President's Notebook

President's Notebook

My View from South Hill

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Posted by Thomas Rochon at 9:19PM   |  9 comments
Baby Liam holding Amber's finger

When I was about to be born, my father drove my mother to the hospital and then was shooed back home by the doctors and nurses to wait for news.  While waiting at home, he put on his best white shirt -- his way of expressing respect for the importance of the moment.  Eventually the doctor called to say he was the father of a healthy baby boy, and my dad drove back to the hospital to see my mother and me.  For the next day or two, he never got closer to me than a look through the window of the nursery.

It was a bit different for the birth of William Thomas Rochon this morning.  The birthing manual provided by our doctor indicated that I should go to the hospital in a shirt that I would not mind getting dirty.  There were moments in the delivery room when I wished I had been sent home to wait, but those days are long gone.  Not only was I present for the birth, but in the twelve hours since then I have never been more than four feet from my son.

Unlike the mystery of birth when I was born a half century ago, Amber and I had long since learned the sex of our child.  We already knew his health status on many dimensions thanks to the results of a variety of tests.  We had not only listened to his heart, but watched it beat.  We had counted his fingers and toes, and even looked at his face.  We thought we had already met him prior to birth, thanks to the miracles of technology.

We could not have been more wrong.  Digitized pictures in utero do not approximate the encounter of another life at the moment of birth.  No matter what else has changed over the last half century, it remains a time-stopping experience to hear the first small cry of a tiny baby newly emerged into a very big world.  That first cry penetrates a parent's heart with the realization that this life is ours -- not in the sense of possession but in the sense of responsibility.

Amber and I are both pretty stoic under normal circumstances, but that first cry moved us each to tears.  We had been told again and again by friends and well-wishers that this would be a transformative moment in our lives, a "before and after" watershed event.  And we knew this would be true.  But until this morning we had no idea what that would actually mean in terms of our thoughts and emotions.

Happy birth day Liam.



Your profound words have touched me. As a mother of two and grandmom of two (one is 10 weeks old), your words have brought a tear to my eye. Pat Phelps

I am so excited for you President Rochon. Although I am not a father and won't be for some time, I have experienced the joy of my mom bringing home each of my four siblings. The joy that babies bring to a household is amazing! I am so happy that you and Mrs. Rochon can experience that too. Congrats!

P.S. He is going to be the big man on campus!

Things will never be the same again...since my children were born 18 and 20 years ago, my life has been all the better...more exciting than I ever thought it would be. Children are a blessing! YClarke

Congratulations! What a moving tribute to this miracle ....Congratulations to Amber!! Can't wait to see your new guy.
Lisa Belokur

Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful moment with us - truly beautiful. Congratulations and welcome to the tribe!

Well said! We've come a long way, baby (pun definitely intended!) :-)

Congrads!!!! I"ve told my children when they were having their babies "there is no love comparable to the birth of your own child......."

Photo of Liam added by popular demand!

Hello, Tom and Amber. I am writing under my daughter Kasey's log in.......what wonderful news about the arrival of your beautiful Liam. How well we remember the moment we first saw our son, and then our daughter ~ there truly are no words to express the wonder and joy and love felt at those moments.
Enjoy that little boy and please give him a hug from me......Welcome to the world, Liam!
PS Could I write about Liam's arrival in my column?
Gay Huddle,
Danby Town Talk columnist

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