Karen had given herself shots every day for eight months to try to get pregnant. You should have seen the black-and-blue marks on her legs. She was so determined, but we didn't have any luck. Finally, during last year's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Karen went to a clinic for a procedure similar to in vitro fertilization. It takes a week to find out whether the procedure works. During the second round of the following week's Phoenix Open, I ran into Karen as I was coming off the 14th green. She had this big smile on her face when she asked, "Do you want to know?" I said, "I think I already do—you're pregnant, aren't you?" She said yes as she jumped on me.
I had a hard time on the next tee. The 15th hole, a par-5 at the TPC in Scottsdale, has water on the left and desert on the right. I backed off two or three times, trying to focus. Finally, I ripped a drive right down the middle and then hit a great shot onto the island green to about 10 feet. I was paired with Mike Weir, who had hit it to 15 feet and made his putt for eagle. I was standing over mine thinking, I can't believe Karen is pregnant. I wasn't thinking about what I was doing, but the putt went in anyway. I walked over to Weir and said, "My eagle is better than your eagle." How's that, he asked? I told him I had found out my wife was pregnant before I hit my tee shot. He started laughing. "You're right," he said. "Yours is better."
How not to spend your summer vacation: When Karen went to the hospital for a prenatal checkup the week before the U.S. Open, her doctor, fearing that she was in danger of losing the baby, decided to confine her to a hospital bed for the duration of her pregnancy, more than three months. She wouldn't even be able to go home. Karen was crushed because she was looking forward to Pebble Beach. We had gotten married under the Lone Cypress tree a month after the '92 Open. She asked for permission to join me in California, but her doctor said no. When I called her on Tuesday night from the Open, she gave me the bad news. She was crying. I was crying.
I played a practice round the next day, and Larry Moody, a friend who is the Tour's Bible-study leader, had been tipped off about Karen. He wanted to say a prayer with me, so we stood in the middle of the 4th fairway, the mist blowing in—we could hardly see the green—and he put both hands on my shoulders. He made up this prayer, off the cuff, asking the Lord to watch over Karen and to give the three of us strength to endure this turmoil. It was poetic. I was crying by the time he finished.
I called Karen that night, and she was upbeat and excited. A brown Labrador retriever had spent the day in her hospital room. It was the Happy Dog, a pet used to cheer up patients. Karen loves dogs. We have two at home, and she treats them like people. The turnaround in her attitude was dramatic. It seemed almost as if a prayer had been answered.
I wasn't there for Braeden's birth. Because of Karen's uncertain situation, I scheduled only one corporate outing all summer—on Aug. 7, the Monday after the International outside Denver. Karen's doctor assured me before I left that nothing was about to happen. Guess what? I made it to the 4th tee before I got word that the doctor needed to induce labor. I rushed to the airport and was at the hospital by one o'clock, but Braeden, two months premature, had arrived at 10 a.m. He cried when he was born. Karen and her brother, who was with her, heard him. That was the only noise my son ever made...and I missed it.
Two days after Karen had given birth she was far bigger than when she was pregnant. Her body was swollen. All hell had broken loose. They rushed Karen in for X-rays. She could have died right then and there, I learned later. She was in septic shock. Her heart and lungs were enlarged, she had a fever of 106�, and there was a chance of an embolism in one of her lungs.
I would cringe every time the doctors came to take her vital signs and temperature, which hit 41.1� C once—I didn't know what that equated to; I just knew it was dangerous. She got better after they switched her to a different antibiotic, but it still took a day and a half to get out of the scary zone. With Karen improving, I went to see Braeden, who apparently was doing fine. They were about to take him off intravenous fluids, they said, and we would be able to take him home in a week. That was five days after he was born.
I went home to get some rest, and that night the hospital called to tell me that Braeden had had a reaction to his feeding, which was bad news. The doctors said he had NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal inflammation in response to feeding that is common in premature babies). They waited two days for the inflammation to subside before performing surgery, hoping that would help. It didn't. Braeden didn't have any good lower intestine left.
I was talking to him two hours before the surgery when he suddenly turned and looked me right in the eye. That was the first time I'd ever seen Braeden open his eyes. I'll always remember that moment.