Saturday, August 9, 2008

Meet our son Enoh Daniel Bohall!

“The best way I can describe it is ‘shock'” said my wife after she returned to her normal state of mind. “The combination of the most pain and the greatest joy you've had in your life is just shocking.” That was her summary of the last few hours of labor. Petra had contractions for 59 hours (during which she couldn't sleep a wink) before finally giving birth. She performed magnificently though, coming through at the end when it looked like she wouldn’t have any more strength for the last few pushes. There weren’t even any insults directed toward my mother, me, or my responsibility for getting her into this mess. We'll never know for sure, but if a woman ever makes the case that they can endure more pain than men, I won’t argue.

If it was hard for Enoh we couldn’t tell – he went through the whole thing unfazed. He let out a halfhearted 'wah' after arriving just to let us know he was alive, then promptly fell asleep. He woke up again 15 minutes later, took a look around for awhile, blew some bubbles, but didn't use his vocal chords again for another few hours. In fact, whenever he cried that first day it was for 5 seconds before doing that cute little whimper and staring into the eyes of whoever had the pleasure of holding him at that moment. Enoh has already been a blessing to us. The gift of a child is so profound that it's very difficult to summarize with words.

The name ‘Enoh’ is the Croatian way of saying Enoch of Old Testament fame. He was the guy of whom the writer of Genesis said “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more because God took him away” (after 365 years). Our desire is to walk with God and we could hope for nothing other than that for our son.

It’s not really a Croatian name – the nurses here have resorted to using Daniel when addressing him because they’re not familiar with the name ‘Enoh’. We both like the way it sounds in Croatian and since we live here it’s spelled the way it’s written in the Croatian Bible. If you want to give it a try you can say the ‘e’ like you would in ‘beg’. The ‘no’ sounds like the ‘no’ in ‘knock’. Finally the ‘h’ is guttural - like a happy-medium between ‘k’ and ‘h’.

Chinese superstition aside, I was hoping he would be born at 8:00 or 8:08. Officially the papers say that he was born at 8:05, but it was actually 8:07. If the clock had been set a minute later perhaps the doctor’s would have noticed the significance of 8/8/08 at 8:08 and written it down rather than rounding to the nearest 5. In all fairness, Petra’s dad is to blame for her long labor. On Tuesday when she called her parents to tell them that the contractions had started, he told her that it would be great if she could just wait a couple days to have the baby on the 8th. Aren’t we men so thoughtful.

The ratio between the woman's role in labor and the man's is extremely lopsided. On top of that, the man is able to enjoy the gift without going through any of the pains of unwrapping. So with that disclaimer, I will say the whole experience was exhilarating for me. Those final minutes when Enoh arrived were pure emotional joy – perhaps the most exciting few minutes of my life. I will anxiously anticipate the next time I'm in the delivery room with my wife if God blesses us with another child.

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