Saturday, December 09, 2006

Baby Blues

Taken when John was three days old. That's the lactation consultant chattering in the background, but I just couldn't believe how alert he was. My big yawny, smiley baby...

More pictures of John

Here are some more pics of John. We've been home now for four days, and we're slowly getting used to the new pace of life. I'm proud to say John is a great eater and sleeper, so he lets Mommy and Daddy get more rest than most new parents probably get. I have no idea what's going on in the outside world, but aside from that, it's a terrifically fun experience. I got a letter in the mail yesterday saying I'm licensed x-ray tech. I suppose I'm happy, but my happiness volume has been turned up so loud lately that I'll have to get back to you on that one. Here's some more pics.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

John Henry Brand, Born 8:07AM Saturday Dec. 2, 2006

It is 4.35 in the afternoon, and I am nearing the latter half of the greatest single day of my life.

My son, John Brand, was born this morning at 8:07 AM via Cesarean section. He weighed 10 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 22 inches from head to toe. He is, for lack of any other term less arrogant, utterly flawless. His birth was rapid and non-traumatic, despite weighing in at nearly a pound more than estimated, and in the brief three or four seconds that it took for the special fetal team to take him from my wife’s abdomen to the warming table, he went from purplish and unmoving to bright pink and squalling. By the time he lay in the warmer, his eyes were open and he was actively fighting the quick hands that were suctioning his lungs against aspiration of meconium. Fortunately, the tube that went in his nose and throat was no bigger around than a small red coffee stir, and was soft and flexible in addition. Nonetheless, as he squawked in protest, my beautiful wife Beth, who was endlessly brave throughout, burst into tears of joy at the sound of his voice. And then of course, Daddy cried. So for a few moments while the surgical team delivered the placenta and closed the uterus, all three of us were in tears. Mine and Beth’s were tears of happiness, John’s…. I think he was just cold.

Our physician, Dr. Carol Ellman, who I had always felt was a competent doctor, showed her true mettle in the OR, handling what looked like a not-very-easy delivery as if it were no more difficult than washing the dishes.. All present expressed their relief that we elected to deliver by Cesarean section due to the baby’s surprisingly large size and particularly his wide shoulders and head. Beth had gone into early labor at about three o’clock this morning, and we were making the decision around six AM what to do. Despite contractions and effacement, John’s head and body were still very high up in the abdomen, and not particularly engaged in the pelvis. In hindsight, we did exactly the right thing. Dr. Ellman said afterward that most likely Beth would have needed the C-section anyway, and that it is far, far easier for all involved if this happens before 20 hours of fruitless, stressful labor.

I told my father that I felt like I had been hit with a Happy hammer, and that’s very much how I still feel. So overcome with joy am I at the mere sight of my son’s face, that I have burst into tears several times today. From about 8 to noon or so, I couldn’t say his name out loud without my voice cracking and threatening to waver.

Despite being a big blubbery mess, I have also had some other particularly unparalleled experiences today. I’ve changed three diapers (Beth hasn’t changed ONE yet, take that Feminazis!), I’ve cut an umbilical cord, I’ve learned how to swaddle a baby, I have two little black footprints on my forearm where they pressed his inked foot to my arm seconds after he was born, I’ve learned what his distinct cry sounds like (and I could pick it out easily even in a room full of crying babies), I’ve learned that he loves to sleep at a right sided tilt of about 45 degrees, and preferably listening to the sound of my voice.

I had the unique and incredible experience of being the first one to hold him. Beth was finishing up her surgery while we got our first look at him, and I was able to put him close to her face and neck while they were finishing, but it was my voice and my arms that first held him, and by a completely unexpected turn of events my voice is the one that seems to soothe him the fastest. This bonding was instant and intense, and I feel now that I could close my eyes and still see him perfectly.

I suppose that no one reading this will be interested in the extended treatise in Why I Love My Baby, because I suppose everyone does. But I will say this in closing: the very best dreams and hopes I had for how it would feel when I first saw and held John were only a blurry sub-par echo compared to the real thing. I am overcome just writing this, and the tears of happiness continue to flow.

My son.

My John.