Who’s Ready To Play. . .

. . .every one's favorite new game show?  Who Can Make New Dad Feel More Awkward??!!

"Contestant #1, tell us about yourself and how you plan to make New Dad feel incredibly awkward"

"Hi everybody, my name is Dr. ****, Reagan's new pediatrician, and I am here visiting the baby in the hospital for her first check ups.  I plan on making New Dad feel really awkward by talking to him for way too long about how to make sure you have properly cleaned Reagan's lady business when changing her diapers.  I'll also make sure to demonstrate everything I am talking about right in front of Dad"

Ok seriously. . . I'm an adult, somewhat mature and a new dad.  I shouldn't be weirded out by things like this right?  Well, I am damn it!  Just like during the Big Ultrasound and the tech started talking about my daughter's labia. . .ewww!!  Again, I'd like to restate that despite all medical evidence to the contrary my little girl does not have lady parts.  Also, she will not date until she is 30.  No debate!

"Contestant #2, tell us about yourselves and how you plan to make Dad feel incredibly awkward"

"Hi, we're New Dad's wife's lactation specialists (one of which just happens to be her aunt).  We all plan on making New Dad feel awkward by teaching New Mom how to breast feed in front of him.  In order to do that we'll have to pinch nipples, grab boobs and so on. . ."

Again, this is natural right?  I shouldn't be weirded out by this right?  Well, it's kind of hard not to be when some lady is squeezing your wife's nipple to get milk out of it or make it "come out more" for baby.  I mean on paper this is supposed to be a good, nay, an awesome thing right?  But it's not. . .So I'm sitting there thinking "Ok am I staring?  Should I be staring?  Should I be looking away?  If I look away I'm acting like some thing's wrong, and there isn't . . .but if I stare is this lady going to think I'm some sort of freak?"  Damn, I feel awkward. . .

"And the winner is. . .Contestant #2!!!!"

You know it was close, but with Contestant #1 I could at least go numb and just nod while the Dr. talked and just pray that it end soon.  With Contestant #2 I didn't know what to do with myself.  Do I watch and try to be the interested dad?  Is that weird?  Do I look away and have the lady think I'm immature?  I'm still at odds with the whole thing.

I will also be posting this post at Dad-Blogs.com, an awesome social network for dads and dad bloggers as part of Fatherhood Fridays.  Check it out and show these guys some love!

Recognize!

Hospital TV

I think about 75% of television is complete crap.  Now, don't get the wrong idea; I'm no elitist who looks down his nose at the television viewing population.  I enjoy all kinds of TV; but with 300 channels I still find it hard to find good shows.  That's why my wife and I are captains of the DVR.  We record our favorites and watch them when "live" TV has nothing good to offer.

Hospital television is even worse.  You get about 15 channels, half of which have bad reception and 3 versions of PBS. . .awesome. 

I don't have the best relationship with hospital television.  It ruined "Christmas Story" for me!  Yes, the love-able tale of a kid's burning desire to get a Red Ryder BB gun for x-mas, the one where his friend gets his tongue stuck to the pole; I can't watch it now. I had the misfortune to spend the Christmas of 2002 in the hospital after a near fatal car accident.  After I got out of a 2 day coma I was subjected to "24 Hours of Christmas Story" on TBS.  Alternating between states of utter agony and morphine induced delusions and having no way to change the channel; the sights and sound of that cinematic wonder will be associated with feelings like having a catheter removed (I hear it's worse going in!), chocking on my breathing tube and having 4 IVs in me. . .

That being said, I was holding my sleeping daughter while mom took a much needed nap and sheer boredom forced me to turn on the TV.  I flipped through the channels until I was amazed to find that not only did they have the American Movie Classics channel, but the Godfather was playing!

I couldn't believe my luck!  Even in it's edited cable TV version the Godfather is one of the best movies ever made.  I have been a fan since I had my wisdom teeth removed at 15 and my buddy Robbie brought me the trilogy to watch while recouping.  Up to this point the best thing I had watched in the hospital was "The Price is Right" (and let's be honest w/o Bob Barker it's not as good).

Around this time my little girl started waking up and after a quick diaper change (which I am getting damn good at) we both settled back in to watch the struggles of the Corleone family.  I took this time to explain to her the nuances of this masterpiece.  The cinematography, the acting, the lighting, trivia facts ("Reagan, did you know the cat in Don Corleone's arms in the first scene wasn't planned?  A cat from the set wandered in and Brando just picked it up and went with it.")

My daughter was so entralled with my lecture on why this is one of the greatest things ever put on celluloid that she just couldn't take it anymore and had to let a big yawn and fall back to sleep.

Well played little one, but you won't be able to escape from my lectures that easily forever. . .

The Calm After the Storm

Part 3:  Continued from Where Did You Sleep Last Night and "I Think I'm Having a Heart Attack"

My wife left me with strict instructions "No one but you and the hospital people hold the baby after the c-section until I do."  On pain of a miserable marriage for the foreseeable future I made sure that came true.

I brought the baby out to see the family, and despite an overwhelming desire for grandma to hold her, she understood how important it was for my wife to be the next to hold her.

We all walked down to the nursery where the took they kid's vitals and cleaned her up a bit.  She got some much needed warmth while they finished up the surgery on my wife.  The last I saw they had some massive organ in their hands and were moving my wife's innards around like living room furniture.  So we had a little time to take pictures and get to know the newest addition to the family.

My wife's midwife assisted on the surgery and came into the nursery to let us know she was fine and recovering.  Normally, the nursery staff keeps the baby for an hour or so, but our midwife helped us "steal" the baby and get her to mom as soon as possible.

I got to bring my wife our beautiful little girl and let them get the bonding they both needed.  It was great to watch them together.  My wife held her and even was able to feed her.  She was completely natural and didn't seem to be suffering from feelings of "Oh my god I might break her" like I was.

Unfortunately, we had to take the baby back to the nursery.  I went back to the recovery room where my wife was not feeling too hot.  Because of the pre-ecampsia and resulting high blood pressure the docs had to have my wife on magnesium sulfate, so she wouldn't have seizures.  I guess it has the nasty side effect of making you feel like you got hit by a train.

Any movement of her head made her nausish, the poor thing couldn't even talk to me with her eyes open.  Then they moved her. . .

The room she would be staying in for the next 24 hours was ready so two nurses started to wheel my wife on over. The only problem was one wheel didn't work all that well.  They were unable to turn her easily so in tight corners they had to lift the bed and "hop" it across the floor.  This didn't go over well with my wife.

My wonderful wife bought me a High Def Sony video camera for Christmas.  The idea was that we would be able to capture all of our new baby's greatest moments.  Being an Audio/Visual nerd I was all about this!  I imagined my baby's cinematic debut. . .The baby is delivered to a waiting mother, arms outstretched..  .oh the emotion!!

Cue the lights!  Roll the camera!  And action. . .Grandpa brings in the new baby, accompanied by grandma and great aunt.  Mom begins to speak and then "Oh god, stop recording STOP RECORDING!!"  I turn off the camera just in time to miss out on her grabbing a small plastic container and puking out the minimal contents of her stomach!

By the time I got to sit down and take it all in, it felt like the last 12 hours had lasted a week.  As everyone rested and recouped the adrenaline that had been keeping me going finally wore off and I crashed. . .

I'd like to thank all of you for your support, advice and concern during all of this!  Thank you all again!

So I'm a dad. . .  what now??

“I Think I’m Having a Heart Attack”

Part 2: Continued from Where Did you Sleep Last Night

Every Monday I write down a to do list. I fill my daily routine stuff and leave room for stuff that comes up. Here's a sample of Friday's list:

  • Work Out
  • Run
  • Core exercises
  • Read
  • Work on blog post
  • Etc

Nowhere in there did I write "Have a Baby". . .but here I am! In scrubs, watching my wife get pre-surgical injections, calling my boss, mom and step-mom letting them know what was going on. (Ironically, my sister just had her baby the day before, so my mom is having two grand kids in two days!)

My wife hopped up on the table and gave her "time out" to the doctor and nurse. She had to recite her name, age, and the surgery she was having. That's right; medical technology has advanced to the point where they count take a ultrasound image of my baby 15 minutes ago and tell us how much she is going to weigh and show us what she looks like, but my wife needs to tell the doctors who she is and what they are supposed to do so they don't amputate a leg or something instead of removing a baby. It's just like when I woke up from surgery on my left arm and on my right arm "NO" was written. Makes you really have faith in the medical establishment. But I digress. . .

The anasteseologist tried 3 different needles to give my wife her spinal block. I held her hand and supported her on the table with a nurse so I couldn't see the needle go in, but I saw it come out! Holy crap!

They laid her down on the table, set up the sheet over her and blocked her view as I sat on a stool next to her head. Her arms were out in crucifix fashion and they began the surgery.

Because of the surgeon and her assistant's positions I couldn't see all of the craziness; but I stood up a bit and got to see some of the action. I saw them cut her with the scalpel, and saw them separate her stomach muscles and reach in her. I kept on looking back at her and nothing seemed to phase her too much. Then both people working on her grabbed her skin and tugged so hard they had to brace themselves with their back legs!  My eyes got really wide and all of a sudden I realized my wife could see me. . I looked down and she had the same look on her face. I reassured her it was ok and went back to watching.

That's when it happened. As the doctors were working their way through my wife's innards I felt a dull throbbing pain in the middle of my rib cage right under my heart. It kept on getting stronger and moving upward. I thought "I think I'm having a heart attack!!"

I kept on picturing the scene from one of my favorite movies, Blow. Johnny Depp's character, the biggest cocaine distributor of cocaine in America during the 70's and 80's, has a heart attack during the birth of his daughter. "It was the best feeling in my life abruptly followed by the worse feeling my life." Of course that dude was doing 10 grams of coke a day. . .

Right as I started thinking I should tell one of these fine medical professionals I thought I was going into cardiac arrest I heard a gasp and "Oh there's her butt" I popped up from my stool and saw half of my daughter and with a few good turns and a pull out she came. After that I didn't feel a thing. . .

Reagan Ann came into this world Friday the 13th (yeah some luck huh?) at 9:50 am. She weighted 6lbs 7 oz and was 18.75 inches long.

Reagan Ann 2 minutes old

The minute I saw her I feel in love. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! I guess some sort of irrantant was in the air because my eyes mysteriously misted up. . .I think the hospital should look into that. . .

On a side note; I think I missed my calling because I look awesome in scrubs!

Dad and Reagan

More to come from the hospital. .

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

"In the pines, in the pines, where the sun don't ever shine?" No Lead Belly, I did not, and please stop asking me that! Yeah, I know it's an obscure reference but I'm really trying to target the 70+ southern blues crowd these days . . .

I had the privilege of sleeping on a cheap plastic mattress on an equally as shitty cot lacking any sort of proper sleeping support. Yeah, I've slept on worse. Back in the day if I had the right amount of Bud Light and Jaeger Bombs in me you could role me up in a ball and put me to sleep in a dryer (permanent press low-heat only, let's not get crazy). But now in my wiser and older years (hey I'm almost 30) I need a good bed or it feels like elves went to work on my spine with mallets.

But my options were limited. . .

My wife and I had to recently plan a c-section on the 24th due to my soon to be daughter's insistence on being butt first in the womb. Because of that she has been monitored closely by her midwife and the OB. Her swelling has been above normal, her blood pressure up and finally too much protein in her urine. Unfortunately, she has mild pre-eclampsia.

Her docs told her to monitor herself closely, and if any warning signs came up to call them immediately. Last night she got a nasty headache which is one of the aforementioned symptoms and we were sent to the hospital to have her blood pressure monitored.

We got to the hospital and were greeted by the nurses who knew the situation. "Don't worry; we'll monitor you for an hour and have you out of here." After the hour and 4 high BPs we were told the bad news. "You're going to have to stay the night. . .we'll get you a cot"

"If your BP doesn't go down I will call the doc and see what she wants to do. Most likely we'll send you home and you'll be on bed rest until the c-section on the 24th"

As if sleeping on the medieval rack wasn't enough the nurse visits every hour or so kept me in a constant state of not-quite-asleep. Tack on to that my gut wrenching worry for my wife and daughter it was not a good night.

Somehow I slipped into that warm/fuzzy place where you're not asleep but sleep is wrapping itself around you. Enter the nurse. "Well, your BP is getting higher and it looks like your mild pre-eclampsia is now severe, so we're probably going to be having a baby today." What??!! I'm awake, I'm awake.

I thought I was going to work today. I had left overs I was going to eat at lunch, I had phone calls to make, people to email. Now I might be a dad. . . TODAY?!

The docs arrived as I was returning from picking up our bags we packed for the hospital stay (yeah we really didn't see this coming) and just said "So we're going to have a baby today! Here's your scrubs, we have an OR scheduled in one hour"

To be continued. . .