Since the inception of TRS in 2000, I have written about life "on the road". By plane, train, or automobile, I tell the story of trips; but the real story in each one is about the journey, not the destination. On March 15th, 2008, Daddy's Little Speed Bump was born. 21 months later, Speed Bump Number Two arrived. I thought it fitting to create a place, with a Road Scholars theme, to share this new journey.

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Sunday
Jun292008

Kaitlyn's Birth

We arrived at the hospital sometime around 7AM. We were already dilated to 3cm and the contractions were showing up on the fetal monitor about two minutes apart. Suddenly all the fear and anxiety and nauseous misery of the last nine months boiled down to one question Jen kept asking over and over: “what happened to ten minutes!!? How could we be at two, they were never at ten!” It didn’t really matter, two minute contractions meant we earned our ticket into a delivery room--and there would be no gun range for me today. They admitted us almost immediately. The sequence of events that followed nearly made up for the nine months of pure hell that got us here.

Once again, I refer to the haters, who painted lovely images of 28 hour labor and hospitals too busy to administer epidurals, just the things a first time mother wants to be thinking about on her way to the hospital. Our story couldn’t be more different. By 11AM we were watching episodes of Friends in our private birthing suite, we had seen the doctor, and my wife had her drugs. Just over five hours and three pushes later our little diva (as the nurse came to call her) was born.

I don’t want to oversimplify the process. There were a few challenging moments during those five hours. For example, every forty-five minutes or so the anesthesiologist popped his head in to see if we needed to be “topped off”. He reminded me of Leslie Nielsen in the movie “Airplane”, popping his head into the cockpit repeatedly to say “I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.” I appreciated his diligence right up to the point where I could see the baby’s head, and since he wasn’t about to top me off I had no further use for the guy so I politely bid him adieu.

Let’s talk for a minute about heads. A few times during the pregnancy I had people ask me if I was going to videotape the birth. I’ve never understood these people. I mean, really?

REALLY?

Let’s for a moment just set aside how many ways of wrong I could list here and focus on this: In our five years together Jen and I have collected probably about ten hours of home video footage. We have family visits to Texas, the wedding, the honeymoon, 80th birthday parties--and I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve watched any of it. So practically speaking, when we do get around to sitting down and deciding what memory of our lives together should we relive in 5.1 surround sound, where on the list do you think childbirth would be?

I’m not alone here. If there was one thing I took away from our childbirth 101 classes it was this: daddy’s head stays right next to mommy’s head. It seemed like very prudent advice to me, advice I fully intended to follow religiously. Yet as the big moment approached our nurse kept saying “I can see your baby’s head! Dad, take a look, do you want to see your baby’s head?” The first time she asked me I think I turned around to look for my dad. He was nowhere to be found. Damn deadbeat dads, never there when you really need them. Next I eloquently blurted out the prolific phrase “uhhhhh”. What I was hearing was:

“DADDY’S HEAD STAYS NEXT TO MOMMY’S HEAD! DADDY’S HEAD STAYS NEXT TO MOMMY’S HEAD!”

But all I got out was “uhhhhh”.

The peer pressure was killing me, it was time to bring in reinforcements. I knew from tireless conversations during the pregnancy that Jen and I were of one mind on this one. Under no circumstances was daddy’s head to deviate from the general region of mommy’s head. If there was anybody in that room that could explain this in no uncertain terms it was my wife, the woman who not eight hours prior took the Lord’s name in vein for the first time since I’ve known her. I looked at Jen to pound this one home, firmly grasping her hand in a way that said "I'm here to support you my wife, my love."

She responded, rather nonchalantly, “You can look if you want to”.

WHAT!? You traitorous bitch. Don't touch me. Before not looking made me sensitive; now not looking made me a pussy, sorry for the pun. Now I had to look.

The nurse said it was my baby’s head and I nodded that I could see it…but I couldn’t see it. To this day I don’t really know what I saw. About five minutes later I did see my baby girl jettison head first out of the general region where my wife was laying, so it stands to reason I was probably staring at her head in that brief moment of betrayal.

In the end it didn’t really matter, as soon as that slimy little creature appeared I forgot about the lovers, I forgot about the haters, I even forgot about the camera I had in my back pocket for the post-partum photos. I was mesmerized as I instantly fell in love with my little girl. The doctor snapped me out of it when he said “if you have a camera now is a good time for a picture”. That was about the only thing the doctor did, by the way. He swooped in as Kaitlyn’s head was literally poking out (even I could see it at that point), sat on his little rolling stool for about ten minutes, made a complete mess of our beautiful birthing suite, and then, after telling me to take a picture, disappeared like a phantom.

So that’s the story of Kaitlyn’s birth, which I suppose is the long way to answering the question, are we getting any sleep? The short answer is, it depends, on whether you are a lover or a hater.

For the Lovers:

I know you’re truly curious and maybe a little concerned. Your tone is one of sincerity so with sincerity I tell you that Kaitlyn routinely sleeps from 10PM until 5AM when I get up for work. After I get dressed I wake her up if she isn’t already awake. I change her diaper and then feed her while we watch an episode of Star Trek on TV Land. Don’t be surprised if I reveal in a few months that her first words were “beam me up”.

For the Haters:

Your tone is vindictive and laced with sarcasm. You ask the question squeezed out between chuckles. You do a disservice to pregnancy and to parenthood and it is with great disgust that I tell you we’ll move back to California when we’re damned well good and ready.

 

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