Emily was already at Hospital Number Three in Changsha. Changsha is Hunan’s capital and Hospital Number Three is an appropriately modern hospital, at least by Chinese standards. Emily’s operation was scheduled for nine o’clock that morning. Any surgery is worrying, but this was a Chinese hospital, my wife and our child. Tense would hardly describe my emotions. Emily would deliver the baby by caesarian, due to her age and the estimated size of the baby. Hospital policy forbade me from being in the room during the operation. So I waited outside with our friend Nancy, our school accountant. Tense would hardly describe my emotions. A doctor came out about nine-thirty and I almost jumped out of my skin.
When he proceeded to lean against the door of the operating room and light up a cigarette I almost throttled the insensitive bastard. Walking, sitting and nervously jumping at every noise occupied the better part of the eternity that was the next quarter hour. Then a nurse came out.
“It’s a boy,” she said.
“No, a girl,” I replied.
“Boy,” she insisted.
We had been told it was going to be a girl a few months before and we were quite happy with that. We had chosen to name her after my father’s mother and had taken to calling the baby Catherine. Dutifully following the nurse down a couple of flights of stairs, and towards a small room I stood and watched as she prepared warm water for the baby’s first bath. The blanket was removed and Catherine was revealed to be “a boy!?!”
I was shocked, proud, and no more delighted by being Daddy to a boy, but I was mightily confused.
Our little boy, born at 9:48 Beijing time on 29/03/2004, weighing 3.9 kg, and measuring 58 cm was here and being cleaned and polished. He had all his toes, and fingers, brown eyes and pointed ears. My pride was somewhat checked by the fact that I now had to come up with a name.
The months of preparation gave way to the concern for Emily’s recovery and the baby’s health. Anticipation gave way to joy and responsibility, as a new child became part of our lives. Confused pride remains.
Oh yes, the boy’s name is Wyatt Alexis.