The Big One

On this day one year ago my son was born. Today I find myself nearly as speechless about the moment as I was then, which is why I think I'll just re-post the events as I documented them last year. I do think it's worth mentioning that the indescribable, uncontainable love I felt for Simeon the moment he was born has grown 365 fold.

Words Fail

4:56 a.m.

"Ryan! Wake up!" I sit straight up and look around the room for an intruder. "I think my water broke!," Sarah exclaimed. She wasn't lying. There was a pool of evidence right there on her side of the bed.


The car ride – 6:00 a.m.
Sarah's contractions have started in earnest. I don't know what I was thinking. Every time she began a contraction, I wanted to chat. That is when Sarah made the first of two rules – so far.
  1. Do not ask me questions.
  2. Do not tell jokes – I guess laughing makes contractions hurt extra bad
  3. I'm still waiting for the third rule.


Hospital arrival – 6:30

I dropped Sarah off at the door with the bags, and a nice lady asks, "Are you okay, miss?"

"Oh, I'm just having a baby," Sarah replied calmly.

I swear, she's Wonder Woman.


We're in our room now.

It's so strange to me that you ask a woman in labor to do a bunch of admission and insurance paperwork. I suppose it has to be done.

We're playing some music from the birthing playlist. Among those on the list, "Between My Legs" by Rufus Wainwright and "Here Comes The Sun" by George Harrison.


A friend of mine texts me, "Go Horny (The Noel Boy's in utero name), it's your birthday." I show complete lack of judgement by reciting this to Sarah mid-contraction. Dammit, I already forgot rule number 2.


Sarah quickly squashed the music with lyrics. There goes my dream of the head coming out to the sounds of "Here Comes The Sun (Son)".


Sarah is a superstar! She's endured most of her contractions while sitting on a birthing ball and digging finger nail marks into a wooden chair arm.


She's moved to the bed, laying on her side and focused intently on a photo of Charley Young Beach in Maui, where we were married. I've never seen her so focused.

By the way, our doula, Brielle has been a total Godsend. I'm good at the motivational speeches, not so good with the breathing part. I lack focus!


11:15 a.m.
Doctor Hurry is in the house. Sarah's getting ready to push!


I've never seen Sarah like this. I'm turning white and tearing up, not because of witnessing birth, but seeing Sarah in so much pain (no epidural).


Dr. Hurry is doing an amazing job. She said to Sarah, "You were made to birth babies, it just took us a while to get you pregnant." I think Sarah tried to laugh, but this is serious business.


Dr. Hurry apologizes to Sarah for blocking her view of the mirror that shows the birth site, Sarah amidst furious pushing says sweetly, "oh, that's okay."

11:52 a.m.
40 minutes of pushing, and less than seven hours after Sarah's water broke, baby Simeon David Noel arrived. He wailed as soon as he came out, as did Sarah and I.

Words fail.


Catching up with the Joneses

Sarah, Simeon, and I spent the Thursday evening prior to July 4th driving south east to Sarah's hometown, Morehead, Kentucky. I like our visits; the weekend moves along at a pace a little slower than what we're accustomed to at home. I'm pretty sure I've turned more book pages, fit more puzzle pieces, and taken more accidental naps in the Lewis living room than just about anywhere else I've been. One of my other favorite time-passers in Morehead is listening to stories.

Sarah's family members are prolific storytellers. Dinner and after-dinner times are chock-full with stories. Almost as amusing as the stories themselves is the pre-story ritual of establishing who the primary character is and to whom they may or may not be related. The pre-story ritual goes something like this:

"You know the Jones boy?"


"No, not Billy, his younger brother?"

"The one with the mole?"

"No, that's Johnny, the oldest..."

"Isn't he in jail?"

"He was in jail, but I thought I saw him mowing the Smith's lawn..."

It goes on and on like this. Sometimes we never actually get to the story, it's more of an exploration of someone else's family tree. I almost never know who Billy, Johnny or any of the Jones boys are, but that doesn't stop anyone from telling their story, and that's just fine by me.

Thursday night we were sitting on the back porch, sheltered overhead by the arbor and protected from mosquitoes by an army of tiki torches posted at every corner and nearly every point in between; Sarah's Dad finished telling some stories about a fellow named Alec (which is inexplicably pronounced "EE-lik"), when Sarah's mom, Jan, stepped up with my favorite story of the weekend.

Her story was about Doc Gray, a tractor mechanic and family friend, "who lives up Christy Creek." (He lives up a creek? I wonder if he's got a paddle.)

Jan was working at C. Roger Lewis Agency — the real estate office Sarah's Granddad established — when she heard Doc's voice in the reception area and decided to go greet him. Doc was standing there with a little boy and Jan queried, "Who's this, Doc — your grandson?"


"Well, what's your grandson's name?"

Doc cocked his head and stared blankly at Jan, "Well, I don't know. I reckon I always just call'em "Boy."