Last weekend we celebrated our youngest son, Paul, turning ONE! It brought back memories of the day he was born and a story that I have been meaning to share about one man’s kindness.
I have to set the stage quick. Paul is Baby Braschler #4. Miss Val has always wanted to have four kids and I always thought two was plenty. So we did what every good marriage does and we comprised…and had four kids!
After the first two kids, I thought I had the whole thing figured out...until Baby #3, Claire Abigail was born. Now, as a Chaplain I have scrubbed up and been in the room during open heart surgeries and I have never had a problem being queasy or feeling uneasy about things, so I never would have guessed what was going to happen the morning Claire was born in 2016.
I passed out. Hard. Twice.
It was pretty humiliating and embarrassing to say the least. Miss Val was getting an epidural at the time and she had a kung-fu death grip on my hand around my thumb. I was standing in front of her and, the way she tells it, I started leaning into her forehead. She told me later, “I thought you were praying for me...haha! Then you got really heavy and I told the nurses that you were going down!” And down I went! I guess a nurse caught me and sat me down. The exact details are a bit fuzzy to me. :)
I remember coming to. I was sitting on the floor, staring under the hospital bed. I looked up and the anesthesiologist had stopped what he was doing and everyone was focused on me. I remember Miss Val saying, “He’s going to hate that he did that.” Roger that. I told them I was fine and to keep focusing on her.
I got up and they brought a chair over to me. I reached my hand back out to Val again and she grabbed hold of it, squeezed the ever-loving-fire out of it...and I passed out again. Apparently, there is a pressure point there, just for future reference. It will knock a 6’5” 245lb man out cold. It didn’t help that I hadn’t eaten or slept for the last 24 hours. But mostly it was Miss Val’s super pregnancy strength.
I woke up the second time to four nurses fanning me and putting cold towels on my head and neck. Then they brought me a sandwich and Dr. Pepper. I honestly don’t remember much else about Claire’s birth. I took a really long nap (my third one for the day). I wasn’t much help for Baby #3. They wouldn’t let me near Val during the delivery. I wonder why!
OK, so fast forward now to Paul’s birth in 2018. The memories of me sitting under the hospital bed unconscious are fresh in both of our minds. Our nurse, so compassionately (not really), tells me that I should just leave the room during the epidural and that if I stayed and passed out this time around, that she was going to leave me on the floor this time - in my pool of blood. So much for bedside manner! This was not the “kindness” part of the story. I’ll get to that next.
I walked out of the room, gave myself a good pep-talk (basically, “don’t be a wuss...don’t pass out again”). I re-entered the room and swung the curtain back in heroic fashion to say, “OK, I am here! Let’s do this!” No one was impressed. More annoyed than anything.
I grabbed a chair and sat down in front of Miss Val as the anesthesiologist, Dr. Shydohub (he told us to call him Dr. Shy) administered the epidural. Val grabbed the nurses hands this time. Part of me was hoping she would drop the nurse like she did to me! No luck.
Dr. Shy knew what happened last time, and in an effort to distract me, asked me to tell a story about our other kids. I thought for a second and started sharing about the day that Caleb, our first child, was born:
“Miss Val was already a week late. It was Friday evening and if nothing happened that weekend, we were supposed to go in Sunday morning to induce labor. We had planned a date night and Miss Val was craving Red Lobster cheesy biscuits. So we jumped in the car and headed towards Rogers. On the way, she started feeling tightness in her belly. It came and went every few minutes. We were total amateurs at this and after about 3-4 of these, we figured out that these are probably contractions. We started timing them and they were around eight minutes apart. As we rolled into the Red Lobster parking lot, they were now five minutes apart.
Now, I didn’t pay full attention during the labor & delivery training classes we went to, but I do remember that constractions every 5 minutes was really important! Like, that’s when you need to go to the hospital because things are about to happen!
We pulled into Red Lobster and she gets out of the car. I said, “what are you doing?” She looked at me and said, “I am going inside to eat some cheesy biscuits.” Here ensued probably one of our better arguments. I was pro-hospital, while she was pro-cheesy-biscuit! I have no idea what I said to convince her to leave that parking lot without a cheesy biscuit in hand, but we left and made it to the Siloam Springs hospital and had our first baby.
Our first date after Caleb was born was to Red Lobster to FINALLY get those cheesy biscuits!”
I finished telling the Dr. Shy the story as he was wrapping up the epidural procedure. I thought, “Hey, I didn’t pass out!” He laughed, thanked me for sharing the story and left the room quietly.
Thirteen hours of labor passed by and little progress had been made. We were getting tired (I say “we” like I was doing anything…) and a bit discouraged. I hear a knock on the door and a man’s voice says, “Nick Braschler, can I see you for a minute?”
As I opened the hospital room door, I see Dr. Shy from earlier this morning standing there with a Red Lobster bag of cheesy biscuits. He said that he was over at Mercy Hospital after his rounds at Siloam Springs. As he was leaving Mercy, he saw the Red Lobster sign and thought about us. He said, “I just knew I had to bring you guys some cheesy biscuits.”
We placed that warm bag of cheesy biscuits under the hospital sign that says, “Goals for the Day” and it is amazing how powerful and motivating that smell can be. More than that, his kindness gave us a lift and a second wind! Things picked up quickly and we got to meet Baby Paul within just a few hours.
Retelling this story again today recalls the blessing that this man’s kindness brought to us. He went out of his way to do something for us that gave us encouragement and a smile. He had nothing to gain from it and went out of his way to bless us, but we felt love from this guy that we had never met and I’ve never seen since.
One act of kindness can change someone’s day. You have opportunities all around you at home, at work, with your family and friends, to go out of your way to show kindness and encourage someone. It could be a small gift, a hand-written note, or even just your time. I want to challenge you to look for ways to bless someone else this week and maybe shine some light on someone who may be having a hard day or challenging season. The blessing is mutual.
OK, now I want cheesy biscuits.