Joel was so excited to become a new father! Though Rachel’s due date wasn’t until Valentine’s Day, starting at the end of January, Joel would ask me every morning whether we were going to have a baby that day. On Monday morning, February 8, 1999, Joel woke up with the flu. That morning, he informed me that this day was not a good day to have a baby. Unfortunately, Rachel had other plans. In the early afternoon, I left work early to go home since I wasn’t feeling well either (not knowing that I was in labor). Since Joel did not go into work that day, he was already home and reluctantly drove me to the hospital. I was so excited and nervous about this whole birthing process — and felt especially clueless since Joel and I did not take any childbirth classes. I almost panicked when I was informed that I was too far along to have an epidural. Good thing my husband was by my side for support and encouragement — no, wait, Joel was slumped in a chair in the corner of the delivery room. He could barely stand for more than a few minutes at a time before he retreated to the lazy boy recliner to rest. Ironically, the nurses seemed more concerned about him than me! Numerous times, they asked him how he was feeling, whether they could bring him anything, etc. Don’t mind me, trying to push the equivalence of a bowling ball out of my body. After a few short hours, somehow, both Joel and I survived the entire ordeal and were able to rest comfortably that night, celebrating our new roles as parents. While smiling his beautiful smile, Joel always enjoyed sharing with others how rough Rachel’s birth day was for him.
Happy 12th Birthday, Sweetheart! Your Dad would be so proud of the sweet, smart, thoughtful, generous, loving, competitive, wonderful person you are!