Birth of Children

Dad, what do you remember about the birth of your children?

Corina and Chad, Christmas, 1973

We invited our next-door neighbors for dinner, and Linda prepared an oriental meal to be enjoyed by the four of us seated on the floor. Midway through the meal, Linda noticed that she was sitting in a wet spot and, with a mixture of humor and horror, announced that her water had broken and her time had come. We called the nearby hospital emergency room and they advised that we come at once. Coming without delay was no problem as Linda had prepared her expectant mother’s bag, and was anxious to get under doctor’s supervision for this new experience.

Corina was born the next morning, a healthy 9-pound infant, at Good Samaritan hospital in Corvallis. I was not present in the delivery room, as was the custom of that day. Sitting in the waiting room during the wee hours, I was greeted by the delivering doctor who offered congratulations. After the doctor left, I remember remarking to another expectant father, “Now I must get a good camera to take lots of pictures of this baby.”

Corina was left with Linda briefly after birth. The two of them seemed tired and happy that ordeal was over. I was glad that hospital policy urged Linda to stay for a few days, as a precaution. During the next few days, my strongest memory was padding down the waxed hallway in my moccasins to the nursery windows and then squinting to pick out my lovely pink infant in her plastic crib. Despite being an unplanned baby, she was already loved.

We agreed that we wanted two children separated by enough time to give Linda respite from infant care, but not so much time that the children would have difficulty relating to each other.

Chad was born as planned four years and five months after Corina, at Bess Kaiser hospital, on North Greeley Street in Portland. In the early 1970’s fathers were being encouraged to be present at delivery, but the Kaiser Health Plan didn’t recruit, and I failed to advocate for myself. I felt sad to miss my chance to be present in the room at the birth of my child.

I think that the hospital stay was shorter and that Grammie Thelma came to help Linda during the first few days at home. But the details of these events are not clear in my memory. By the next year, we were decorating our new home on Dale Street in Beaverton. We purchased large wooden letters, C-H-A-D, spray painted them in orange, and mounted them vertically in Chad’s new bedroom.

The names chosen for our children were influenced by entertainment media of the late 60s and early 70s. Corina Rene was inspired by Ray Peterson’s rendition of the 1920’s song “Corinne, Corinna” as well as the cute childhood character Corey Baker, son of widow Julia Baker, in the television serial “Julia.” I think that Rene could have been lifted from the French singer Renee Claude, who sang in French with a memorable voice.

Chad Jeremy was a based on our admiration for the British folk singers Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde who performed “A Summer Song,” “Willow Weep for Me,” and many others. Chad and Jeremy performed together for many years, culminating in their album “50 Years On,” released in 2010.