent, that it required my presence.
Tatiana and her doctor weren't in sight by the time we returned. The first thing on my mind was getting back to her, but communication problems were building rapidly. We couldn't get a hold of Tatiana on her cell phone, and the doctor wasn't responding to the front desks lethargic efforts to locate him (paging him, I suppose).
Too much time had passed. I was getting annoyed, and I'm sure Tatiana was scared that I wasn't with her (she was nervous enough with me there as it was).
Then, finally, front desk coughed up a location, but said that I was required to purchase a "daddy ticket" and buy a pair of operating room (OR) scrubs before I was allowed into the area where she was being prepped for surgery.
Way back in November the doctor had told us there'd be an additional five or ten-dollar fee for attending Tatiana's surgery, but she wanted me there, and said it wasn't an issue. Now, it was my assumption that the near-US$1,000 filled envelope that had been handed over to the doctor moments ago had included this fee.
I instinctively respond very poorly to hidden fees—a natural reaction to living in developing countries where the entire popular often comes off as sneaky used car salesmen.
I refused to pay. I didn't even ask how much it was—the request was absurd.
There would be no purchasing of a "daddy ticket" this day. "Give me a damn pair of disposable scrubs and let me back there!" I said in a not-so-friendly tone, translated by Tatiana's sibling.
I wasn't stressed out, I was just flat out pissed, and Tatiana's mother and sister saw as much—I must have looked quite unhappy. I wasn't raging, but I certainly wasn't in the mood to play games.
I knew what was at stake, though. There was no communication with Tatiana or doctor. Tatiana would undoubtedly be drugged to a point where she'd be unable to keep them from delivering if I wasn't in the room. I'm sure the doctor was working on the clock, since the room and people-renting cost money, so he'd probably operate regardless of my attendance.
Tatiana's mother finally stepped in and paid for the OR scrubs. Now I wasn't going to miss the operation over US$10—I was pushing the issue as long as I could without crossing that line, simply because I felt I was in the right—but I conceded my protest to her mother's generosity, and watched her buy the gear from the overpriced pharmacy attached to the clinic.
Idling with Tatiana's mother in a hallway not far from the lobby, I counted the minutes while waiting for a nurse to lead me into the OR. It was actually quite a long wait—so much in fact that we worried the surgery had begun without me (still no word from the doctor).
Finally, a surgery-prepped nurse appeared to retrieve me. I was ushered into a small locker-room where she hurriedly helped me change into the 'kit papá' I had under my arm. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror before leaving the room—I looked like a crazed villain out of the horror movie Hostel.
I wasn't the least bit surprised when no one asked for the documents I'd retrieved from the house.
I entered the adjoining operating room where I found a cluster of doctors and nurses just moments away from operating. Tatiana was sprawled out on a crucifixesque table, her outstretched arms lashed to the tabletop extending both sides of her.
She looked so helpless… It saddened me to see her restrained in such a way.
Seated on a stool next to Tatiana's head, I could only liken her image to that of Mel Gibson's final scene in Braveheart. The only thing missing was a gut wrenching cry for "FREEEEDOM!", and surgeon whispering "kiss the emblem on my cloak, and the pain will stop" into her ear.
Tatiana was noticeably drugged, though quite coherent, and aware of the events around her. She complained that the injection of anesthetic they'd administered into her spine was particularly painful, and that she was very thirsty.
I wetted my lips, and briefly pulled my mask aside to give her dry lips a kiss.
Things proceeded quickly as soon as I entered the OR. Tatiana had asked me not to watch the operation—she didn't want me remembering such things when I looked at her— but she knew better than to ask me to turn off my curiosity. I certainly wasn't about to have the near fainting episode that her brother experienced watching the same procedure on his girlfriend—twice.
Chofi and several others at the table suddenly started laughing. "She gives you sexy eyes!", he exclaimed, pointing across the table with his head, gloves coved with Tatiana's blood. The lead surgeon was a woman, and Chofi said he'd caught her staring me in a flirtatious way, much to everyone's entertainment. "Better watch out," he said to Tatiana, "she's just waiting for you to pass out!"
Tatiana said in a whisper: "That's just like women here—always trying to steal my man, even in the middle of me giving birth to his child."
Somewhere in between the six minutes it took for me to enter the room and the baby to be pulled from her belly, there was a moment where things seemed to have taken wrong turn. The mood changed, Tatiana's heart rate spiked, and numerous strips of blood-soaked gauze started being pulled from her abdomen.
I suddenly found myself awash in a rush of emotions that I just couldn't seem to cope with fast enough. I was so scared and concerned for Tatiana's wellbeing—the mental image of her dying there on the table so vivid, with helpless arms outstretched and tied to the table like the skeleton of a kite—I didn't know what to do but appear calm, and blink back the tears forming in my watering eyes…
Thankfully, that moment of fear and emotional turmoil passed (although the echo of such a thing lingers with me), and I found myself standing on a small stepstool provided by a nurse, so that I could get a better view of Aidric's birth.
The Dramatic Birth of Aidric Heimburger
I just had enough time to switch to the movie mode on my digital camera, when the flirty surgeon gave a big push on Tatiana's sternum, and BAM—out came the baby. It was so fast; I was taken rather off guard, and then amazed at the size of the child that had just emerged from her belly. On the clip you can hear my first words quite clearly: "Holy mother of God!"
No one had asked me to cut the umbilical cord (which I was amazed was by the color of), but it was actually my preference to film, rather than cut. My hands were shaking from the adrenaline enough as it was—it took two just to keep the camera steady. Instead, Chofi opted to shove his testicles in my direction—yes, I can see it's a boy.
Baby was quickly separated from mother, and worked on at a table in the corner of the room. But there was a problem… Aidric wasn't breathing.
He was noticeably blue in color, and rather motionless.
I was watching a trio of nurses tend to Aidric, but could feel Tatiana's concern piercing from the surgical table to my right. I decided to outwardly proclaim happy tidings, like how big he was, instead of fueling the fear. Tatiana needed not be burdened with such things in the state she was in.
Ultimately, the obstructing fluid was drained from Aidric's airways, but it was an amazingly tense minute or more while he wasn't breathing. I watch the footage and it feels like I'm seeing it in fast-forward. Time slowed considerably for me in those moments—that minute or two had stretched into twenty.
Watch the dramatic birth of Aidric Heimburger:
Between the incident with the scrubs, the vision of Tatiana's death, Aidric's birth, and then the ensuing part where he wasn't breathing—all within the span of 15 minutes—I was drained.
I was given the option to leave the room with the baby, or stay with Tatiana while they finished patching her up. Naturally, I stayed—although I wanted to stick my head outside and let her mother and sister know everything was fine (but Tatiana insisted that I remain at her side).
I'm told the people doing the surgery and suturing are also plastic surgeons, and Tatiana expressed the utmost confidence that they'd leave her with a minimal scar below the bikini line. Watching the process with great interest, I could really only describe it like a fisherman baiting a hook, and I found myself wondering if surgeons prefer to fish, over going golfing.
After a little over half an hour of stitching and organ shoving the doctors and nurses backed away from the table and declared their jobs complete. I shook some hands and popped outside to dole out big hugs to Tatiana's family, before tossing my scrubs in the corner of the locker-room with the rest of the team.
Expectations and Celebrations
Here's the thing with private clinics in Lima: It seems you've got to provide your own supplies. From the diapers (for both mother and child), to the hat and mittens, to the baby-sized blankets—the big bill only includes the room, food, medicine, and staff—nothing more. Tatiana was required to even bring her own towel for the room's bathroom.
I'm told the amount of cash given to the doctor was enough, though am still unsure for how long Tatiana will be in her room—three nights, I believe.
Apparently it's also policy of this clinic to keep newborns under observation for at least six hours, and for them to spend at least their first night in the nursery. Tatiana was quite grumpy about the whole thing, finally only getting to see Aidric for an hour or so tonight (after her mom raised Hell for her), before they returned him to the nursery.
This gave me the opportunity to hold my son for the first time as well—the first baby I've ever held.
His nose is a little congested, but aside from that, everything appears to be in order. The kid is huge. His eyes are shut, but the pediatrician tells us he's got my blue/green eyes, and we can see he has dark-blond hair, light skin, very cute feet, and many other of my more lovable traits… hehe
I'm laughing because Tatiana is complaining that, at first blush, Aidric appears to lack any of her features: ears, eyes, hair, feet, skin, size (he's already almost 1/3 her length)… wow, my soldiers don't just fertilize, they colonize!
I've left Tatiana in the care of one of her sisters tonight, as I returned to the Boza home to celebrate with cigars and champagne with the family (a North American tradition I wasn't about to leave out). I received an excited (and slightly intoxicated) call from my brother, who was doing likewise with some of his friends from medical school, up in chilly Nebraska.
It's been an overwhelming day that started out calm, and quickly snowballed into a tight ball of stress, only to melt away with celebrations and toasts of congratulations. An amazing experience.
Obligatory Baby Stats
- Time of birth: Jan 10, 2008, at 14:20
- Length: 52cm (20.5 inches)
- Weight: 3.91 kilos (8.6 pounds)
- Blood type: A+
- Cheeks: Plump and jovial
- Cuteness factor: High