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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Firsts

It's what every parent gets excited about and non-parents look at them and think "why all the fuss?"  Honestly, I don't know why.  Having a baby changes your perspective on the most automatic or menial of actions.  As a Father I can safely admit that I took smiles for granted until I saw my son smile for the first time.

In the first months almost everything is a "first."  Its so exciting to experience it as a parent.  The first latch (to the breast, moments after his birth).  The first night home; which was emotional, exciting and a bit scary. His first bath, his first blanket.  I could write a list a mile long of his firsts. 

I think this past year has taught me to appreciate those little things.   To watch him closely for each and every first and praise him and show him how proud I am.  I remember his first solid meal; feeding him tiny spoonfuls of pea purée.  I watched him as he pondered each bite and had the most adorable expression on his face.  He loves peas and did from the first time he tasted them.  Now every time I feed him i remember that first spoon full of liquefied peas and I smile.

I think the firsts are things that modern fathers lose out on the most.  We think that because we are men we shouldn't care bout "those little things" that babies do.  Well let me tell you that this is far from true.  Your son or daughter will love and appreciate you if you just watch for those firsts and praise him/her for them.  Show your child that what he does matters to you.  The simplest thing done for the first time, to a child, is an amazing accomplishment that should be cherished.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I'm not a religious man. I don't believe there is anything supernatural about childbirth but let me tell you it was the closest thing to a miracle i have ever witnessed while still having basis in reality.

We didnt get the opportunity to go through the sudden ambulance ride experience. In fact our son's birth was marked on our calendar.  Amber had scheduled her induction 9 days prior by recommendation from her Obstetrician.  We were so excited and even more so as the date drew closer.

We nested furiously; preparing the crib, reading constantly about the first nights. We were both in a blur of preparation and anticipation and by the time the day rolled around our hearts and minds were full of what was to come.

We loaded the car with the necessities.  An overnight bag for each of us, the car seat, diaper bag with size N and 1 diapers just in case.  We held hands all the way to the hospital. We checked in at 6pm and were in the birthing room in minutes.  Nervous, excited and a little scared.

The entire process was simple in scope.   First step was to insert a suppository to directly stimulate the cervix.  This happened twice over the course of about 4 hours with the  nurse periodically checking her cervix to see if it had softened enough to begin the pitocin drip.

Then came the hard part.

The first 6 hours were the easiest, with not much going on but waiting and talking.  Once the pitocin started to take hold her uterus started contracting and that's when it got difficult.  And by a million miles so.  She went from being in a state of calm to a state of panic as soon as that first major contraction suddenly hit.  (see, pitocin is a synthetic hormone that triggers the body to go into labor, and its like 10 times more intense than when you allow it to happen naturally.) 

The first contraction scared the shit out of both of us.  She stumbled to the bathroom, stooped grimacing and sobbing, nothing could have prepared her for how bad it hurt, and until the epidural it only got worse.  This went on for about 2 hours before the anaesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. 

There was a calm once the epidural took effect, about 6 hours where we didn't have to do anything but wait again.  Unfortunately, because of the shock she just experienced she didn't get a chance to sleep. I fell out on a cot next to her and she had a panic attack. Fortunately some family members were there to help keep her calm, to this day she holds it against me that I fell asleep.  I really couldnt help it, it had already been about 20 hours since I last slept and the doctor even recommended we both sleep. 

I was awoke in just a couple of hours by nurses explaining that it was almost time, she was at 9 centimetres.  At this point, unfortunately, her epidural was starting to wear off and it was too late for them to hang another bag to keep her numb.  In another 45 minutes the head nurse came in to check and it was time to start pushing.  I was in charge of holding one of her legs back and so I was able to see 100% of the event.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There was blood and fluid everywhere.  And when the top of his head was starting to show I was in awe of just what the process looked like.

And then he was out, after 10 minutes of screaming and pushing on Amber's part, the doctor lifted him and set him in her lap quickly so we could look at our newborn son.  I got to cut his umbilical cord and then they carried him to a cleaning table where they drained his lungs and sinuses of fluid.  I was the first person to lay a hand of affection on him.  I placed my hand on his tiny chest and wept.

This is my son, I helped make him and I helped him be born.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Third Planet

After being alongside amber throughout her pregnancy I feel like I may someday appreciate fully what women go through to bear children. We marked the days and weeks of our baby's development on a calendar and tacked each new milestone in it's growth. The important part was that we did it together; we both cared.

We did everything nesting parents should do. We cleaned the house constantly, made room in the kitchen for baby stuff and even arranged the second room for it. All of this was going on even as early a the first two months. We couldn't contain our excitement. We read baby books, watched videos on child development an parenting, we even offered to babysit for our friends for practice. There was just no limit to the love and excitement we both felt.

Don't get me wrong, there were some hard days. We both worked and with her pregnancy progressing tension tended to run high after a long day at work, especially for her. But each spat ultimately ended in kisses and "I'm sorry"s, sometimes followed by sex. Which, by the way, I should point out that pregnancy sex is awesome.

There were so many memorable moments during those 40 weeks. The first ultrasound was a big one. Hearing that tiny, rapid heartbeat for the first time made my heart soar. And the day we found out out was a boy made me so proud. Each memory was filled with smiles and years of joy.

I think we were both very satisfied with the way things were.

It really was a beautiful pregnancy, even for me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meeting My Team Mate

So I guess one of the first stories I need to tell is about how I met my Son's mother, my wife, my team mate, Amber.  We went to high school together and to be honest nothing much happened except idle conversation during class. We weren't close friends never hung out outside of school and only had one or two classes together.

After high school we fell off each other's radar, as teenagers often do.  Seven years pass where not a word is spoken between us and we all but forget the other existed at all.  I even went to New York for 5 years and lived totally separate from everything I knew as a teenager.

I returned home to find my family more broken than before and I was pretty much alone.   I was staying at my uncle's house and signed into aim out of boredom.  I see an AIM ID logged in that i hadn't seen signed on in several years.  It was Amber.  I message her just to see what was up and to tell her i was back in town. She tells me to come scooper her up at 2 in the morning and we go back to my uncles and hang out and watch movies until the sun came up.  We almost had sex but we didnt have a condom so it was a no-go.  It turns out she almost always sleeps with the guys she hangs out with so the fact that we didnt was apparently a big deal.

We became inseparable after that night, constantly hanging out and helping each other.  Both of our lives were in a shambles and we had each other to pick up the pieces and apply some glue.  We caught up on each others lives told each other our darkest secrets and started building the most solid relationship I have ever been in. 

I owe her everything, without Amber i wouldn't have my Son to blog about.  I wouldn't have a life that was worthwhile.

In The Beginning

For a long time I never wanted children.  I had that attitude pretty much from the time I hit puberty to around a month before my son was conceived.  I was always a youth that required freedom and independence.  But as the cliché goes I met "that special someone" and we just knew that having a baby was the right thing to do.

It has been a year since my son was born and looking back on the way my life has been and how it is going I can safely say that I wouldn't want it any other way.

In this biog I will share my fatherhood with you, what I've experienced, what I've learned and what I hope to learn. I look forward to a long and happy relationship with all of my readers as I share my life as a dad.