This is the story of giving birth from a father’s harebrained outlook. I have two wonderful children, McKinley and Hudson. My wife, Katie, did 99.9% of the birthing work. Here is the story of child-rearing from my point of view:
The History of My Birdbrain Birth Genetics
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree or in this case from the birth. I’m very lucky to have Rence and Barbara Callahan as parents. I have the best parents anyone could ask for in this world. Seriously. But in this case, my empty-head on the idea of birth came from one place: genetics. It didn’t come from my mom either; just my dad.
Just like Katie, my mom did 99.9 of the work on the birth of my sister, Lawren, and I. When I say work, I mean a nearly impossible endeavor. Pushing out a Callahan-sized head is no easy task!
On March 31, 1980, President Jimmy Carter deregulated the banking industry. Pink Floyd and Blondie had the top songs on the charts. The World Boxing Association Heavy-Weight Title between “Big” John Tate and Mike “Hercules” Weaver was fought that night. And Jay Callahan was born at Forsyth County Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
I can’t claim to remember my birth, but I have heard stories over the years. Some of these stories might be somewhat embellished from my own imagination.
There was some rain and fog on the early spring day and it was a cool 63 degrees in Winston. My parents had just moved to Winston from the sprawling metropolis of Gastonia via Charlottesville, VA via West Virginia/Pennsylvania. Lawren was three and a half-years-old and chomping at the bit to have a little brother that would never-ever get on her nerves. My parents were living in the West End Neighborhood, where I would spend my entire childhood.
My dad really wanted my mom to hold off until April 1st to give birth. Not because April 1st is April Fool’s Day, even though that day would be fitting for my birthday. Instead, he wanted me to share a birthday with my grandfather, “Daddy Tut” Callahan. I can imagine him telling my mom she wasn’t ready to go to the hospital quite yet, and to not do any Lamaze breathes once she was at the hospital. “Just hold off a little while longer!” I made it to 9:00 pm, but my mom could not wait any longer.
Just like me, my dad is a huge sports fan. In 1980, you could watch boxing on regular television and you didn’t have to fork out a lot of money to watch on pay-per-view. Along with the Tate vs. Weaver fight, Larry Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard also fought that night. There was no such thing as televisions in the hospital rooms back then, so you had to go out into the lobby to watch the tube.
There is a good chance that the doctor that delivered me also delivered you if you were born around the same time in Winston-Salem. My mom’s doctor, Dr. Harold Pollard, just so happened to be the father of my junior prom date, Nell. It was a little awkward going into the Pollard’s house to pick up Nell, knowing that her dad was the first person ever to see me. That is a different story.
I can picture the scenario. My dad trying to sneak back and forth from the birthing room to the lobby for the fight. Between rounds, he would go back to the room to ask my mom to slow down, and just hold-off a little while longer.
Tate was the current champion and the heavy favorite in the fight. Weaver was just a journey-man fighter and was much older and smaller than Tate. For the first eleven rounds, the champion had the edge. Each round my dad would sneak back out, and each round my mom would get a little closer to my birth.
I can picture my dad being stopped in the hallway by Dr. Pollard around round 12 and the doctor telling him that it was close to time. I can see my dad going back into the lobby to check-in on the fight one more time, before he had to stay in the room, and realizing I wasn’t going to make it until April 1st. I picture several people smoking in the lobby, and it having a very “Mad Men” feel.
The last round my dad witnessed was the 12th where things started to shift in the fight. Weaver miraculously started to take control, but my dad realized he had to get back to the room
As my mom pushed harder and harder, Weaver fought stronger and stronger against the champ. I can imagine that my dad was standing at the top of the bed, avoiding all of the things most guys don’t like to see during the birthing process as my mom continued her battle. “Hercules” Weaver knew he had one last round to knockout the champion in the 15th and final round.
With just a minute left in the fight, Weaver hit Tate with a hard right and then a hard left as my mom pushed with all of her might. As Dr. Pollard reached his hands out to grab me, the champ “Big” John Tate had his back against the ropes. As my watermelon-sized noggin popped out, Weaver swung the hardest left hook of his life crushing the champ in his jaw and knocking him out and unconscious.
I can picture my dad and Weaver simultaneously throwing their fists up in the air in joy and disbelief. I can imagine Weaver dancing around the ring and my dad dancing around the hospital room. A new champ and a new Callahan!