I am somebody's father. That is still hard to believe sometimes, but I absolutely cherish the role. I remember all of Sandy's visits to MFM (maternal-fetal medicine...you kow, the high-risk guys). We'd have a tech come in, do an extensive ultrasound, then the tech would call in the doc and he would finish up. Sandy and I would just wait for the shoe to drop the entire time. Do they see something bad? Why are they making those faces? And the truth is they did see something bad from time to time. The only thing we could do is be ready. Fast forward to July 3, 2008. We go into the hospital again with pre-term labor issues, and through a convoluted series of events, we're told "Today is the day.". Sandy and I were in disbelief -- it had only been 32 weeks & 6 days. So, they take Sandy away from me and leave me with a pair of scrubs and tell me to wait. A very long time passes until a very tall nurse (don't know why I remember that) tells me to get the scrubs on and walks me into the OR where Sandy lies in wait.
I remember the very second both boys were born. I cried when I saw them. I had no idea how powerful those moments would be. All I could say was "They have hair" -- I can be such a doofus. When Josh was born, he was silent, and rushed to the far corner of the room. Joey came out a-wailin'. After clearing Josh's airway a bit, they put him in an isolette and rushed him out of the room, only stopping for a few seconds for us to meet him.
I remember bringing our families in to meet the boys at the NICU. I remember when Christy first saw Josh, with tears in her eyes, and said "He's precious". I will never forget that. It was one of the most special moments of my life.
I remember wondering if Josh was blind and deaf. Sandy and I lived at the NICU with him for his entire stay (4 months), and we always brought the camera. I would take pictures of him with the flash, hoping to see him blink or recoil or something. It was impossible to tell.
I remember holding Josh, rocking him, reading to him, and walking him around the NICU. I remember his smile, and his beautiful hands.
I remember taking him home and blasting "Take Me Home Tonight" on the radio ( I also played it in the NICU that day!)
I remember Christmas, when he smiled so big I thought I would die from happiness.
I remember playing with him, and watching his Mom play with him. Josh had a very special connection to his mother -- it was so obvious. They are two peas in a pod.
I have many memories of Josh, but these are the things that usually pop into my head. These are some of my favorite memories. I cherish every moment.
Thank you Josh, thank you Joey, thank you Sandy, and thank you Java too. I would do this all over and over again if I could. I love you all from the very bottom of my heart to the top of my soul. I am a (much) better person thanks to you all.