November 24, 2009

First Real Post as a Dad

As I'm sure you can imagine, the last 6 days have been a bit hectic.  I will try my best to recap them, including the important bits and leaving out the more ... unpleasant.

On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, Sara and I went to the Indiana Regional Medical Center where they were scheduled to induce labor.  They started the induction with prostaglandin (sp?) gel at around 8:30am.  The contractions started almost right away and we began walking the halls.  Sara asked for an epidural around 2:00, after being given staydol (sp?) so she could relax between contraction, and she turned a bit loopy.  Through the entire process, she was remarkably calm and level-headed, even making jokes all the way through.  Harper Lynn was born at 6:50 pm on Wednesday.  As I wrote before, she weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces at birth and was 19 inches long.

We spent the next two days in the maternity ward, shuttling Harper back and forth from our room to the nursery so they could wash her, check her vitals and make sure she wasn't jaundiced, which she isn't.  The whole time we were at the hospital, I made Sara sleep as much as she could, while I slept almost not at all.

We had packed a bag for both Sara and Harper that included all sorts of important things, like books, clothes, toothbrush, etc.  For me, I packed a book, my toothbrush and one pair of underwear.  By Thursday night, I just walked into the shower with my underwear on, scrubbed them and me, changed into clean underwear and hung the wet ones to dry in the shower.  Harper spent a ton of time in our room, starting to nurse, crying and generally being a newborn.

She is so soft, that it is impossible to hold her and not be constantly kissing her cheeks, her nose, the top of her head.  She smells like a newborn, which is quite a shock, so we're constantly smelling her too, except of course when she needs a diaper change.  At those times, she smells like she's been possessed by the ghost of roadkill-passed.

We brought her home on Friday late morning.  We loaded her into the car seat and drove home.  Since we are moving this coming weekend (anyone want to help us move?  Please?  I'll buy you pizza and beer!) we didn't bother to set up her room.  She has been sleeping in the pack-and-play in our bedroom.  She slept very well on Friday night.

On Saturday morning, my mother-in-law and two aunts-in-law (?) came over to see Harper for a few hours.  Then my mom and her partner, Joan came out.  They stayed for the weekend and were amazingly helpful, even while trying to stay out of the way.  They helped us to pack up and helped talk to us about caring for a newborn.  I heard a rumor that my mom had one of those at one point, possibly two, but I don't believe it.

Harper did not sleep well last night, which means I am amazingly tired this morning.  I assume Sara is as well, but I can't speak to that because I was too busy grunting while I got dressed and made breakfast today.

My desire to be at work is rivaled only by my desire to be torn to shreds by a pack of rabid badgers.  That is to say, zero.  I have a little more to write here, but I have to go to class, so I may post again later today or tomorrow.  I have included a link to some pictures below.  We don't have many, only about 110.  For those of you who are mathematically inclined, that comes out to about 20 per day average.

My Daughter, and a few other people who are not nearly as important.

Another really quick note, I know I mentioned this before, but I want to again.  I love the comments that everyone has been posting and I've been reading all of them.  I may not respond on here, but thank you so much and I hope you continue to share this blog and make comments.

November 19, 2009


She's here!

On Wednesday, November 18th at 6:50 pm, Harper Lynn Aion entered the world.  She weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 19 inches long at birth.  She has a full head of black hair and managed to only whimper and not cry for the first several hours.  She is gorgeous.

My daughter is so beautiful.  She and Sara are very healthy.

More will come later, but I'm on pirated WiFi and I'm having difficulty composing my thoughts.

November 16, 2009

Pain and Relief

Decisions have been made, dates have been set.

During the past week or so, Sara has been getting mild dizzy spells.  Today, she called her doctor and was told to come in and take a stress test.  Everything was alright and she wasn't any more dilated, but he told her that if she wasn't in labor by Friday, that he wanted to induce sometime next week.

For those of you who are fans of this program, you may recall that we are closing on a house sometime soon.  That sometime soon is next Tuesday.  As a direct result of that, we didn't want to worry about inducing when we're supposed to be buying a house, or when the hospital staff is angry at us for interrupting their turkey dinners.  Therefore, the doctor will be inducing Sara on Wednesday morning at 7:30.  If all goes well, we'll be parents by 7:31!  If all goes real, it should be later in the day.

In two days, I will be a father.  We've been trying to coax the baby out for almost 3 solid weeks, timing every contraction, eating pineapple, spicy food, going for walks and the other recommended activities to bring on labor, all to no avail.  Now that it's a scheduled procedure, I'm not really sure how I feel about it.  It fits into our other obligations very nicely but it does take out some of the mystery.  I'm also very worried about Sara.

Some time last week, she had a contraction that very strong.  She was clearly in pain, more so than I have ever seen in our 6 years of being together.  I was suddenly terrified for my wife, this woman whom I love with all of my heart and soul, someone for whom I would gladly take the agony if it meant she could avoid it.  There was nothing I could do to help her.  My helplessness was overwhelming.  I've been told that inducing labor makes it more painful.  Sara talks about the pain with a sense of nervousness, but not fear.  In her mind, she has clearly weighed the balance of pain versus gain and comes out very strongly in favor of this baby.  Last week, when she had the contraction, I wavered.  I can think of nothing I want less than to see her in pain.

I know that my job will be to sit by and tell her how wonderful she is and what a great job she's doing and how proud I am of her, but it's not cutting it for me.  I've been having a growing feeling, starting when we saw the birthing video at the Lamaze class, that I'm having trouble putting into words.

The video followed several mothers as they went through the stages of labor, through the birth and then interviews afterwards.  I was struck by something during a particular segment that began with the woman screaming in intense agony, thrashing on the table, throwing things and generally being in labor.  It ended with the phrase "I gave a final push and there was Carl Jr."

My first thought was "Holy shit!  She gave birth to a hamburger??"  Followed very quickly by the idea that naming a child after it's father is arrogant.  To this point, his job was to be a sperm donor and try to be supportive.  She was the one who carried the child, reorganized her life for the past several months, and went through the agony of birth to use this life as a tribute to him?  It made me very uncomfortable.  It seemed like a great reversal of Bill Cosby's routine about raising a son, spending time with him, teaching him to play football, taking him to practice, encouraging him, watching him play, cheering him on the whole way, then when he runs into the end zone to score a touchdown, he looks at the camera and says "Hi mom!"

I've been thinking about this frequently and I've slightly gotten over my initial upset, justifying it that the mother could be so grateful to her husband for allowing her to have this child...

I am so grateful to Sara for carrying this child.  I am beside myself with gratitude and will forever be in her debt.  I am in awe of her ability to face this coming week with such courage as I know I could never muster.  Up to this point, it has been a bit of an abstraction, recognizing that, yes, women give birth all the time and, yes, it is painful and amazing.  It's suddenly becoming real in a way that it wasn't before.

After the miscarriage last year, I was scared for this child all through the pregnancy.  I was worried about the heartbeat, and whether it would make it to be born and what I would do if it didn't.  With the impending birth on Wednesday, I am fairly confident that the child will be fine (barring the horror story I heard when I was teaching in Jersey).

I am now terrified for my wife.  I don't worry that she won't make it through, I have no fears about that.  I am terrified about the pain that she will be going through and my inability to do anything other than help her breathe, let her squeeze my hand and tell her how beautiful and wonderful she is.

November 9, 2009

How many days to go??

Well, today is the 9th of November... if our due date is correct (which they rarely are) we should be about 11 days from a cute little baby. I think everyone, and I really mean Everyone, is ready to know what it is and see it and pinch it etc. My mom is just about nuts and calls me every day to see if I am driving to work or pushing, Justin thinks that it is a hoax and isn't actually going to come out (maybe I really did get stung by something and my swelling hasn't gone down), the mother-in-law loves when I call, but I quickly have to tell her that I am not in labor or she is ready to jump in the car, my brother sends me a text with when he is working and/or available to drive me to the hospital, my loving co-workers want to send me home or print out directions to the hospital "just in case" (I think they are afraid that I might explode at work and then they have to decontaminate the lab), my grandmother wants to be notified immediately, no matter what time of day or night.
And then there is me... I have been carrying little H. L. Aion around for quite a while now. We have had some good times and bad. Bad were probably the early days when nausea was "in" or the time I got sick while driving across a bridge (thank goodness for garbage bags in the car). Good times were obviously the first little flutters of movement and when Justin could finally feel the movement and sonograms are just amazing inventions (I would love to have them all the time just to see what Baby is doing in there.)
I try to bribe it. Yes, I am crazy and that is alright with me. Justin tries to bribe it with the cute little things that we have for it (little stuffed animals, the monkey suit, a nice warm bed etc.) He even attempted to bribe it with the little robot that is now vaccuming our house, it didn't seem to work. I started bribing it with the nice things that we have for it, then mentioning that we are buying it a nice house where we will all live happily. Now my approach has turned more toward scaring it... "you are going to run out of room in there and then mummy is just going to explode" or " if you stay in there too long then you will be really hairy and we might have to put you in the circus" Of course these aren't feasible and probably rude on my part, but it doesn't have much to compare to, so it shouldn't be too scared.
We have had a multitude of suggestions from our friends who are parents and our relatives. I know for sure that I don't want to even think about Castor oil. Spicy food just gives me indigestion and makes me cranky. Walking is good, squatting is good, jumping up and down hurts a little (but I did try it) and then the other "exercises" have been experimented with.
I think that we are just going to have to continue waiting...and waiting. I will ask the doc again on Wednesday if we can just induce (he laughed at me last time.) I think the report will include more progress this week compared to last. I think (and hope) that it will be soon. In the mean time I will be patient and continue dreaming about what it will look like, how soft and chubby it will be and all of those other things one thinks about when anticipating a big event.
(watch I will go into labor tonight... *crosses fingers*)

November 1, 2009

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Tom Petty was right.  Damned right!  Another weekend has come and gone and still no baby.  Sara has been having contractions, but they are still spread out to the point where they don't count as labor.  They are more frequent than 4 weeks ago, but not by much.

As of yesterday, we finished week 38 and are no working on 39.  She has become noticeably more sluggish and tired, feeling the weight of this massive basketball under her skin.

As I typed the last paragraph, Sara had two contractions 9 minutes apart that lasted for over a minute each, so we may be coming up on it, just to prove me wrong.

In any event, we've been talking more and more about our respective religious and cultural backgrounds in regards to this baby.  A priest and a rabbi both advised us not to have children unless we were going to pick one religion are raise the child with that.  We are clearly not listening to them.  Sara feels very strongly about having the child baptized, which I know is going to cause my family to cringe.  In the same vein, if it's a boy, my desire to have him circumcised will no doubt make select members of her family cringe.

I have never been religious, although I do identify with and take comfort in the cultural aspects of Judaism.  There is something nice about knowing that what you are doing has been done by your family for thousands of years.  My mother and I both feel the same way about this.  She is a self-professed atheist and I'm a self-professed indifferent, but we both very much enjoy the feeling of being a part of a something that is part of our family.

Sara used to be a very devout Catholic.  She was actually the first female altar server at her church in Indiana.  She was a member of a spiritual sign language club in high school.  Over the past several years, I think that she has felt less and less attached to the church and has moved, in my opinion, away from being religious and more towards being spiritual.  She likes the rituals of Catholicism, but doesn't always believe in their teachings.  I don't really want to talk much about this because it would be better for her to do so.

In any event, I sent an e-mail to a rabbi about 6 weeks ago because I wanted to make sure that, should we have a son, I would be able to get him circumcised.  The response I received was typical of my research.  It was evasive about whether or not he knew of anyone who could do it, but was very clear that my child will NOT be Jewish under the Hebrew laws because Sara is not.

Judaism, like male-pattern baldness, is passed on by the mother.

This is a very pressing matter because, according to Jewish law, the boy must be circumcised 8 days after birth.  I know that I will be a bit busy during that time and, not being a practicing Jew, I don't have a Rabbi to make sure it gets done.  The hospital will want to know if we're going to do it and if I can't get a mohel to say he will, then I may have the hospital do it.  I would prefer not to have to exercise this option.  I would feel...cheated out of something important.

I've been thinking frequently about my grandfather.  I visited his grave before I asked Sara to marry me.  I spoke to him about how much I love her and how he would have as well.  The fact that he never got a chance to meet her brings me a great deal of sadness.  I try (and often fail) to live my life in a way that I think he would be proud of.  We are naming his great-grandchild, the first child of his first grandchild, after him.  I plan to tell this baby tons of stories about him, explaining who he was and why he was so important to me.  If I were to get this child circumcised in the hospital, I would feel like I was cheating my grandfather as well.  I know that my family will be very supportive of anything I do, provided this child never comes home praising the ever lasting glory of Christ, but these are the things I think about.

I cannot even express how much I miss him.  He truly was the patriarch of our family.  He was loving, kind, and generous.  He always watched out for me and I want to do everything I can to honor his memory.

In any event, as I have been typing this, Sara's contractions have been coming about every 10-15 minutes.  It sure is rude of her to be doing this on a Sunday night.  I'm going to have to take "personal days" from work and make up some excuse about an emergency play, or celebrity sighting.  I haven't been at this job long enough to qualify for FLMA, so I can use my 3 sick days and then they will start to dock my pay...  Family values...

According to the guide, these are still pre-labor contractions, so nothing is happening yet.

On a completely unrelated note, a good friend of our is a photographer and has a "baby package" as part of her repertoire. (Insert your favorite penis joke here.)  She takes pregnancy pictures, and then again at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, putting them together in a time-lapse book.  The first of the pictures are posted here for anyone who is interested in checking them out.

This laptop is starting to burn my crotch and this sitting position is starting to cause me to lose circulation in my legs.  All-in-all, my lower body is done with this post.  I did want to thank everyone who has been reading and commenting, either on here or sending me messages privately.  I'm glad you're enjoying the posts and hope you continue to do so.

This baby should be born......NOW!

Didn't work...  I guess we're still waiting.



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