The day Mikey was born

I am writing this on Tuesday, Sept. 27, the day Mikey was born.
Thirty years ago on this day, my son Michael and the story I made up for my daughter about his birth came into being. I’ve re-told her that story on this date almost every year since.
I’ve sometimes called it “The Day Mikey was Born” and sometimes “The Night Mikey was Born,” but the story remains the same.
If this sounds familiar it’s because I’ve shared it before.
Greta, three-and-a-half at the time, slept peacefully with her grandparents, my mom and dad, keeping an eye on her as her new baby brother arrived just after midnight on Saturday, Sept. 27, 1986, via C-section at Nesbitt Memorial Hospital in Kingston. He was a month pre-mature.
I had been awake for more than 24 hours straight when Greta opened her eyes that Saturday morning, but sleeping was out of the question. On my way home from the hospital a couple of hours earlier, I had stopped at a convenience store for Tastykake Krimpets, which doubled as the previous night’s supper and that morning’s breakfast, and a lottery ticket which I gave to the teenager at the register. “I have a new baby,” I told him, “so I don’t need a million dollars.”
I never did find out if the ticket was a winner.
I had presents for Greta: a blue disposable bonnet, a face mask, and disposable blue paper shoe covers the nurse was kind enough to give me. I put the bonnet and shoe covers on her, much to her delight, and began to tell her a story.
It went like this:
You were in the tubby getting your bath when Daddy came home from work last night. I took over from Mommy and as I wrapped you up in a big towel I asked her where she wanted me to go for pizza later on.
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll be going out to get us pizza tonight,” Mommy said, putting her hand on her tummy. “I think our baby wants to be born.”
So right after we tucked you in, Daddy went and picked up Grammy and Pop to come stay with you and then Mommy and Daddy went off to the hospital.
Mommy’s regular doctor was on vacation, so we had a brand new doctor waiting for us.
Guess what his name was?
Dr. Frying Pan.

(Note: His name was actually Dr. Freifeld. Dr. Martin Freifeld. But I knew Greta would like the sound of Dr. Frying Pan better. So I exercised a little creative license.)
So Dr. Frying Pan helped take your new baby brother out of Mommy’s belly.
That’s right, you have a baby brother. He’s really little.
His name is Michael. Michael Francis Ackerman. But you can call him Mikey.
Dr. Kirby was there too.

(Note: Greta knew Dr. Kirby so I did not change her name. Dr. Jacqueline Kirby was Greta’s pediatrician along with Dr. Patricia Rossi. They shared a practice in Wilkes-Barre.)
And wait ’til you hear what baby Mikey did?.
He grabbed Dr. Kirby’s stethoscope in his left hand and he shook it back and forth, just like this.

(I shook my own hand to show Greta how Mikey did it and she laughed and laughed. This was her favorite part. She made me do it over and over.)
“I think Dr. Kirby was scared,” I added for effect.
I stayed at the hospital until Mikey and Mommy were asleep and then I came home to tell you all about it.

Later that day I dressed her in her prettiest dress and took her to the hospital to see baby Mikey. She cried when we didn’t bring him home with us.

Ed Ackerman