You never expect something to suddenly happen that will change your life. On Wednesday February, 23rd, while working with a television crew shooting a new reality show, about 500 miles from home, I was told by my EP to call Mary immediately. After reaching her, I heard my frightened wife, frantically crying waterfalls, while explaining that the baby needed to be removed immediately to avoid severe health complications or death. A doctor then reaffirmed and explained to me the diagnosis and situation, which I only partially absorbed.
What the hell is Health Syndrome, I kept thinking (it was really HELLP Syndrome http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/hellpsyndrome.html)?!? Would this be the last time I ever spoke to my wife? What about our daughter? Why is this happening? I don’t even know why or how it happened, but next thing I knew I was at the airport. All I could do was call close friends and family and tell them to rush to the hospital. Fortunately, some close friends and my sister had made it there already, but I was not with her while she was very sick and in her most frightening moment in life!
This was an actual nightmare. Picture yourself caught in an undertow with your loved one and unborn child screaming for you in a sinking ship. You can see them in the distance, but you just keep getting pulled into a current. Now play it in slow motion. That’s what it felt like. I imagine it would feel the same way if I were with them, because in realty, their fate was in the hands of the doctors. It was so difficult for me not being by Mary’s side.
While sitting on an airplane, our friend Sarah called to congratulate me on being the father of a baby girl. She was a tiny 900 grams (2 pounds) and being kept alive through a ventilator and in incubation. Mary was still in surgery and being sewn back together. Wow! I mean, what can I say? I felt proud, scared, cheated, excited, relieved, anxious, angry, and extremely overjoyed all at once. I smiled and cried from one minute to the next. These extremely talented doctors and nurses made what could have been a morbid experience feel like a routine procedure. Thank God for technology and great doctors!
All of the sudden, I’m a dad! My daughter was in the world, extremely underdeveloped, but stable. All I could think was, “get me the F–K out of Cleveland and to New York.” As Murphy’s Law goes, the plane was broken and everyone had to get off! Thankfully I was able to board the next flight.