Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! were my mother’s words as she shook my motionless body. I was asleep on my queen-sized bed. When I opened my eyes, a blurry image of my mother was hunched over me with a pleasant smile. As I sluggishly sat up, my mother quickly sat down beside me. “What’s up with her this morning?” I thought silently as I wiped the cold from my eyes. Before I could get a word out, my mother shared the good news. “It’s a boy,” she said softly, “and he’s six pounds and six ounces.” Mirroring my mother’s emotions, elation filled my 15-year-old soul.
At MCV hospital the night before, I sat aside my soon-to-be son’s mother’s bed holding her hand. My mother and I waited for my son’s mother, Katie, to go into labor. Preparing to welcome her fifth grandchild, my mother was as anxious as I was. However, Katie’s contraction levels fluctuated from low to almost ready for the delivery room. The anticipation weighed heavy on my eyelids. Because the nurses were expecting Katie to deliver that night, I fought off the z’s. I did not want to miss the birth of my first child. Unfortunately, my mother grew impatient, so she insisted we call it a night and go home. I tried to convince her to allow me to stay with Katie, but my mother denied my request.
Soon after my mother told me my son was born, my best friend Rico, my brother Dante, my mother, and I rushed to the hospital. As I walked with fast steps on the shiny, off-white tile floors, my happy meal smile raised curiosity in the main lobby. My joyful body language was also obvious. With money I had saved from my job’s paycheck, I bought “It’s a boy!” balloons and bubblegum cigars from the hospital’s gift store. Remembering what floor to go to, we ignored the receptionist and boarded the elevator.
While on the elevator, my mood shifted from excitement to nervousness. The closer I got; the more sweat escaped from my pores. To disguise my nervousness, I joked and laughed with Rico and Dante.
When we stepped off the elevator, we began looking for my son and his mother. Minutes into our search, we came to a frustrating halt. “I can’t remember what room it was,” I said. Rico shrugged his shoulders. A nurse with a clipboard appeared and helped us. “We’ve been waiting for you,” the young African-American nurse said after she learned who I was. She handed me a document (birth certificate) to sign. I signed it. Then the nurse led us to my new family.
The moment I walked inside the room, one of Katie’s relatives made me the center of attention. “There goes the daddy everybody.” Everyone flattered me with hugs and smiles. However, my son wasn’t there. I locked eyes with Katie who laid upward in the bed in a medical gown. “You just missed him. One of the nurses took him to run a test,” she said happily. My son’s mother was exhausted, yet she kept up with our families upbeat tempo. “I’ll go and check to see if their done,” the nurse said. Before the nurse left, I thanked her then turned to kissed and hugged my son’s mother.
Eager to see my son, I lasted only a few minutes before I abruptly stood up. “I want to see my son, where is he?” I asked aloud. After getting no answer, I took matters into my own hands. With Rico and Dante behind me, I went to go find my son. When I saw the nurse, it was like she read my mind. She signaled for me to follow her. We stopped outside one of the nursery’s glass window. “There he is,” the nurse pointed to a small incubator-like bed where my son rested peacefully. “He looks just like you, papi,” Rico said. Staring at my little twin, tears flooded my eyes. “That’s my Jr.,” I mumbled. It was the day my life changed forever.