Those on the inside already know that this happened a couple of months ago, so it should give you some indication about how busy life can be balancing work and the duties of a first-time parent.
In any case, I’m back, and I finally have time.
As Brittany and I began to look ahead to the birth of our son, we worked towards preparing for the insane number of variables that go into the planning of delivery. How will you birth your child? Naturally? Will you use painkillers? Are you going to breastfeed? Will the baby be circumcised? Are you going to vaccinate?
It’s enough to make your head spin, but what I certainly did not anticipate was the amount of judgment that would come from people that disagreed with any of our answers to those questions. Believe it or not, Brittany took a lot of flak for going straight to the epidural when asked before the delivery. In our birthing classes, other expectant mothers would cast glares and disappointment, as if to say, “What a shame you are trying to avoid the beauty of labor and childbirth.”
Um, what? I’m sorry, but I’m totally with Brittany on this one. Think about (and warning – this is a bit graphic) pushing a little human out of your vagina. Think about all of the wonderful pulling and prodding. Think about the tearing of certain body parts that would make you cringe. And you’re telling me that enduring that is “worth it”? I say, bring on the drugs!
Of course, from a different perspective, that’s totally a millennial thing to do. Far from traditional, Brittany and I are looking to make this process as painless as possible. Some would say Brittany lacks “bravery” or “toughness.” Suck it up, kid, don’t be such a wimp. But it has nothing to do with those things. One should feel comfortable when bringing life into this world, and if medical science makes that a possibility today, then to hell with tradition.
Easy for me to say, I just ended up standing there watching all of this like the derpy dude I am.
Turns out, none of this would matter. Brittany needed to get a cesarean. Forget about pushing the baby out of your vagina, how about cut open your stomach and rip him out that way?
Brittany needed a C-section due to a condition known as CPD, or cephalopelvic disproportion. In laymen’s terms, baby was not going to fit through Brittany’s pelvis the way it was shaped. As a result, she was going to be hopped up on drugs anyway.
And so, the table was set. We were told to get to the hospital Friday morning at 5:30 to check in, which already sounded terrible, but the unprecedented anxiousness leading up to this new chapter was enough to get us by. (Let’s be honest, no one was sleeping the night before.)
We woke up, drove to the hospital in the dark of the early evening, and took the elevator to the top floor. We waltzed over to the front desk of the maternity wing – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – and proudly announced, “We are here to have a baby.”
Nearing the end of the overnight shift, the nurse unenthusiastically replied, “Yay, can I have your last name?”
“And who is your doctor?”
“Let’s see,” the nurse continued. Two long minutes later, after searching through file after file, the nurse returned with, “We don’t have you scheduled.”
Interestingly, Brittany and I had two distinctly different reactions to this report. I was pretty frustrated. All of this time spent planning and mentally preparing myself for the most important moment of my life up until this point, and it just got dashed away from me. And to think we even bought the nursing staff bagels!
Brittany, while somewhat less frustrated, was still upset that she was not going to be able to get the bowling ball of a child out of her gut.
I began to walk away as I got my doctor on the horn, and yes, I took the bagels with me. Brittany, more of the humanitarian in that moment, took the bagels and gave them undeservedly to the nursing staff.
As it turns out, there was some sort of miscommunication between the hospital and the doctor. (Or at least, that’s the only story we got.) They told us someone else had been scheduled for a C-section. Sure enough, as we trudged back to the elevator defeated, out walked the couple who was on the books to have her baby. I found myself unreasonably upset at them, this couple who planned everything and didn’t have to readjust their life around a clerical error.
We returned home to the rest of the expectant family still asleep. We learned after my mom woke up that she had a special blanket stitched with the birthdate that was now inaccurate. In terms of things going wrong leading up to the birth, I understand, things could have been much worse. Now, we have a memento to laugh about in the future.
Alright, 5:30 on Saturday. It’s go-time. The excitement really did not sink in until we were actually in our own room. The harshness of the standard hospital pod was masked by faux wood inlays and leather-ish furniture. It wasn’t home, but it wasn’t intimidating.
In the moment, I thought the baby would never arrive. Looking back, it went by in a flash.
I mentioned in my first post a degree of nervousness swelling around this moment in my life. As our nurse introduced herself and walked us through the procedure, there was a sudden resurgence. Was I ready for this? Could we just pause and make sure we’ve done everything we’ve wanted to do before introducing new life into this world?
Um, no. Before I knew it, Brittany was being whisked away to the OR and I was soon to follow. I walked in on what appeared to be the set of Grey’s Anatomy: Several doctors and nurses were huddled around my wife, who was already cut open across her gut. As I sat down next to her, I listened in as the doctor was shooting the breeze with the nursing staff. The anesthesiologist was impatiently looking at his watch, because apparently he had somewhere to be. All the while, Tony Bennett was crooning “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in the background.
The nervousness persisted: What if it was a mistake to have a baby this early in our relationship? Am I even going to be capable of taking care of this baby? What if—
And then I heard him screaming as he came out of my wife’s abdomen. (Of course, I couldn’t help but think of the ever so famous scene from Alien.) I wasn’t frightened. I wasn’t hesitant. I wasn’t nervous anymore. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, screams and all.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of images. Wheeling the baby out of the OR. Holding him for the first time. Spending the first intimate moments of life on the outside as a family. Just staring at him.
As this all unfolded, I soon realized that as a millennial parent, I’ve got it pretty good. Anything and everything that happens with Junior, we should be able to respond (and freak out) pretty quickly thanks to the plethora of information online. Even my parents have commented that we will be parenting in a golden age. Parenting technology is further along than ever before and combined with the time-tested guidance of our families, a comfort level has certainly been established.
I don’t know what to expect, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that nothing out of the ordinary happens. But despite my nerviness, I look at his face, and everything in my life calms down.