An amazing story, but not specifically of gay interest. Rather, I was personally struck by the father's statement afterwards that “My legs went out from underneath me,” which mirrored a similar experience I once had. Anyone else here ever face this kind of emotional shock, and how did you handle it?

When my own wife went into labor complications quickly developed, and she was moved from a "birthing room" in the US Army hospital into a full OR. They inserted monitors on the fetus, and the room echoed with his amplified heartbeat.

But his heart kept failing, and as the rate dropped to critical these alarm buzzers would sound, and above the surgical masks of the doctors & nurses I could see the worry in their eyes. More & more personnel kept running in to assist, as his heart would recover for a moment, then fail, the buzzers triggering again & again like knives in my own heart.

His mother was also in great distress, but never in any serious danger, as this other woman was. Still, seeing her terrible pain and worry was also more than I could handle, the worst being that I was unable to help in any way, just observe the drama unfolding.

I was an Army Major, accustomed to controlling events, being in charge, and here I was nothing, totally impotent. And suddenly I felt this urge to run out of there, to run away from it. It was the "fight or flight" response, that I had never experienced before. I couldn't fight, so I wanted to flee.

And I literally looked down at my own feet, covered in OR booties, and commanded them to remain where they were. You are a US Army Officer, I told myself, and this is your wife & child, and you will not abandon them or disgrace your rank. And I got ahold of myself, and stayed. Our baby was born with a low Apgar score (a measure of newborn health), but quickly improved. Today he's 6'5" tall, healthy as can be, and a certifiable genius.

Another epilogue note: after the birth I left the hospital and drove to the post exchange, I think for something she wanted in her room. When I came back outside the PX to my VW camper van, I found it had rolled out of its parking space and was blocking traffic, car horns blowing all around it. Thank gawd it hit no one and nothing. I was still so shook-up I had neglected to set the parking brake or put it in gear!

So have you ever faced something like this, when a crisis so unnerved you that you wanted to run away, where your "legs went out from underneath" you? What did you do?