I wanna tell you about the day that Jacob came barreling into our lives. Well, it was more like he was forced to leave the comfort of the womb. He was definitely NOT ready to come out. Fate had other plans. Or God. It really all depends on your perspective.
But let’s start before that. Cherise (my wife) is the healthiest person I know. Probably healthier than anyone you know too. Seriously. I’m not kidding. She’s also the sweetest and most thoughtful, kind and caring individual I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. Insert awwww. You are literally a healthier, happier and better person simply knowing her. No, I’m not sucking up. Her motto: “When you know better, you do better” and she leads by example. It would make sense that her pregnancy would go amazingly easy. It did. And it also didn’t. I know. We were surprised too.
The long and the short of it is her blood pressure spiked. We had plans that day. We didn’t get to them. We went for her 3rd trimester ultrasound, and ended up in the hospital for observation. Jacob came the next day.
“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday.” – Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) Circa 1997
I love that song. If you’re unfamiliar with it, look it up and have a listen. The advice is sound, and still applies. Even though 1997 was 16 years ago. Wow. Hard to believe that. Anyway, back to the birth day…
It wasn’t trouble, necessarily, but we were definitely blindsided. Jacob wasn’t due for another 3.5 weeks! Still, he was coming, and not how we expected. She was strong. I was silently losing it. We had plans. They included a natural birth with yogic breathing and music to match. She didn’t feel like her veins were about to burst. The doctors were stunned – they had never seen someone look so good with those symptoms (then again, my wife has a habit of doing that. First thing in the morning, and she still looks like an angel. Don’t worry, NOBODY’s above morning breath, but I digress…)
Back to the birth day – it’s a day that’s indelibly etched into my consciousness.
The prognosis was this: If her blood pressure didn’t come down, they would have to induce labor, or perform a C-Section. But we had plans, remember? I still had 3.5 weeks to get my shit together. All I could think was sweet Jesus, let that blood pressure come down! (Which is weird, ’cause we’re Jewish yogis…) Even with the drugs they had to give her, her blood pressure remained high.
This was it.
I was becoming a dad.
I was now losing it, but not silently. In the early morning, after sleeping on a pull-out hospital bed/chair for about 6 minutes (I couldn’t sleep anymore than I could stop chewing my finger nails) we found out that she would have to have a C-section. I ran to the car to go home and get some things for us (don’t worry, my sister was there to stay with my wife. You didn’t think I’d leave her all alone, did you?)
I remember crying in the car and freaking out. I remember thinking I had to be strong and not cry in front of my wife. She was the one who had to have surgery. Why was I crying? Oh yeah. I was petrified. What if I was bad at it? Or worse, what if I turned out like my father?
“GET IT TOGETHER!”, I thought.
I already loved my son, and hadn’t even met him yet. Yet, there was the dread. All of the responsibility. This little being that would depend so completely on us. For everything. He would look up to us and think we were perfect, omniscient even. It’s a recipe for disappointment. I’m not perfect. Nowhere even close. I drove home shaking. I gathered our things and came back. On the way back I started to panic. Then I was excited. Then dread. Then acceptance. I decided I would just do my best and always be honest with him. Let’s hope that works.
Only time will tell.
At 3:08pm, my son was born. I was a wreck. I couldn’t stop crying. He was 3.5 weeks early and weighed 6lbs 3oz. After they cleaned him and made sure he was healthy and showed him to my wife, the nurse FINALLY handed my son to me. I knew in that instant that I would both kill and die for him. Anything he needs. Forever. (This led to a realization about my own father, but that’s a story for another time)
Because of the C-section, my wife wasn’t able to have skin-to-skin contact with him at first as we had planned. So, I went down to the nursery with him and as soon as they let me, I took off my shirt and held him to my chest. It was the most amazing feeling. You know how everyone has a scent (Or odor, depending on personal hygiene)? Well, he smelled just like my wife. I couldn’t get enough. After 4 hours in the nursery, I accompanied my baby boy up to see his mom for the first time for real. I never left his side. The reunion of our new family was amazing. He was so tiny. I played “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon for him while I fed him (I still get weepy when I hear that song).
The C-section had other repercussions. My wife couldn’t get out of bed. I changed all of his diapers for the first week. I had to teach her how when we got home – she had other things to deal with, like, you know, healing from a major surgery… She got the hang of it quickly. She’s an amazing mom! (If I could give advice to any soon-to-be-dads it would be this: be as involved as you possibly can. It’s the most rewarding thing you can do as a father and husband)
Time to check out of the hospital.
As we arrived home, all we could think was: “what now?” and “You mean they just let us leave with him?!”
This parenting odyssey was just beginning. Or the most epic father-son relationship was just beginning.
It really all depends on your perspective.
4 thoughts on “Birth Day”
We had the same thing happen to us, kinda. I went into labor on my own, after declining many offers to induce by the nurses and doctors at the hospital (my son was almost 3 weeks late!!), and it just never really progressed. After about 33 hours of laboring at home we went to the hospital. They were impressed that I was 6 centimeters. I was upset I wasn’t further along!! We managed to go another 8 hours or so without any interventions but my water still hadn’t broken. They thought breaking it would speed things along. The only thing it did was cause my blood pressure to shoot through the roof. They were telling me it was 160/90 but I did not have any symptoms of a bp that high. Finally after 2 hours of being confined to a bed, I asked for an epidural. Mind you we are at 43 hours in labor!! The moment I had my epidural and got comfortable, he started to crash. I was rushed into surgery and kept my cool. (I was more worried they were going to rip out one of the many tubes stuck in me!) Once we got into the room he evened out and it was no longer an emergency. I opted for the c-section because we were all so obviously exhausted. They took their time, were very attentive and managed to let me hold him after they were done stitching me up. The nurse positioned me on the cot so that he could breastfeed immediately and we were sent off to our room. I was lucky to be up and moving less than 10 hours later. I could hold him, make my bed, go to the bathroom. The nurses were amazed!! (and all this on only motrin since I declined the vicodin)
After all this craziness, my husband admitted to me that he was absolutely terrified when everything started going bad. Even in the OR he was so scared he was going to lose me, our son, or both. Never once did he convey that to me at the time and his strength and comfort are what helped me get through it so well. I’m sure Cherise cherished your strength and comfort as well. Even though we know you guys are not superman, it helps sometimes to smile through the fear and let us know it is all ok 🙂
I hope I get to meet you and your beautiful son someday soon!!!
Wow! That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing! We hope to meet you too – Cherise only has wonderful things to say about you!